Contacting the Press

Greetings travelers,

After wrapping up the playtest feedback (last devlog) we revisited the strategy behind our marketing for fireside. We have lots of ideas for what we can do to promote the game, but we also have to balance everything with the time cost as we are just a tiny team of developers. Besides posting on TikTok, Twitter and Discord, one of the more efficient PR tools are press releases (or so we are told), that’s why we started creating and sending out a press release in addition to our previous efforts. So, let’s look at the why, how, and what behind this decision.

The Why

The most important thing for selling our game is that as many people as possible know about it. This sounds simple but is quite difficult with social media being flooded with content. So far, we had our Steam page and social media channels. During the last few months with the playtest and a finished prototype in our hands, we focused our efforts on TikTok to get the best results for the few hours we can invest into marketing each week. But after talking to some experts, we noticed that we missed one massive channel that can bring some visibility while not requiring constant effort: Press releases.

Press releases are short articles that you write about yourself as if somebody else had written them about you. Then you send them out to as many gaming journalists and influencers as possible and hope that they are interested and copy and paste your article, maybe add some spice and publish it on their website. This system has multiple benefits: The journalist doesn’t have to fully understand your game and research everything about you, making it easy for them to write an article about your game. Additionally, you are able to use their reach while (somewhat) controlling what gets published about you. Sounds great … but as always it isn’t that easy.

The How

There are many blog posts that explain how to write the best press release, but some of them have conflicting opinions about some details and overall, it is still hard to apply the generic tips to your own game. The basics are:

  • Only write about really interesting or new things in or around your game
  • Find a unique angle to make it even more interesting
  • Think about your headlines, they must catch the attention of the journalist and consumers
  • Structure it so that your news gets across fast, but also so that somebody that doesn’t know your game already can understand it and gets interested in it
  • Add a call to action, that can be executed as simple as possible
  • Prepare a press kit on your website for more information about your game.

Look here, here, and here for more details.

But after writing your press release one big question remains: who to send it to. You can either research all gaming news websites and influencers that fit your story and game and write them a personalized email explaining why your press release interests their community. The other option is to just personalize the recipient’s name in the email and hope for the best. We used a hybrid approach and personalized the emails where we really had something personal to say and everyone else got a standard email. 

The only thing that remains is actually sending the e-mails. You should not send newsletter or press releases to hundreds of recipients from a normal email address, because you might land on some spam filter list and most of your emails disappear in the spam folders. Based on our research, and tips from other devs it is most effective to use a professional bulk email service. For our first attempt we used the tool “Sendy” in combination with Amazon’s Simple E-Mail Service (SES) to distribute our press release.

In Addition to sending out the bulk emails you can send it to or other platforms to maybe reach some journalists you have missed before.

So, what did we send?

We focused on the news that players can send their own travel stories to us, so that we can use them as inspiration to write new dialogs for Fireside, since we believe this is an interesting angle which works uniquely for Fireside. We also promoted the free playtest over on Steam and pitched the basic concept of Fireside.

We will see how our first press release performed in the coming days and what we can learn for the second attempt. If you have any tips or tricks, you can comment them here or join our discord community where you can reach us directly.

See you in the next devlog

- Your Fireside team

Leave a comment

Log in with to leave a comment.