So months after starting Bit By Bit, I’ve actually pulled my finger out and written a blog after “letting” Matt do them all so far, and the topic is……..writing a blog! More specifically why writing a blog is a good idea. Or to put it another way: “What I learned at LAUNCH: Meet the Games Press”.
Last week Matt and I made the trip up to (surprisingly snowy) Birmingham to go to the LAUNCH: Meet the Games Press event, (http://launchconference.co.uk/meet_the_games_press/). The idea behind the event was to give small and new developers some advice and perhaps a little experience at talking to the media, so that when we start trying to talk to people about our new games we actually have a vague idea how to get any attention. You can find more details of the event and a video of the talks and panel at http://launchconference.co.uk/meet-the-games-press-photos/. It’s one of those things where we get good at telling people about our games, they get new and interesting things to report, everybody gets new and interesting stuff to read/watch/play and everybody is happy!
It’s well worth watching the videos and there’s way too much to summarise in a short blog post, but here are the main points I really picked from it, most of which are directly opposite to my experiences working for Lionhead, where programmers were very much programmers, not PR people:
Make Some Noise
- Speak to journalists and other game developers on twitter and in real life. Don’t pester them, don’t harass them, just get involved in the conversation and try and get yourself known.
- Write blogs!
- Have opinions and be willing to explain and defend them, either on twitter, via email/Facebook or via articles. This ties into…
- If you’re making your own games, you should probably have a good idea what you’re doing, what other people are doing and what you think others should be doing.
- Let other people know about it,
- Get involved in technical discussions on public forums like Twitter if you’re technical
- Get involved in discussions about where games are going as a creative medium
- Give talks at Events on interesting work you’ve done or are currently doing. (If you’re like me and not the worlds most experienced public speaker, probably best to work up to it gradually. Do things like talk about it to people in social groups, then groups where you don’t know everyone and so on).
- Basically, if you have useful information that you think other people might want to know, share it!
- Don’t try and be corporate press officer #6734990. Trying too hard to be “professional” will just result in you blending into the hundreds of big corporation press releases released every single day. Not only that, but the big-name pro’s are just that, professional, they have the training and the corporate support to make that approach work for them, you probably don’t. (I definitely don’t!)
- This applies to everything you do. For example, if you host events they don’t have to be huge but it’d be brilliant if they’re different to the bog-standard image of a corporate press event. They could be pub nights with fans & journalists, games nights, random picnics, whatever you think would be fun.
- Mass mailing every single games-related website or publication you can find with the exact same press release really won’t do you much good. Tailor your emails to the people you’re emailing, both on a personal level and a category level. A site like GamesIndustry.biz or Gamasutra isn’t going to be interested in the exact same aspects of your news as somewhere like Eurogamer or Kotaku. You don’t like getting generic mass-mailed spam, why should journalists?
- This is something we actually got a bit wrong when we released Trail for free, too much generic corporate speech and not enough tailoring of the message.
Try To Make Everyone’s Lives Easier
- Don’t watermark your images, it makes it a pain for sites to rebrand them or use them in print
- Be nice, unless you really really screw up you shouldn’t have any enemies in the press. We all love games, we all want as many other people to enjoy games as possible.
- Use http://www.gamespress.com/ it’s a very useful central site that many journalists use as a resource. Make sure your news and your asset are on there.
Keep Working At It
- Creating interest in your games and your news is an on-going conversation.
- You should be:
- involved in twitter conversations,
- releasing updates regularly
- Making use of every cheap/digital avenue for creating interest you can
- Sometimes that can even include jumping into someone else’s conversation. A tweet or mention in a podcast or blog by someone with a lot of followers can be a huge boost for the level of awareness people have over who you are and what you’re doing.
- Use as much analytics as you can to track your online presence and how your efforts are progressing. It’s motivating by showing when you do well and perhaps giving you an idea of what does or doesn’t work
People Are Interested In Stories
- Who are you?
- What have you done?
- Why are you making this game?
- Why should anyone care?
- Was there anything about the development/tech/design/funding/origin of the idea that people may find interesting or amusing?
This is hopefully me taking this advice and maybe getting better at doing all of the above. It’s a start anyway!