Pages: [1]

Promotion

Promotion
« on: October 13, 2011, 11:59:31 pm »

One thing I think this board is seriously lacking, especially considering we are all indies with varying degrees of experience (some not at all, like myself) we should have some sort of section for dealing with the press and promotion. All that unfun, pragmatic stuff that is absolutely necessary, especially for notgames.

For example, I have a few questions:
- At what point do you start contacting members of the press?
- Who do you contact?
- What do you say?
- How do you format it, if at all?
- Where the hell do you even start?

I'd like to know these things. I don't want to release my iPad toy and no one even hear of it. It will never sell, no one will care and it will be a giant waste of time and effort. Any help would be... help.
Logged

Irony is for cowards.
Re: Promotion
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2011, 08:35:34 am »

- "At what point do you start contacting members of the press?"
2 - 12 month before release, a little bit depending on how long we think we can have some kind interesting flow of material going. Best thing is to start with a bang and have something really interesting at first, and then keep the promotion in form of screenshots, trailers, blogs, dev videos, interview,etc going until release.

- "Who do you contact?"
Best is to send your press release to http://gamespress.com/ along with trailer, screens and what not. Can also send it straight to indiegames.com and rockpapershotgun.com (both have details on their site). Other larger sites are much harder and Gamespress is usually better. New aggregates like bluesnews might also be worthwhile sending a tip though.

- "What do you say?"
Can start by looking through gamepress and see what other write. When you release most write crap, you feel less pressure when writing something yourself Smiley I think just trying to sum up the game quickly, have a good headline and include screens and/or a video is a good basic template.

Also, include a mail address in case anybody from the press is interested in contacting you directly. This is normally the way you get press contacts, by them contacting you.

- "How do you format it, if at all?"
Simple text or what ever works the best. Most sites are lazy and will just copy your press release text, so best if you have it in a format that makes that easier (and makes it look good to the reader). Videos youtube and some common format.

Also do not forget to send preview copies and a demo is also good tools for promotion. When it comes to preview copies, I would say start with small and do some research on what sites might be interested. RPS and IndieGames are obvious choices, but there might be tons of other sites that could be of interested. This change a lot though and one has to do some research.

- "Where the hell do you even start?"
I think that you should simply try and have a campaign (meaning somewhat planned release of info, screens, videos, etc) that would make yourself interested. Try and do stuff that have not been tried, but that is not always easy so check and what other games have done for their releases and be inspired.

Also be aware that this takes a lot of time! We usually spend half a day on a single screen shot just making sure it looks as good as possible. Do not just take something directly from the game, but do fake a bit with the set up and show more than what you would see in a game normally. The thing is that in a game you can move around and thus have a different experience than looking at a still image. The screen shot should try and emulate the game experience, not just be a still shot from it. Of course, trailers take even longer and I think the same applies there. If possible, do not show directly gameplay footage, but make a special trailer bit and make a video out of that. Tons of work, but usually really worth it.

Finally I think it is important to give the impression of being serious and professional. For example, when first hearing a bout Jeroen's "Dinner Date" I thought it was going to be a game that was thrown together in a few days. But then when seeing the trailer and website I released sombody had put a lot of thought and time into it, and I got a lot more interesting in it.


Hope some of this was helpful!
« Last Edit: October 14, 2011, 08:38:56 am by Thomas »
Logged
Re: Promotion
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2011, 09:44:07 am »

Nice suggestions, Thomas! Helpful even to "veterans" like me! Smiley

I concur with taking enough time. The internet can be slow on spreading small things like ours. You might want to try and establish your voice a little bit first. In fact you've already started that on Twitter and such. Maybe open a blog too. Connect with the community, shock them with your opinions, insult them with your taste. Make sure they know about you before you release your game.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2011, 09:53:20 am by Michaël Samyn »
Logged
Re: Promotion
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2011, 10:08:09 am »

One thing I think this board is seriously lacking, especially considering we are all indies with varying degrees of experience (some not at all, like myself) we should have some sort of section for dealing with the press and promotion.

I would suggest that this sort if discussion can happen in The Audience.
Logged
Re: Promotion
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2011, 10:57:44 pm »

Nice suggestions, Thomas! Helpful even to "veterans" like me! Smiley

I concur with taking enough time. The internet can be slow on spreading small things like ours. You might want to try and establish your voice a little bit first. In fact you've already started that on Twitter and such. Maybe open a blog too. Connect with the community, shock them with your opinions, insult them with your taste. Make sure they know about you before you release your game.

I have a blog but I have no clue if anyone actually reads it. I do hang out in #tigirc. I'm actually pretty bad at interacting with people.
Logged

Irony is for cowards.
Re: Promotion
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2011, 11:59:25 pm »

I'm actually pretty bad at interacting with people.

I think we all are. Comes with the territory, I guess.
But you can turn this into an advantage. Allow yourself to be weird and awkward. Smiley
Logged
Re: Promotion
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2011, 11:54:35 am »

Great stuff Thomas.

For my last game (which was a regular ol' puzzle game) I tried emailing lots of blogs and sites directly with promo codes. Didn't work at all. This time I'm trying other things. Something that has worked pretty well so far was making a teaser site with a gimmick that makes people want to spread it. I've collected a couple hundred email addresses that way.
Logged
Re: Promotion
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2011, 12:29:18 pm »

Great stuff Thomas.

For my last game (which was a regular ol' puzzle game) I tried emailing lots of blogs and sites directly with promo codes. Didn't work at all. This time I'm trying other things. Something that has worked pretty well so far was making a teaser site with a gimmick that makes people want to spread it. I've collected a couple hundred email addresses that way.

How do you get people to the website?
Logged

Irony is for cowards.
Re: Promotion
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2011, 01:23:31 pm »

I submitted it to a couple of web design galleries (www.onepagelove.com, cssline.com, etc), and from there it got picked up by some people on Twitter. Then the Tweet, Like and +1 buttons did the rest. I suspect if the right people had picked it up, it would have gotten even more spread.
Logged
Re: Promotion
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2011, 01:35:48 pm »

Quote
How do you get people to the website?

I think indirectly. I do not really see a game's webpage as the focal point of PR. They are good to have to show to people who wants to know more. I very rarely check websites for games I am interested in though. For example, I have no idea if "Journey" even has a website. I live more off videos on youtube, and the like. So I do not focusing on bringing people to your website is a right approach. I think it is more of "how to make people see my youtube video", etc. And for this the answer is straight forward:
- Make sure to spread the word to as many as you can.
- Make that trailer (or whatnot) really damn special. (this is the hard part)

Others might have had a different experience though?

And then there is the problem of getting people to buy your game from your website. First of all, you really want to try and get the game up on some service, like Steam, Gamers Gate, etc. But that might not be possible + and even if you can it should not discourage you from selling directly. I am not sure I have  good answer to this though, other than that you need to make it easy to see from all promo material you send out. Having a proper url (ie www.MyGameName.com) is a must for one and then make it visible + try and make people link to it.
Logged
Re: Promotion
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2011, 02:51:46 pm »

I submitted it to a couple of web design galleries (www.onepagelove.com, cssline.com, etc), and from there it got picked up by some people on Twitter. Then the Tweet, Like and +1 buttons did the rest. I suspect if the right people had picked it up, it would have gotten even more spread.

That's a cool site btw. Though it wasn't immediately apparent (at least for my dumb ass) that I was supposed to scroll down, despite the arrow. I thought the site was broken at first. XD
Logged

Irony is for cowards.
Pages: [1]
Jump to: