3 product launch PR strategies for gaming companies when live events are canceled
Since you learned E3 was canceled and Gamescom is expected to go digital, you’ve likely been scrambling to replace just about every idea on your marketing calendar for your upcoming launch.
It’s obviously hard to replace an event that brings together media, influencers, partners, and most importantly, gamers, all in one spot. Now that those announcements are forced to go online, you’ll need new strategies to gain the same boost your launch needs to stand out and capture attention.
Take a deep breath and start planning now. How can you make the most of an upcoming launch without the opportunity to connect with your audience in person?
Use platforms and people that already command attention
How can you recreate that E3 or Gamescom experience without the actual event? Get creative with it. Think about different ways to translate the in-person experience remotely.
So many of gaming’s iconic moments happen on popular Twitch channels. Can you adjust your launch strategy, using Twitch as your platform, and not an in-person event? Are there ways to livestream a press conference and demo version of your game?
Earlier this month, Riot Games lifted the embargo on some of its first recorded gameplay by players for its new title: Valorant. The result: over a million viewers on Twitch, despite it not being actual live gameplay. Through some creative tactics, including giving beta keys out to stream watchers, Riot is making massive noise for their highly anticipated next title, even before it officially launches.
Can you work with someone in the industry with clout — a gamer or influencer you might have a relationship with?
All can help boost the success of your launch by tapping into centers of attention. They might not be on the scale of E3 or Gamescom, but they’re often more targeted to the audiences you’re most interested in.
Work with traditional media to get the word out
Don’t forget about traditional media. While many of your customers might turn to Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, or another platform for news and product recommendations, traditional media have large, loyal followings and can amplify your message. Even more, their reviews are often calculated into Metacritic scores, which serve as a bellwether for many prospective customers. But you need to know the rules to play the game.
When we work with gaming clients, before the launch of an important product, we often schedule press tours under embargo – both in-person in major cities and remotely – well ahead of time. Now that we only have the remote option, think about what kind of remote experience you can offer reporters who are most interested in your game.
Can you send them the product, beta code, or a game demo and then schedule video calls to walk them through what you’re launching? The same technology that allows everyone to work remotely can play an essential role in your media push.
Harness social media
Social media is a powerful tool at your disposal, but too often brands are simply yelling into the void. There’s no quick fix for this, but you need to build an engaged community on each channel, now more than ever.
Be authentic and give gamers clear reasons to follow along on your journey. If you don’t already have an engaged following, think about ways to begin connecting with your audience now, through both organic and paid methods. Create a steady drip of news and teasers to build anticipation and grow engagement for what is coming.
Be careful in how you’re displaying your brand on social media. Too often, I see brands become overly reliant on giveaways. Sure, it’s a great way to build up an immediate following, but are these followers there for the right reason? Will they stick? Chances are most won’t, and too many giveaways can cheapen a brand’s image.
By building your social channels now, when launch day comes, you’ll have a built-in following ready (and hopefully excited) to consume what you have to offer.
How to get by without a live event
For many companies, E3 and other major trade shows are make-or-break events for the next year or more. They’re a chance to grasp the attention of the whole industry over the course of a few days. With many of these events changing drastically or being canceled, however, you now have an opportunity to reevaluate your entire launch strategy, try new things, and return next year with a better sense of what captures and holds your audience’s attention.
If you’re scrambling to replace your E3 or other event strategy, get in touch and let’s talk through some alternative ways you can make your launch a success.
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