When you launch a game or gaming product, the difference between a success and a flop often comes down to attention. You might be introducing an amazing new game or a gaming product that’s years ahead of everything else, but if no one’s talking about it, you’ll never gain the traction you need for long-term success.
This is why you have to plan your public relations strategy months ahead of time. A well-executed PR campaign can capture the positive media coverage and reviewers from the jump, an invaluable boost for any launch.
But a successful PR launch strategy is not always so straightforward or easy. Managing numerous moving pieces and timelines, working with media, influencers, and other contacts ahead of embargo, ensuring social media channels are creating lead-up buzz, and more can make any marketer’s head spin.
We’ve had great success in supporting esports companies through product launches that result in highly positive media coverage, massive fanfare, and ultimately global visibility. With that in mind, here are three strategies we recommend to clients that can help you maximize press exposure for the launch of your game or gaming product.
1) BUILD ANTICIPATION WITH THE RIGHT AUDIENCES
Months before the launch is when the real work happens. We recommend implementing marketing strategies that support PR efforts 90 days in advance. That’s when you can lay the groundwork for a successful campaign by growing anticipation.
How will your social channels support PR efforts? What kind of content are you creating for the product or game? Is there a virtual event you can create for fans and supporters? Now that E3 and other events are canceled or going off the table, what ways can your announcement fill the void?
These supporting strategies will fuel PR efforts and help generate excitement for the launch date.
As for media, go beyond topics various publications generally cover and find specific reporters who are the right fit for your launch. Pull out all the stops and give reporters the best possible experience you can. Think through every step of their review, from initial unboxing to their last moments with the product. When we work with hardware companies, we meticulously think through this process and often help design review kits that set a positive tone for the product. If reviewers are passionate about your product or game, it will be reflected in their content. Media and influencers want to recommend titles and products they love to their followers. Should they love yours?
2) USE EMBARGOES AND INFLUENCERS TO BUILD A HYPE MACHINE
Look at what Riot Games did with Valorant. The company went about the launch in a calculated and super-smart fashion. Riot let a bunch of influential streamers, gamers, and reviewers with millions of followers participate in an embargoed test drive of the game, allowing them to record the game play, but hold off on streaming video until the embargo was lifted.
That’s less risky than just giving out beta keys and letting them run with it, hoping for the best. This strategy not only ensures you get a burst of media and public attention all at once, but it also allows your team to iron out any kinks that will naturally pop up before content goes live.
Giving out keys to influencers under embargo isn’t a groundbreaking strategy, but it is smart, and it sure was successful. When the game went live, Valorant was receiving over 1.7 million concurrent viewers on Twitch. The hype machine was in full effect.
— Valorant News (@ValorantUpdates) April 7, 2020
3) Amplify your message, multiply your results
Social media, including paid social posts, is a great way to enhance your launch-day press coverage and can have a dramatic impact on the reach and authenticity of your message. Your followers are likely turning to top streamers, influencers, and media outlets for recommendations and reviews before they purchase. Leverage your earned third-party validation from launch day reviews and make sure the right people are seeing it on their timelines. All of the major publishers do this with traditional ads featuring quotes and reviews from IGN, Gamespot, Kotaku, Polygon, and other media. Mimic this age-old tactic on social media and make sure the press coverage you’ve already earned is working harder for you to increase buys or downloads. As an added bonus, boosting press coverage on social media can help grow your following, building your audience for updates or the next launch.
Before your next launch
Any or all of these strategies can generate the attention your new game or gaming product deserves. A mix of media relations, influencer marketing, and social media can extend the reach of your launch and build momentum in the crucial first few days.
Have questions about your upcoming product launch? Get in touch and let’s talk through your strategy.