How to Get Journalists to Cover Your Game: A Comprehensive Guide

The success of a video game in today’s saturated market hinges on more than just its quality or playability. One of the critical drivers for a game’s success is its visibility and coverage in the media. Whether you’re an indie developer aiming to get your passion project in front of as many eyes as possible or a big studio launching the next installment of a popular franchise, crafting an effective PR strategy is vital.

But how can you grab the attention of journalists and influencers who are constantly bombarded with pitches for new games? How can you make your game stand out in a sea of competitors vying for the same spotlight? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore tried and tested strategies that can help your game capture the attention it deserves.

From understanding the gaming media landscape and crafting attention-grabbing headlines, to creating a perfect pitch and a ‘sizzle-ready’ game, this guide will serve as your roadmap to securing game coverage. By following these steps, you can ensure your game isn’t just another title on the digital shelf but a topic of discussion, critique, and admiration in the gaming world. So let’s dive in, and take your game from the development stage to the headlines!

Section 1: Understanding the Gaming Media Landscape

To devise an effective PR strategy for your game, you must first understand the gaming media landscape. The gaming industry is an ever-evolving entity with diverse platforms, shifting trends, and a complex media ecosystem. The media that cover games aren’t a monolithic entity; they’re a diverse array of outlets, each with its own focus, audience, and preferences. To get your game the right coverage, you need to be aware of this diversity and tailor your PR approach accordingly.

1.1 English Media as Opinion Leaders

Primarily, you should note that English media act as opinion leaders in the global gaming media landscape. Despite the growth of gaming communities worldwide, English language outlets are still the most influential when it comes to shaping perceptions and trends in the gaming industry. Leveraging these outlets can help boost your game’s visibility on a global scale.

1.2 Platform Preference: PlayStation vs. Xbox vs. Steam

As a game developer, understanding platform preference is crucial. Different platforms enjoy varying levels of media attention. For instance, as of my latest research, PlayStation games tend to receive more media coverage than Xbox games. While this doesn’t mean neglecting one for the other, it suggests a need to strategically focus your efforts based on where the most media attention lies.

1.3 The Weight of Launch Numbers

Let’s address launch numbers. For free-to-play games, the average coverage can be around 1500, while for pay-to-play indie games, it tends to be around 230. Remember that these numbers aren’t definitive predictions of your game’s media coverage but an understanding of the average. It provides a benchmark against which you can measure your PR efforts’ success.

1.4 Mobile Media vs. PC and Console Media

The media landscape for mobile games is significantly smaller compared to PC and console games. Despite the enormous number of mobile game players, media outlets covering mobile games are less, which might affect your PR strategy if you’re launching a mobile game.

1.5 The Virtual Reality Space

Lastly, in the virtual reality space, the Oculus tends to receive more coverage than the HTC Vive. This knowledge can help shape your strategy if you’re venturing into VR gaming.

Understanding these key facets of the gaming media landscape enables you to align your PR strategy with the realities of the market. In the next section, we will explore how to translate this understanding into a compelling pitch that grabs the media’s attention.

Section 2: Crafting the Perfect Pitch

A successful PR strategy often hinges on the strength of your pitch. It’s the main tool that helps you grab the attention of the media and spark their interest in your game. However, crafting the perfect pitch is an art that requires a careful approach, incorporating elements that tell an exciting story about your game.

2.1 Making Your Game “Soundbite Ready”

In the fast-paced world of gaming, you have limited time to grab the media’s attention. The key lies in making your game “soundbite ready.” This involves creating a compelling narrative about your game that can be effectively conveyed in as little as 10 seconds. What’s unique about your game? What makes it stand out from the rest? That’s the core of your pitch, and it’s what you want the journalists to take away.

2.2 Using GIFs and Visual Elements

Visuals play an integral role in selling your game. GIFs, especially, can be powerful tools to succinctly depict gameplay and highlight key features. Including a GIF or at least a screenshot in your pitch email can provide a dynamic visual cue that complements your written pitch. Visual elements help to draw the reader in, further enhancing your game’s appeal.

2.3 Crafting the Headline

When writing your pitch, don’t overlook the power of a good headline. It’s the first thing journalists see, and it’s often the deciding factor between your email being opened or ignored. Therefore, your headline should not only mention your game but also hint at the intriguing story that awaits the reader. For instance, instead of saying “game launch today”, you could say, “Mystery game dealing with former Soviet and self-discovery launches today.”

2.4 The PITS (Pitch, Interest, Trailer, Screenshot) Framework

The PITS (Pitch, Interest, Trailer, Screenshot) framework is a proven approach to constructing your email pitch. First, grab the journalist’s attention with a catchy subject line. Next, spark their interest with a brief yet compelling game pitch. Generate desire by providing more information and access to your press kit. Finally, end with a call to action, such as an invitation for an interview or a review key request.

Keep your email short and packed with relevant information. Personalization also goes a long way – if you know a journalist’s interests or previous works, consider mentioning that. It shows that you’ve done your homework and that you value their work.

Crafting a perfect pitch is a vital step in getting your game the coverage it deserves. However, a great pitch can only be successful if it reaches the right people. In the next section, we’ll discuss how to identify and reach the right media outlets and influencers for your game.

Section 3: Identifying the Right Recipients for Your Pitch

Once you’ve crafted a compelling pitch, the next step is to find the right people to send it to. There’s no point in casting a wide net indiscriminately – what you want is to reach out to journalists and influencers who would genuinely be interested in your game and who have the power to make a difference in its visibility.

3.1 Targeting the Right Media Outlets and Journalists

Start by identifying media outlets that cover games similar to yours in terms of genre, theme, or platform. Once you have a list of potential outlets, dig deeper to find the specific journalists who are most likely to be interested in your game. Use tools like Google and Twitter to learn about their work and interests. This ensures that your pitch is relevant to the recipient, increasing the likelihood of a positive response.

3.2 Freelancers and Blogs

In addition to established media outlets, also consider reaching out to freelancers and bloggers. These individuals often have a more niche focus and a dedicated following, which can be valuable for a game with a more specific target audience.

3.3 Console Blogs

If your game is releasing on a console, leverage the official blogs of these platforms, like the PlayStation Blog and the Xbox Wire. These platforms often feature games releasing on their consoles, and they usually have a large and engaged audience of players looking for new games to play.

3.4 Email Hunting

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may struggle to find the contact information of a particular journalist. In such cases, Email Hunter is a free tool that can often help find email addresses.

The success of your PR strategy depends on reaching out to the right people. Carefully identifying journalists, influencers, and platforms who are likely to be interested in your game and tailoring your outreach to them can greatly increase the chances of your game getting the coverage it deserves.

In the next section, we will discuss how to adjust your strategy for YouTubers and streamers, whose requirements and interests can differ significantly from traditional media outlets.

Section 4: Adapting Your Strategy for YouTubers and Streamers

Today, traditional journalism isn’t the only way to get the word out about your game. YouTubers and streamers have a huge influence in the gaming community, with their content reaching millions of viewers worldwide. However, these influencers have unique requirements and interests, so you’ll need to adapt your strategy accordingly.

4.1 Creating a Compelling Headline

Unlike traditional journalists, YouTubers and streamers are not necessarily looking for a catchy headline. What they’re interested in is how entertaining your game would be to play and to watch. Consider this when crafting your pitch. Can you highlight elements of your game that would make for exciting viewing? If so, make sure these features are front and center in your pitch.

4.2 Making Your Game Stream-Friendly

Streamers and YouTubers need games that are easy to play while also engaging their audience. Make sure your game is stream-friendly. This could mean providing a window mode for easy streaming or adding features that enable the streamer to interact with their audience through the game.

4.3 Developing Unique Streaming Features

Adding unique features that make your game more enjoyable to stream can be a huge selling point. For example, the developers of the game Darkest Dungeon created special voice packs for new subscribers, which added an additional layer of fun and interaction for streamers and their viewers.

4.4 Making Your Game Clip-Worthy

Streamers and YouTubers love to share short, entertaining clips from their streams. If your game includes moments that are naturally exciting, surprising, or funny, these can make for fantastic clips that get shared widely, increasing the visibility of your game.

In the next section, we’ll discuss the concept of making your game “pull-worthy” and how this can enhance your PR strategy.

Section 5: Creating a “Pull-Worthy” Game

A key aspect of getting journalists to cover your game is creating something that naturally draws attention and intrigue – a game that is “pull-worthy”. This term refers to the natural appeal of your game, its ability to attract interest and coverage without needing to push too hard from your end.

5.1 Understanding Push and Pull PR

Push PR involves actively trying to get your game in front of journalists and influencers. It’s about crafting the perfect pitch and reaching out to the right people. However, the opposite of that, pull PR, is when your game is so compelling and unique that it naturally attracts attention.

5.2 Striving for a Pull-Worthy Game

A pull-worthy game could be a unique concept, a different spin on a popular genre, or a title that taps into current cultural trends or discussions. It needs to be something that stands out in the market. Remember, the goal here is to create a game that journalists will want to cover and players will want to talk about without you having to do too much prompting.

5.3 Combining Push and Pull Strategies

While it’s ideal to have a game that is so pull-worthy that it markets itself, this is often a challenging goal to reach. Therefore, it is advisable to utilize a combination of both push and pull strategies. Develop a unique, interesting game and also actively push it to the right people.

In the final section, we’ll look back and summarize the main points we’ve discussed in this comprehensive guide to getting your game covered by journalists.

Section 6: Key Takeaways and Conclusion

As we wrap up this comprehensive guide on getting journalists to cover your game, it’s important to recap the key strategies that we’ve explored.

6.1 Key Takeaways

  • Understand the Media Landscape: Familiarize yourself with the gaming industry and the preferences of media outlets. Knowing which platforms get more coverage and tailoring your approach accordingly can maximize your game’s visibility.
  • Craft a Compelling Game Description: The game description should be concise, unique, and compelling, able to draw attention within seconds.
  • Develop Eye-Catching Visuals: Using animated GIFs and screenshots strategically can create a strong first impression and engage journalists’ interest.
  • Design Engaging Headlines: A good headline can hook a journalist’s interest. It needs to be catchy and informative, giving a clear idea of what your game is about.
  • Use the PITS Email Template: PITS (Pitch, Interest, Trailer, Screenshot) is a highly effective format for pitching your game to journalists and media outlets. It includes a compelling pitch, points of interest, a game trailer, and a captivating screenshot.
  • Identify the Right Contacts: Targeting the right journalists and influencers is critical. Understanding their preferences and the type of games they cover will increase the likelihood of your pitch being accepted.
  • Strive for a ‘Pull-Worthy’ Game: Aim to create a game that naturally attracts interest from journalists and players. If your game is compelling enough, it may promote itself.

6.2 Conclusion

Securing coverage for your game is a blend of understanding the media landscape, crafting engaging pitches, and developing a unique and interesting game that journalists will want to cover. It’s a challenging task, but by using these strategies, you can increase your chances of catching a journalist’s attention and achieving the coverage your game deserves. Remember, patience and persistence are essential in this process.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this comprehensive guide. Here’s to the success of your game in the media landscape!

Wyatt Mayham

Wyatt founded TwitchMetrics in 2016 and shares his knowledge about the business elements of the livestreaming and gaming world. With more than 10 years’ experience collaborating with gaming studios, developers, and agencies, he’s adept at increasing their game revenues through strategic partnerships with creators and PR and marketing strategies.