Video game PR: 10 top tips – 1. Start early

We’re writing about our top tips for video game marketing and PR. Number one: starting at the right time…

Imagine a scenario. You’re in a band. You think you’re pretty awesome. You have guitars and drums and everything. You even have a cool name, and one of you has a trendy haircut. You’re going to be the next big thing when you play that first awesome show – you can just tell.

So, on the morning of the big gig, you start telling everyone about your band and the show for the first time. You put a post on Facebook, you text a few mates, and… well, no one shows up. You play to an empty room, save for the barman and some drunk pillock at the back who keeps asking you to play Living On A Prayer. Where did it all go wrong?

I’d hazard a guess that most people will be able to spot the problem: you didn’t give people enough chance to find out about your band before you took to the stage. Telling people with just a few hours’ notice is crazy, right? What some game developers seem surprised about, though, is that it works the same in games.

Leaving your promotional efforts until the last minute is essentially commercial suicide. You’re launching a product into one of the most competitive markets on the planet, and no one knows it exists. There are literally millions of games in the world, with thousands of new ones releasing every month, so you absolutely need to give its name the chance to spread before you ship.

Here’s the deal: successfully marketing a video game takes time and energy. It means building an army of followers over a period of months. It means ensuring the most influential journalists are familiar with the name of your game, and that their readers are interested enough to demand a review when it’s out. It means spending time tracking results, analysing trends, and tweaking your promotional strategy as and when required. If you try to do all this in the month leading up to launch, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Don’t play to an empty room. Make sure people know you exist, and make sure your show is the hottest ticket in town.

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