Getting the press release for your game just right can easily make the difference between coverage in the media and making no impact at all. However, putting a press release together is no easy task – it takes time, thought and knowledge of the basic rules of a good press release.
We turned to PR specialists Chris Clarke and Aidan Minter (in image above) from the communications agency Plan of Attack to get their advice on getting a press release just right.
A core hook is vital for a press release
Developing a core hook for a press release is vital to delivering the message that the developer or publisher intends. When you are writing a press release, think from an editor’s perspective and ask yourself: What is the key message I want to deliver to the media and their audience? Also think incredibly carefully about your headline, as most editors get anywhere from 60-80 press releases in their inboxes each day – but they will only write a finite amount of news stories. So think carefully about what is going to make them write about your release. Your headline needs to be concise and to the point and hook them into reading the full press release. The first paragraph of your press release is incredibly important. Lose the editor here, and he will be sending your hard-written words to his trash box immediately. In the first paragraph, using your own brand identity, you need to outline your key messages concisely. Although the rest of the press release will provide further details on the announcement, you want the reporter to be able to take home the key message from the opening paragraph.
You only need one page to get your message across
The body of your press release should not be more than one page broken down into a start, middle and end with a boilerplate and media contact details on the second page, depending on the amount of information that needs to be communicated. Much longer than this and you will lose the editor’s attention. Editors have a minute or so to scan and read your release and then decide whether it is newsworthy enough to be covered in their reporting – there are not many worse things in editorial than a badly written three-page press release that never nails the point that it is trying to convey.
An email press release puts your message directly in the journalist’s inbox
Apart from the fact that if it is an email press release, the journalist will see the body of the press release immediately in their inbox, rather than having to click on a PDF or a word document – I don’t really think that there an advantage of email press release over an attached PDF or similar. An email press release can just as easily be sent to the spam folder as a word doc can. However, through email distribution (either using your own email client or a third-party email distribution system), you have the tools to make the press release look professional and branded with your own identity with art images, embedded links and more.
Who, what, where and when – that’s the basic important information.
Who, what, where and when. Follow that mantra, and you can be sure that you have delivered everything you need to say; depending on the nature of the release it may need to create a call to action or announce something new and fresh. Tangible media assets and contact info are also vital.
Tailor the core message to target specific media
While the formula of location, time and date opens most press releases, you need to tailor the core message and communication to target different sectors. For example, you would want to perhaps change the focus and details of a multi-format title you are announcing if the press release is going out to mobile and tablet outlets by including info about that specific format, i.e. sending a console- or Steam-related release will convey nothing to the mobile or tablet sectors of your industry, so tailoring specific parts for suitability is important. Always think about who you are targeting and tailor the release to those sub sectors that may be interested in one particular platform or another.
Not every story needs a press release
Some companies think that a press release is the only way to stay in the limelight, and therefore you see this tendency to want to communicate absolutely everything. This actually works against them. Invariably, media are looking for a good, solid story worth telling as they have a duty to present interesting eye candy to their own readership. Lots of publishers and developers forget that editors are getting anything upwards of 60 to 80 press releases a day, and on average a story will fight for placement against anywhere from 10 to 30 other stories every day. Bombarding press and neglecting the use of your community platform, which would perhaps provide a better suited “regular” form of communication to your targeted audience, is a balancing act that needs to be considered. Always be selective; not every story you have needs a press release.
About Plan of Attack
Plan of Attack is a full-scale, European and North American communications agency that handles public relations, social media, video streaming campaigns and brand partnerships for games developers, publishers, technology clients, trading card game and board game manufacturers.
Plan of Attack employs a network of 10+ communication specialists based throughout London, UK, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the San Francisco Bay Area, Vilnius, Lithuania and beyond.
Learn more at www.planofattack.biz.