Never send a press release out on a monday (they are catching up with 2 days of stuff) or friday (they are in the pub). So if you are a publisher trying to maximise your press presence send 2 releases a week. Tuesday and thursday.
For every game find good stories and send out one press releaseÂ each month starting a year before street date. Then the launch press release. That is 13. If you have a good story and sales are holding up then do a post launch release. Every release must be supported with assets (screenshots, videos, photographs, renders etc).
Talk to the people making the game so you know what is going on. They don’t know what is a good story and you do. If you don’t do this you will miss out on so much good stuff for your releases. The more you know, the more stories you have available and so you will be able to pick the strongest ones. This is why PR must be in house. An external PR company cannot possibly be close enough to the game to get all the best stories.
Run a press release schedule so everyone knows what is coming up over the next few months and can prepare for it. Keep a “reserve” story (usually something non product specific) to fill any gaps that come up. The schedule is massively important as it informs everyone what they have to do and when to get it all together. It is one ofÂ the main drivers for running a marketing department. It is also highly confidential, so control it.
Get every press release approved by the CEO (if he is the hands on micro manage type), the top marketing person, legal, the game producer or department head, anyone mentioned in the release and the external studio if it is not an internal game. These approvals cover your back and make sure the release is perfect. I had a big rubber stamp made with boxes for the signatures and used it on the back ofÂ every release. Then I would walk it round the building (I believe in MBWA) to gather the signatures. This resulted in a series of mini meetings getting the release perfect and getting everyone on side.
Once a story has appeared it is no longer news. So embargo the release worldwide to a fixed time so you get simultaneous release and maximum impact. Early to midÂ afternoon GMT works best. You must enforce this strictly, any infractions damage the story for everyone else.
You need to have the approved release finalisedÂ at leastÂ several days before release date so you can get it translated into every language. So your regional offices and distributors are up to speed. And so you are absolutely sure all the supporting assets are in place. When embargo time comes up everything must work smoothly and simultaneously. If you are doing this twice a week the mechanics should be spot on so jump hard on any problems.
The press release is the main source of marketing content. Give it (in advance)Â to all the other people in your company who can use it (obviously with them respecting the embargo). Sales, community support, the online team etc. Put it on the company noticeboard at embargo time and email it to (at least)Â everyone on the game team. Your employees should hear news from you first, not read it in the press. Also it helps if they can see what you are doing for a living.
Run a standard, corporate message “boilerplate” at the bottom of every press release. This should be interesting and very well written. Review it regularly to see if it can be improved to reflect the constant change everyone in this industry lives with.
If you are a major publisher or developerÂ and your press releases are proper stories, properly supported with assets and properly distributed worldwide then they will easilyÂ reach tens of millions of people with the potential to get well into 9 figures. It is by far the most cost effective marketing you can do. So get it right.
So do you do all this? Or do you do it even better? Let us know by using comments? Especially if you have some good tips.