How to deal with the media
The two types of media
Usually, you have two different kinds of media: general interest (GI) and special interest (SI) media, regardless of whether they’re print, online, radio, or TV.
Examples of general interest media are 20 Minutes, NZZ, Tribune de Genève and the infamous tabloid Blick as well as local newspapers and radio stations. Usually, their readers or listeners are not very familiar with fighting games. They might have heard of a game called «Street Fighter», but they’ve probably never played it before.
In contrast, special interest media are websites or magazines that are all about gaming. You can assume that they know Ryu, they know about «Mortal Kombat»’s fatalities and they know that Mario and Luigi are used to some pretty tough fist fights. Long story short: You don’t need to explain the whole genre to SI media.
Keep that in mind when you write your press release. You might want to prepare two versions, depending on who your target audiences are. The version geared at GI media should contain more explanations and less jargon.
GI media usually reach a much larger audience than SI media do. However, chances are that most GI media editorial teams will think your press release is irrelevant to their audience. SI media should be more interested in your event – so despite reaching fewer people, your message may well reach more gamers.
Let’s wrap this up:
- General Interest
- Larger audience
- Less familiar with fighting games
- Potentially uninterested in games or a niche such as the fighting game genre (although local media are generally quite open minded)
- Special Interest
- Limited reach
- Interested in and more familiar with fighting games
- More likely to publish your press release
Social media sites such as Facebook are also important promotional tools for your event, but we will focus on those in a separate post.
Important things first, top-down
Keep in mind: The editors are not waiting for your press release. They already have a lot of other stuff to publish. Therefore, structure your press release like a pyramid: The important stuff on top, more detailed information at the bottom. If the editors have to read through the entire document until they know what it’s about, they simply won’t.
Be sure to mention the name of the event and the tournament games as well as the location, date, and time right at the beginning. Should some famous (international) players be attending your event, let the press know by pointing it out expressly. Even if they do not know the players, chances are that you’ll catch their attention with the international flair.
Oh, and please, pay attention to spelling.
Please include pictures (which you own or have permission to use). Possible pictures could be of the location, of previous events, or of your tournament’s logo. Low-resolution pictures in the email keep the file size small. But you should provide links to high-resolution pictures in the cloud (e.g. OneDrive, G-Drive or Dropbox).
Keep it personal
Please do NOT send out mass emails. It’s a lot more work, but it makes a far better impression if you address people individually (even it if is something like «Dear Bieler Tagblatt game editors») rather than writing «Dear all» and sending your press release to multiple recipients at once.
Do not forget to add your personal information. You need to sign your press release with your full name. It annoys the editors when you write stupid stuff like «The organizers» or «The [famous LAN name] team». Include an email address and a phone number. If you can’t take incoming calls at all hours, please add the times when you are available or ask the editors to leave a message so that you can get back to them (and please do not forget to do so!).
Oh, and please, pay attention to spelling. Yes, this is important!