We all know that getting written about and showcasing press mentions can be critical to the success of your indie game. Sure you made a great game and you have a killer press kit on your website, but how do you let bloggers and journalists know about it? And how do you then get them to actually write about you?
You probably already know what step one is: a killer press release. But with dozens (or hundreds) of these clogging the average editor’s inbox on a daily basis, what are the chances they will actually read yours? Let alone decided to write about what you’re pitching them.
Yes, press releases are just one more thing that takes away from your time developing your game so recycling makes sense. Yes, you could pay for one of those services that writes and distributes them for you. But is a generic press release distributed scattershot to every outlet under the sun going to yields the results you want?
I’m afraid the answer here is the same as with many things in life. Quality over quantity. You need to let go of the anxiety of trying to reach out to everyone and really take the time to tailor your message to each outlet/journalist you contact. Here are three simple tricks for getting press mentions.
1. Get Personal
Are there blogs/sites that you read on a daily basis? Talk to those guys first. Find the writers that talk about the things that interest you and reach out to them personally. Tell them what you like about their writing. Tell them why you think they, specifically, would find your game interesting.
Journalists, like game devs, are sensitive creatures and they like to know that their efforts are noticed and appreciated. Having someone demonstrate that they know what their interests are and playing right to them will go a long way towards engendering sympathy and support.
You don’t have to be a kiss-ass, but even the barest hint that you have read their work and enjoyed it will definitely set you apart and help them to remember you.
2. Tell Them What’s In It For Them
There’s been a lot of talk about “entitlement” lately in the press, and while the context here is very different, the idea is the same. Yes they write for a games website and you made a game. But that in and of itself is nowhere near enough for them to want to write about you.
[Tweet “Don’t make them hunt for the story, and by “story” I don’t mean the plot of your game.”]
Tell them what makes you and your game special. Give them an angle that would make writing about your game interesting. Was it made in two days? Did you finance it by giving blood? Is the protagonist a purple naked mole rat? Don’t make them hunt for the story, and by “story” I don’t mean the plot of your game.
It’s okay to tell them what to write about. You’re doing them a favour and they will thank you for it.
3. Think Small
Yes, it might seem more prestigious to have your game on the front page of That Very Well Known Video Game Website, but that might not necessarily be the right approach for your game. That Very Well Known Video Game Website covers a lot of games, including big huge AAA games that they are obligated to cover, which is probably why most people are reading them in the first place.
So consider this. Would you rather get your game in front of 100,000 people, 5 of which might be interested in your indie game about purple naked mole rats? Or in front of 1000 people, all of which are totally into games featuring mole rats? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
While not as “prestigious” as That Very Well Know Video Game Website, niche blogs and websites that are laser focused on topics related to your game are always going to be way more interested in writing about your game. You’re one of them. And their readers are going to be that much more likely to read about your game and be interested in it too.
How did you get the press to write about your game?
Let me know in the comments.