indie game pr

What is ‘news’, and how do you share it?

You’ve heard it from every marketing tips and tricks blog post out there – let the press know about your game. But what do you let them know, and when? Finding out what the press cares about, and what ‘qualifies’ as news is a tough job – this is your game, it’s all exciting news! 

Well, luckily, we’ve put together a few details on what ‘news’ actually is and how to grab attention with the topic of your next press release.

What is a ‘news beat’?

So, what’s actually newsworthy about your game? As its creator, it’s hard to differentiate between what you think is a cool update, and what the press will actually pick up. Like a proud parent, it’s hard to determine whether your baby’s third or fourth steps are really worth another Facebook post.

A key thing to look for when putting together a news beat for press is context. Does your news need an extensive knowledge or pre-existing excitement for your game? Do you already need to be invested in its development, or clued up on the studio to understand or regard it as interesting?

For example: a brand new boss is introduced to your game. Sharing the boss’s art and what it does on its own is a fantastic update for your community, who have either played the game or are invested enough to appreciate the new information. However, the press would need to be introduced to the game as a whole, the gameplay concept and the level structure before the information about your new boss is even relevant at all. As it’s unlikely the large majority of an outlet’s audience will understand that detailed level of information about your game, it won’t get clicks or engagement – it’s not relevant or gripping news.

Overall, if you’re introducing too many things in your news piece, it will make your message cluttered and hard to distil into a short headline. Visualise what headline you’d be aiming for – does it make sense? Is it possible to summarise your news in one sentence, assuming your audience knows nothing already about your game?

Examples of opportunities for a news campaign

Whilst this isn’t a definitive list, the following examples should give you a good sense of what events constitute ‘good’ news, and what press look for when compiling a news article.

  • Formally announcing your game – even if your social media is active, your community has begun to grow and your store page is live, if you’ve not officially announced your game to the press you still have this opportunity available to you.
    • This is even better bolstered if you can announce it with a launch date, however if that’s a long way off being locked down, this can be separated into two campaigns.
  • Launching your game! Ensure you start discussions weeks in advance for this one.
  • A demo/prologue release – send them a copy, too!
  • Bottom of the list, but still applicable, is a trailer release. Just don’t expect too much pick-up from just a trailer release alone.

The more you can combine your ‘news beats’, the more tasty your news becomes.

What to avoid approaching press with

When putting together your latest news, you might want to avoid the following to protect you from putting significant time into a news campaign that is unlikely to gain coverage. This doesn’t mean the following aren’t completely unworthy of sharing, your community is a fantastic place to share constant, small updates to – and works well to build that trust with them. 

However, today we’re focusing on press interest specifically – so, when approaching your favourite news editors, keep in mind they may not be interested in, or put off by, the following:

  • A small update (new boss/level, bug fixes, new piece of art)
  • Very little or no new assets to share (screenshots, trailer, art)
  • Pitching to the wrong type of journalist (e.g. sending your news to a reviews editor, do your research first)
  • Hiding details for the sake of ‘spoilers’ and ruining your own news – there’s a fine line between generating interest with hints and cliffhangers and not giving press/readers enough information to actually get excited about!

When working with a PR team, you can pinpoint and refine news opportunities that might have otherwise been diluted in multiple press pitches. You can look at the scope of your game’s route to market as a whole and plot out a schedule of news beats to hit. Ultimately, it’s about putting your game in the best position possible for coverage to ensure visibility among your target audience.

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