I recently brainstormed with a friend of mine who runs a video game news site. We combined our respective expertise on writing and receiving press emails, and I’m going to share with you what we came up with! Here is your one stop to figure out the best way to write an effective press email in order to get your game on the map.
STEP 1: THE SUBJECT LINE
The subject line is one of the more important elements of a press email. Keep it to the point, direct, and without fluff. Describe your game briefly and share the key event that you’re writing about (game launch, trailer launch, Greenlight launch, Kickstarter, etc.) so the person receiving the email knows what’s going on right off the bat. If you’re providing a download key (WHICH IS A MUST) mention it briefly if you can do so without rendering the subject too long.
Bad subject line: Hey there editor! I’m Daniel, and I’ve been developing my game for the past year. I’d appreciate any coverage.
Good subject line: After 1 year in development, Awesome Game Title launches on Steam, Desura, and GoG. Download key inside.
Stay direct, clear, and concise. The details come later.
STEP 2: THE TL;DR
All you need to write a clear, direct press email is this. You need to accomplish a few things here without getting wordy or convoluted. The following block—which I call the TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read) is what’ll get press easy access to cover your game. It’s similar to a mini fact sheet for your game.
<Introductory sentence, i.e. “Awesome Game Title has been in development by Kick Butt Studios for a year, and just launched on Steam on March 14th.”>
- Title of game
- Name of developer(s)/publisher(s)
- Trailer link
- Platforms and MSRP
- Release date
- Links to website, storefront, Greenlight, Kickstarter, etc
- Short description (150 words at most)
Slap on a download key and a small screenshot just after this, and you’re good to go! The press get all the information they need in an easy to read list and can access more if they keep on reading until they get to…
STEP 3: THE CONDENSED PRESS KIT
Put a quick horizontal line or other separator in your message and start this next section. This area is optional but can make life easier for the reviewer. After they read the TL;DR and if they want more information, they can scroll down and should be able to find…
- A slightly longer description (250 words max)
- Features list (bullet points, 3-7 features recommended)
- 2-4 press mentions from other sites
- 3-5 screenshots
- Social media, website, download, campaign links
- Trailer link
- Press kit link
Having this information laid out so the reviewer has as little work as possible to do is key to getting your game reviewed. This way they can read on and cull whatever they need directly from your email instead of having to search for it on your website, online or in a press kit.
There you have it! The three steps recommended by both publishers and games journalists alike. If you want a total professional revamp of your email outreach strategy, be sure to contact Raghav at Black Shell Media. He’s written press releases and worked on titles that have been covered by sites like Rock, Paper, Shotgun, PC Gamer, Destructoid, and more. He can be reached at [email protected] and he’ll be happy to get you on the right track!
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