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Top 5 Media Tips for Game Developers

Posted on July 24, 2014
By Raghavendra Ramesh

Anything is possible in the world of gaming. In the real world, however, your game can get obliterated in no time if you don’t listen and talk the language of your users. You might have a fantastic product on your hands. But communicating this on the right channels, at the right time, in the right tone is the order of the day. The gaming world has definitely tapped marketing in a big way. However advertising dollars can only get you that far if you are a small game developer. More importantly, smaller game developers are mostly cash strapped. Therefore, the right amount of media attention could actually be a huge ‘game changer’ in their overall success.

As a PR professional and an avid gamer, here are top 5 things that come to mind when you want to garner the right amount of positive media attention to your gaming app.

Compelling Hook – Whether you are a game developer or a pin manufacturer, you definitely need that one compelling hook for consumers to engage with you. Since the beginning of time, we are fascinated and moved by a great story. With thousands of games vying for media attention, it is important to break the clutter and say what’s different in your game. Several casual games like Timberman hook up their users with one simple task at hand. In Timberman you are simply chopping a huge tree trunk as a lumberjack. Games that break monotony always appeal to a wider audience. I recently read about DreamWorks and Microsoft unveiling a dragon-themed exploration game that uses real-world data like maps, traffic, weather and time of the day. It even applies this logic to whichever country / city you are in. How cool is that for a story. Anybody loves a great story. The media is no exception. Your game must live up to this very basic requirement. Think PR early and not after the product is developed. Understand if you are having an awesome story to narrate even while the game is being developed.

PR Agency / Consultant – Work with them to understand what really sells. If you are on a tight budget, PR consultants can be a good option. They are usually a one-man show and can take up a project like launching your game for the Press. Most importantly, they have the contacts in the media to know where your story is most likely to be picked, who are the journalists who would love it and how to reach them. Never look at engaging with a PR consultant / agency when your game is ready. Make them part of your build about 3-5 months before launch and map out your exact media strategy. The power of the written word is irreplaceable. So you must make sure you are seen in the press at the right time for the right reasons.

Game Personality – Today, life does revolve a lot ‘around’ your product as much as your product itself. Be it an iPhone or Angry Birds, these products generate more PR not only because of what they offer but also their ability to become a personality. The accessories they create around the brand are a great example. Take the Google Doodles. I know it’s not a game. But it makes you do something at times. Your action doesn’t solve any problem. But by simply doing a fun thing, they lead users to their own search data on a certain topic. People connect with personalities better than they connect with brands. In the case of Angry Birds, the accessories market has exploded. You can now wear the brand, thus enhancing your association with it. So make your product ‘walk and talk’ at some point.

Pitching it Right – When you pitch a gaming story to media, it is important to strike the right chord from the word go. Remember, your email is perhaps your best and the only shot to impress. Subject lines in emails can make or break your pitch. It’s your headline for a story you are about to say. If you have already got publicity for your game in the media, try not to refer to it. No media likes to know that they are not top priority. Instead, understand what each publication or a specific journalist prefers to cover and tailor-make the news for them. Pitch the right thing to the right publication. Lastly, journalists are also consuming information on the go, mostly on their smart phones. So if your pitch makes them scroll down to the deep ends of the ocean before getting to the point, you have already lost them. Keep it crisp and ensure a ‘wow’ factor.

It’s not always about the game – Remember, when you pitch to the media, your story need not necessarily be about your game. It could be an innovative way you developed it using various interesting tools. It could be your visuals that are unheard of, or perhaps investments in your game, which is backed a popular personality. Any of these things aspects could make news. For instance, if your game instantly got one million hits, it’s worth leading your pitch with that because it has the ability to instantly attract attention. The rest of the story can follow. In some other cases, your game could perfectly pitch for a trend story. For instance, if the journalist covers nature and environment, it might interest them to know that your game uses real images of the parks and gardens in your city as part of the game.