What is a press release?
A press release is a written resource used to deliver news to the media. Imagine it as a hub or a foundation for your exciting news. It’s a document that press can refer to for the key information and images they’ll need if they’re interested in covering your work.
Without it, details on your news may be scattered everywhere – a bit on social media, a bit via email – a press release gathers these pieces together in a neat package, making it straightforward and easy for an interested writer, creator, or community to get started covering the details.
For any PR campaign you put together, whether big or small, your press release is the central reference point everything else stems from – you get it right, and you’ll find the rest will come together a lot easier, and end up more consistent. Therefore, we recommend a press release be one of the first things you create when you’re considering sharing some news.
Not quite sure what is a ‘good’ piece of news? No worries, we’ve got you – here’s a blog post dedicated to that subject!
Why do I need a press release?
Short answer: Your competitors will have one, making their news easier to cover than yours.
Long answer: Journalists are incredibly busy, all the time. Sending them loose information every now and then might get you some feedback, but bringing it all together in a clear, easy to understand document that lays out exactly what they need, and exactly when they can share it, will make both their lives, and yours, easier.
Remember your audience
Before writing anything, keep in mind that a press release is not directed towards players – it’s directed towards gaming industry professionals. Exciting phrases that look to engage players, like you’d use on your store page should instead be swapped out with more factual, grounded information. That doesn’t mean you can’t add in details on your game’s story, or the tone it’s looking to convey.
Player-focused (exciting, emotion-led, minimal ‘buzzwords’): ‘You’ll embark on an exciting journey, filled with puzzles and mystery, to uncover the truth that lies inside the ruined lighthouse.”
Press-focused (direct, uses touchstones, quick): “Players will embark on a mystery puzzle adventure, facing a diverse range of visual and logic challenges to uncover the truth behind the ruined lighthouse.’
Structuring a press release
Now, you know what a press release is, you know what news you want to share, let’s get started with writing it!
The basic structure of a press release we use here at Game If You Are is as follows:
Your press release can also be facilitated by the following:
- A quote directly from the developer team, to add a human touch to your news, and discuss it a bit more candidly than you otherwise would be able to. We have a post on how to put one of these together here.
- A separate section at the bottom of your press release that simply lists the facts of the game. This would look like listing its Steam store description, and sharing a short bio of the studio themselves, to offer a bit of background.
- A link to a press kit folder with more assets – screenshots, game and studio logos, as well as a downloadable link to your trailer.
Note: We would highly highly recommend having a trailer for your news, especially if it’s about an announcement or launch. For a significant percentage of readers, visual information will be digested a lot easier than written.
Writing about your own game is hard – and tooting your horn about a piece of news is even harder!
If your first time sharing a press release doesn’t quite, take a look at what went wrong and what went right.
- If you did achieve coverage, what parts of your press release were featured? Was it the whole thing, or did journalists pick out a few key areas?
- If you didn’t achieve coverage, politely follow up with the journalists you approached. Keep it short and sweet, and just touch base kindly asking for some feedback.
- Don’t ask “Why don’t you like my game?”, ask instead “As this is our first time sharing news as a studio, do you have any feedback for us?”
- Finally, and you knew this was coming, if the idea of having to distell both your game and your news to a few sentences sounds god-awful, check in with your local friendly PR agency!
- Here at Game If You Are, we want you to understand what we’re doing – don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way, so that once your paid marketing work is over, you could more confidently give it a go yourself.
If you’d like to start practicing your writing skills, we’d recommend hopping over to Gamasutra, the best place for distributing and hosting your press release. They have an ever-expanding collection of examples, free for you to read through. Pick a handful of games you love, or feel are similar to yours, and check out what they did.
If you have any other questions about writing a press release, let us know on Twitter and we can make a part two of this post. Good luck!