What is PR actually? Unlike many would want you to believe, there is no magical secret we use to turn your game into a success. By the end of this article you will know for certain if you should do your own PR or if you should hire a company or a person to do it for you.
Everything we do can be learned by everyone, and without spending a fortune! There are lots of vague ideas about what PR is, but most don’t seem to be certain because of the poisonous jargon used in the industry. Can you do your own PR? Should you do it yourself? When to hire an agency? What to do if X? What do I do if Y? We are going to explore all these questions and give you the desired answers.
Tips & Tricks
- If you want to hire a PR company, do so before you have released you game or before you create your Kickstarter or Greenlight campaign. This is so you have time to actually communicate with the team and create a plan for maximizing potential.
- It’s usually a good idea to not have a release date set for your game if you intend to hire a PR company. We also play your game from start to finish to know what it’s all about before sending any pitches or making any suggestions. After playing the game we report any bugs we have found and give you our overall feedback. If your game is set to release in one month, there’s no time for us to do this anymore.
- When you find a PR company, document yourself a lot about them. If you can’t find them online or they have a bad reputation you need to ask yourself if they are the people you want to be represented by.
- A PR company should do a weekly meeting at least. You need to know what goes on in the community even if you are not really active there. Also you need to know how your game is progressing, so ask them about who they pitch and where they post. In our case, we also give you our phone number so you can contact us for free (through Telegram or WhatsApp) at any time of the day in case you need something. Direct contact with the PR team is important.
- Think about what you need and ask how long it will take to be completed. If you just want to hire a PR company to market your game, it’s advised to do so at least a month before the release, so the company has time to pitch journalists. You should hire a PR company at least a month before the release of a game and keep them hired for at least a month after the release.
What is Public Relations?
Public relations is about people. Everything you do that involves interacting with people can be called public relations: doing interviews, talking with your community, answering client complaints. Many books about public relations promise to clarify what PR is about, but just give you 8-15 different definitions filled with jargon and then go about explaining the topic further using the same jargon pretty much no one outside the industry understands.
If that’s so, then why the jargon? You have probably heard something along the lines of “we’re the #1 integrated branding and positioning solution!” or “with us you get the best strategic outreach employing services such as social media management and crisis counseling to provide you with the all in one affordable solution for community strategy!” These packages sound so awesome it would be foolish to refuse them, right? Wrong.
“Integrating branding and positioning” simply means “we’ll make sure your customers see you in a positive light and they know what to expect from you.” This is the problem: jargon is used to impress in this industry. “Social media management” simply means “we post tweets and funny pictures of cats on Facebook for you so you get a following.” This world would be a much better place without all the jargon used.
This is the ugly truth: many people in the industry only use the hardest to understand jargon available because otherwise people might not hire them. It looks much better to say “I am a social media manager” than to say “I stay on Twitter, Reddit, and the other sites talking with people.” It sounds more fancy. And to be honest, who would you hire? An experienced “social media manager” or a guy who sits in front of his computer staying on Twitter all day long?
You can learn how to do your own PR! Seriously, go for it!
There are promises of glamorous events and great product launches, but the truth is that PR is mostly sitting in front of your PC and sending emails. In the gaming industry this is even more true. That “targeted marketing” jargon means we’ll send emails to publications who might be interested in your game. “Community management” means we will talk with the people interested in your game. “The publics” are the buyers and journalists. Seriously, the jargon is killing small developers. We realize people want to make money, we, as a PR company ourselves, also want to be hired by game developers. But this “you can’t do your own PR” talk is just demoralizing and needless in this community.
You should never hire a PR company just because you “can’t do public relations.” We are here to tell everyone you can do public relations! There are tons of resources this wonderful thing called The Internet. To help you, we took the time to look into them and post many here ourselves.
Please note that because the list is always expanding and that there are many links already in there, we post it at the end of the article, on our website. You can find a link at the end of this post.
If I can do my own PR, why should I hire a company instead?
Let’s face the truth: as a public relations company, everything we do can also be done by yourself. We find journalists and we email them about your game. We do your emailing. We engage with the community. We do what you could also do yourself. In our particular case we also build you your website and social media pages, we test your game and give feedback, we research for you and find you contractors for hire in case you might need them. The only thing we do you might not be able to, that’s if you don’t know the language, of course, is to localize your game in Romanian and interact with Romanian communities.
But let’s make an analogy: pretty much everyone in the art industry agrees that it’s hard work and not talent that will make you good at art. Since art is a learnable skill, could you potentially learn to draw and make your own assets? Of course! But it would take you a very long while, at least a year of true dedication (and we are generous). The same goes for music. That “musical ear” can be worked on. It’s the same about PR: It’s not that you couldn’t do it yourself, it’s the fact that you don’t have the time to do it that matters.
Ok, should you always hire a public relations company? Not really… You need to know what to expect: responding to emails, sending pitches and talking with the community, researching journalists, spending time on social media. These are all parts of a public relations job. When asking yourself whether or not to hire a PR company you have to ask yourself if you can afford spending 50-60% of your time doing this stuff instead of gamedev. If you can, kudos to you, no need to hire a PR company. If you can’t and you afford the price, you definitely should hire an agency.
Are there any other advantages?
We have a passion. It’s no joke, we really do! We enjoy researching things and learning as much as possible about as many different subjects as we can apprehend. We enjoy reading articles posted around the web and the advice of developers and journalists. We are very passionate about researching.
Get a fresh pair of eyes. Sometimes when you put a lot of soul and dedication into something you are blinded by your love for whatever it is you do and can’t see troubling errors. This is where we come in, we are outsiders at first. That’s why the first thing we always do is play a game and give our opinions on what needs work and improvement. We also check all your resources at start for the same reason. Maybe your website needs improvement, or your Twitter page doesn’t look good enough. You might not observe these mistakes, that’s why you might want to hire a company.
I want to hire you, guys. What do I do?
Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond as soon as possible. We also do game translations in Romanian and manage your website. If you want to find out more about what we offer, check our Services page.