So, you’ve got a new video game releasing and you want the major media outlets to cover it so your launch is a success? Well, the first step you need to take is developing a killer video game PR pitch strategy to grab the media’s attention. Here’s why!Want the major media outlets to cover your video game release? Then follow these steps to develop a killer #videogame #PR pitch strategy! Click To Tweet
If you want a journalist to review or draft a story about your video game, writing and sending PR pitches are an essential part of the process. While you may feel that your story, news, or business might be compelling, if you don’t write a video game pitch that grabs a journalist’s attention, it’ll simply get buried in their inbox.
David Mack, the deputy director for breaking news at BuzzFeed News, receives around 300 emails each day in his inbox. Mack will typically read only the subject line, and if it’s not explicitly targeted at him and BuzzFeed, he won’t open it.
With the average journalist receiving up to 100 pitches a day, it’s essential that you know what media members are looking for before you start pitching. Getting them to open your email and respond is one of the beginning steps to cultivating long-term media relationships.
In this article, we are going to cover the basic mechanics of a video game PR pitch strategy that will increase your chances of success.
What’s a Video Game PR Pitch?
A video game PR pitch is an email you send to media members to secure interest or press coverage for your new video game. Traditionally done through email, you can also consider pitching your video game via phone or social media platforms.
To be clear, a pitch isn’t the same as a media alert or press release. It needs to be simple and to the point. The goal of your pitch is to get the recipient interested in writing a story, not simply reposting news. Think of it as a step between a friendly email and news post outreach correspondence.
To create a successful video game pitch, you should outline the potential story and why it’s exciting and valuable. By the end of your pitch, the recipient should know exactly why their readers would be interested in your product and be compelled to write a story about it.
When drafting your pitch, consider the following:
- Keep it Short: Your video game pitch should be two to three paragraphs in length with a few sentences in each (91% of journalists prefer pitches under 200 words).
- Keep it Concise: Keep your pitch brief but comprehensive, giving the reader enough information to garner interest.
- Make it Actionable: Your pitch needs to tell the editor what they can do with the information.
- Make it Personal: Illustrate in your pitch that you know the editor’s beat and why they’d find your story interesting.
- Make it Valuable: Will your story bring their website clicks or lend some level of credibility to the outlet? Make sure you clearly outline the value your pitch brings.
4 Key Elements of a Video Game PR Pitch
While short in length, each video game pitch you write should include the same four key elements to be effective.
1. The “What”
Before you get started, you need to know what you’re pitching. Consider if your story is “meaty” enough to warrant a pitch. Journalists look for newsworthy and relevant stories to write about. You want to clearly show them the value of your story because they ultimately want to see page views at the end of the day.
You also want your story to help you get the “right” attention. Look at your concept from various angles. If there’s a chance someone could negatively view your story, you’ll want to rework it.
Your story should also be new and current. You won’t benefit from trying to rehash old news since readers and editors won’t pay attention to it.
Your pitch should also be relevant to the publication and editor you’re pitching to. While the outlet they write for might be gaming-centric, you don’t want to pitch a story about an app to a journalist that only focuses on Xbox games.
Think about the unique elements of your story. The more memorable it is, the better. Imagine being an editor and receiving your pitch in your inbox. Would it stand out among the rest as a potential story?
2. The “Why”
It is always essential to consider why you’re pitching this story. Is there actual value to the media in your pitch?
The editor’s focus is on their readers and page views. They’ll determine the value of your story by how many clicks it’ll generate. Not all stories will generate page views, but they can lend some credibility to the outlet. For example, a significant financial announcement or a CEO interview can make an outlet seem more professional. Don’t overlook that angle when writing your pitch.
3. The “Who”
You’re trying to start a conversation with an editor and develop a long-lasting relationship. You’re not simply blasting out information. You need to decide who you want to talk to and how you’ll break the ice with them.
One of the first steps to get media coverage is to create a targeted list of editors. Each person on the list should focus on the topic you’re pitching or similar topics. You want to start a conversation with a small, targeted media list, not blast your pitch out to a massive list of media.
While you can create a more extensive list of editors, you shouldn’t pitch to it all at once. Instead, pick a subset of five to ten targets from the list. Pitch to them, adapt your pitch based on their responses, and pitch another subgroup.
And for the best feedback, start by pitching your “friendlies” first, or the outlets you know the most about. That’ll help you easily draft your first targeted pitch.
When developing the pitch angles, break down your product into multiple categories. For example, a snowboarding video game can get broken up into the following categories:
- Videogames: General, board sports, and winter sports games
- General entertainment
- General sports sites
- Winter sports sites
- Skateboarding publications
- Music outlets (if the game has a soundtrack)
4. The “How”
Next, consider how you’ll be pitching. As we mentioned before, email is usually the go-to, but you have multiple options.
Some journalists prefer various modes of communication. Some won’t ever pick up the phone or return a voicemail.
Do your research to learn about the journalist or ask your colleagues about their experience with the person.
Ultimately, you want to respect the editor’s time. You can do that by keeping your pitch short, relevant, and to the point.
Start your pitch with the “meat” in the first paragraph. Tell the editor what your story is about and why it’s interesting. In this section, you can include social proof such as sales stats or testimonials. Wrap up the first paragraph with what you’re offering them, like an exclusive interview or breakthrough story.
After the first paragraph, you can add more information as you see fit but always keep it brief. If the editor opens your email and sees a wall of text, they might just skip it altogether. If your email fits on one screen, then it’s less intimidating.
You should always address the writer by name twice. That way, they’ll know it’s not an automated email.
Also, don’t be afraid to double-dip. If you’re discussing one game with an editor, there’s no problem with mentioning other games you’re working on that have similar pitches.
What to Do if You Don’t Get a Response
Not every pitch lands a story after the first email. Following up with an editor and sending them an ICYMI (in case you missed it) email is okay, but keep it at one follow-up. Any more than that is annoying and could get you on their blocklists.
Also, consider other channels to follow up. If you started with email, you could hit them up via DM on Twitter. Or give them a call to let them know you sent them an email.
Next, if you feel like your pitch generally missed the mark, you can rework it before sending it out to other media members. Consider the following things when reworking your pitch:
- Can you make it more personal?
- Is there a way to shorten it?
- Does the subject line need to be more straightforward?
- Pitch on a different day, like a Monday or Tuesday
- Send your pitch at a different time between 5 AM and 12 PM EST
- Test some pitches with A/B testing
Sample Video Game Pitches
To help you better understand the construction and layout of a successful video game PR pitch, we’ve put together an example that incorporates the four key elements and the advice we outlined above.
Hi [insert first name],
In a world where we’re stuck inside, waiting for nearly any opportunity to get outdoors safely, Catch & Release might just be the perfect antidote to counter the pressures of lockdown.
As someone who has previously covered relaxing games like Animal Crossing and Old Man’s Journey, I thought you might be interested in learning more about Catch & Release – a new video game developed by Advanced Interactive Gaming. If your readers are interested in soothing music, relaxing activities, and exploring the outdoors while unable to actually do so in the real world, then I know they’d love to learn more.
We have pulled together a media packet full of assets that you can review and use, should you choose to share information about this fantastic game with your audience.
May I provide you with full access to those assets and additional details about Catch & Release so you can highlight the game in an upcoming article?
Sending out video game PR pitches is all about trial and error. Keeping your message short, sweet, and to the point is essential when reaching out to the media. Show how your story will bring value to the editor, and if you don’t get a response, move on to your next list.
If it all feels a bit overwhelming, the UberStrategist team of PR pros can help with your pitching efforts. Schedule a strategy call with us to discuss what we can do for your projects and studio.