Indie game PR tips: What is review code?

Sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that a term we commonly use is actually field-specific jargon. And so it is with ‘review code’ – a term that every games journalist, influencer or PR will understand, and which we often make the mistake of thinking developers will understand too. But why would they?

I’ve noticed that ‘review code’ is confusing to a lot of people. So I thought I’d write a quick post about it: what review code is, what it isn’t, how it works, and when it should be available. Q&A format because it’s Friday and I’m tired. read more

The importance of starting early

Once upon a time, releasing an indie game was enough to get people’s attention — especially if your game was on Steam, the holy grail for the indie developer looking to gain visibility with a large audience. There was a time when a Steam release would guarantee you millions of eyes on your game, and drive sales without you having to do anything. That fabled time now has a name: 2013.

It is not 2013 any more.

And as such, we hear from many developers who are about to release a game, and who know that they need to do some marketing to be in with a chance of success. The problem is, it takes time to construct a scenario where success is likely, or even possible. Developers who begin thinking about marketing just weeks before their release are shooting themselves in the foot, and instead engendering a situation in which their hard work is destined to fail. read more

Kotaku is not the answer: Strategic thinking for indie game PR

Jon and I are on a call with a developer. It’s an initial call about the possibility of working together. They’re informal discussions, these initial calls: they help us to get a sense of whether we might be a good fit for the game, whether our ambitions align, and what sort of promotional work might be the best for their project.

One of the questions I like to ask in these calls is: “What does success mean to you?” Often people seem a bit nonplussed by this question, like, isn’t it obvious what success means? But almost every developer has a different answer. read more

Indie game marketing & PR tips: social media success

It’s often suggested that social media is the secret key to marketing success in the indie game sector. It’s free, it requires relatively little technical knowledge, and it has the ability to reach a nearly endless amount of your target audience. Or so the theory goes.

As with most things in life, the reality of the situation doesn’t quite align with this assumption. I’m glad to say it’s not far off, though: after all, it is free, it doesn’t require a huge amount of technical know-how, and you can reach some of your target audience by following some core principal rules for social media interactions. read more

The 5 most common indie game PR mistakes (and how to avoid them)

There are a lot of guides on the web that cover how to do good games PR. There are fewer that look at what not to do. As a result, there are some key mistakes that I see otherwise excellent indie studios making, and it’s a shame, because some of these can be real game-changers.

I wanted to look at the five most prominent mistakes I see, and give some advice on how to avoid making them. With the right attitude, proactive planning, and an honest, self-critical eye, every studio – even those without any budget to speak of – should be able to improve their publicity by taking note of these points. read more

Demystifying earned media: how does indie game PR really work?

Public relations can seem like a strange and arcane art sometimes. This oft-misunderstood promotional field confuses even the most seasoned of marketing veterans with its nebulous nature and sometimes unpredictable results. Even the biggest brands often struggle to deploy public relations effectively – so how does indie game PR really work?

The three media: paid vs owned vs earned

In the media space, we often talk about ‘paid media’, ‘owned media’ and ‘earned media’. Understanding these three distinct areas is key to understanding the role, purpose and process of PR. read more