With more than 6,000 journalists attending Gamescom in Cologne next week, it is the perfect opportunity to secure media coverage of your game.
We asked games journalist Thomas Berger for his five best tips on how to get the attention of a journalist at Gamescom. He has written about games for all kinds of media outlets for the past 18 years and has attended the German games trade show regularly.
Prepare the journalist elevator pitch
If we don’t have an appointment in advance but I just happen to stop by your booth to have a look around, you only have a small window of opportunity to catch my attention before something else catches my eye. Prepare an elevator pitch for the journalist – a very short and very precise pitch on who you are and what you have to show. Something to make the journalist aware that there is a potentially interesting story to be told.
Know the length of your presentation
There is always a meeting or an appointment where the journalist is probably late – you as a game developer need to be able to fit into the small timeslot available in a packed schedule. That is why a journalist will often ask how long your presentation will take and very likely say no if the answer is something like “I don’t know, maybe ten to twenty minutes.”
Be aware of how long your presentation will be. And if you are really cool you will have prepared both a very short presentation and a longer one depending on what time allows for.
Business cards still work just fine
Smartphones and all the digital tools available for exchanging contact information are excellent – but the old-fashioned printed business card still works just fine. It’s small, easy to handle and if designed well contains all necessary information, links and visual clues as to what game you have just presented to the journalist. Don’t mock the classics.
Have press assets available
No matter if the journalist produces stories during Gamescom or waits with writing them until later there will be a need for visual assets – and if they look great it might affect the amount of coverage you get. But they need to be easily available. A USB stick that you hand out to the journalist is pure luxury and unnecessary – a link to a download site is all that most people need. The important thing is that the journalist can get to the assets without the need to write you an email or jump through other hoops.
Feel free to follow up after Gamescom
Journalists get to see a lot of games at a trade show like Gamescom – more than they can possibly remember or find the time to write about. Feel free to drop the journalists that you have presented your game to an email after the show. Don’t try to guilt trip them into covering your game by asking if they wrote something about you… just say hi, that it was great that they stopped by and had a look at your game and should they have lost the contact information or download link, you have included both in the email.
Learn more about Gamescom 2015, 5-9 August in Cologne at www.gamescom-cologne.com.