Turn Your Game Into A Super-hit On Steam! PR For Gaming Industries
Game developers have successfully built a loyal tribe in and around the gaming industry. They’ve done it by engaging users more than any other creative industry, and by giving customers a way out of their monotonous lives. The ecosystem is changing, however. The PC gaming industry will be worth more than $45 Billion by 2021. Take a look at this showing chart the phenomenal growth of the gaming industry over the years:
There are too many games out there. Hence, the threshold of buzz and excitement needed to make an impact has shot up the roof. Even if you do get their attention, it takes a lot to retain those “let’s-give-it-a-shot” folks. Research shows that only 15% of games manage to retain 15% of their users from their launch date.
You need to tackle these two challenges:
Marketing teams need to increase the total number of users on their launch date. Game marketers must maintain the buzz after the launch and gain more users.
More often than not, you would find that having a clear and concise PR strategy for games will help solve both challenges. Activision’s success in launching one of the most successful games, Call of Duty serves as the perfect exhibit-A here.
Let’s discuss the crucial aspects of doing PR for a game. We’ll start with the first step:
The job of an effective Public Relations strategy is to make you and your product shine. Get people talking about your product.
You’re all over Steam and gamers around the world are talking about you. The very first step in an effective PR campaign is outreach.
The first thing you need to understand is that you’re doing it for an incredibly creative and out-of-the-box industry. So, the good-ol’ “sending profiles to all journalists blindly” will make you look bland.
That’s the last place where you want to be, especially in the gaming industry.
Doing public relations for a game is indeed challenging. With thousands of e-mails to be sent and then making sure no inaccuracies creep in the final pieces, it takes a lot of time and focus. But it will help if you research before reaching out to the journalists, so you do not look unprepared.
Primary research is essential. Or don’t be surprised if you pitched “The Witcher” to a site that’s into financial services and failed to score a reply.
Impressive and Original always gets the attention.
Getting replies from journalists and being covered by the best publications is good. But nothing beats earned media when it comes to launching a game successfully.
It is important to know the importance of getting the attention of top journalists. A perfect trailer and an engaging message around your game can do wonders for you. Here’s what hard work impressing people with your product and messaging can fetch you:
Believe it or not, journalists and editors have to make sure that they cover (and indirectly promote) the right games. To do this, they need a good amount of convincing before they decide whether or not to go with a particular pitch. You must help them pick you by turning heads and getting people to talk.
One surefire way of doing this is to collaborate with the influencers in the Youtube streaming and Instagram meme-ing communities. A lot of journalists in the gaming industry do follow these influencers and even check them out when they’re looking for inspiration or research. Be sure to leverage these influencers and impress your way into being covered.
Important factors of branding that lead to great PR for games:
- Logo design
- Slogans and Taglines
- Game characters
- Coherent and consistent collaterals
Embargo is the way to go!
Embargoes are a daily feature for journalists and editors around the world. Put simply; an embargo is a request to not publish a piece of information until a specific time (or event) by the source. Embargoes are even more helpful for games and companies that do not have something interesting at the moment but expect a particular thing (Like getting 100k users) in a jiffy. Now, there is a thin line here. Many PR firms tend to use embargos to get coverage for something that otherwise wouldn’t get coverage. Don’t do this!
Make sure you have a genuinely great offer before you try to get a journalist into an embargo. The last thing you want is to be a waste of time for a journalist. Another critical thing about embargoes is that they will not always go your way. The journalists should have a final say into how they wish to publish the story.
If they feel some aspects (that you may not be happy with) are needed to do justice with the story - let it be. The PR cycle in the gaming industry is evolving. You can cash in on these respect-coins later when you truly need them.
Being open and relaxed, but polite
We all know that professionals in the gaming industry are different and more relaxed than those in any other sector. The journalists and editors covering the sector tend to be the same. Or at least they get used to being that way.
Like gamers, game developers and their marketing teams tend to have a relaxed tone. So, when you are doing PR for the gaming industry - be sure not to be the typical stiff PR professional who starts with “Dear...” and ends with “Thx”.
It is vital to sound energetic when you are reaching out or following up with the journalists. But you must be polite. If it’s a reporter who doesn’t know you, being too open can be counterproductive.
Important e-mail tips you must remember:
- Be concise with the subject and e-mails.
- Don’t be blatant about CC’ing people.
- Limit attachments, use links.
- Be persistent, only until you’re not annoying.
- Add a personal touch, don’t hold back the greetings.
All the luck to you!
The success of games is mainly dependent on how well they keep gamers glued to screens. That’s a significant but relatively uncontrollable factor for PR and marketing professionals. A thorough and succinct PR strategy for games is non-negotiable, though. Be sure to invest time and effort in crafting the perfect PR strategy for your game.
Harsh Vardhan Dutta is a digital marketing consultant, currently at the helm of Markigence. He spends a large part of his time exploring tech-related marketing techniques that lead to growth marketing.