The first two parts of our series were centered around the creation and management of your social media channels. This article, instead, is all about emails!

Day after day, we receive plenty of messages in which our readers ask us for feedback and reviews. Thanks to that, we were slowly able to analyze each of their strengths and weaknesses.  We believe these details could greatly help an aspiring dev or PR manager. That’s why we decided to dedicate an entire chapter to them!

Yeah, But.. Why Emails?!

In short, its form makes an email one of the most suitable tools to get in contact with large numbers of bloggers and YouTubers. Emails are a professional and non-intrusive communication method. They don’t require an immediate answer and give both parts more than enough time to think things through.

Additionally, you should consider how most publications rely on a PR manager to keep an eye on whatever comes in. Most of the times, this person is not the same one who runs their social media channels. Sending an email ensures that your message gets across without being lost in transit!

Now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s see how to gather all material and craft an effective feedback request!

email indie toaster marketing tips

Look For and Get To Know Your Options

As we already mentioned, your marketing campaign should start way before the game is ready. During that period, your main objective is to create a solid and thick network of contacts.  Make sure that the people on the other side notice just how active and open-minded you are.

Dedicated websites and social media will allow you to find a huge number of bloggers, YouTubers, and streamers that would be more than happy to review your game. Every time someone interesting gets on your radar, don’t forget to note down their contact information. Build a list, too! That’s going to make things a lot easier for your team!

Most importantly, try to understand the values and ethics driving the people that you’re about to contact. You can’t expect a positive review from someone who’s thoroughly against your approach to the matter. Just to make an example, we found ourselves refusing to review a couple of sexist games simply because they depicted “voluptuous and dumb” ladies.

Leaving a comment or sharing a publication’s articles, as well as showing them how your game is coming along, are all great ways to catch their attention. In this case, social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) are once again extremely useful. A brief and informal introduction to your project is often more than enough for a reviewer to understand whether they should follow you!

email press video games reviews indie toaster

When Should You Send Your Requests?

Imagine a small editorial team; like ours, for instance. Only two people play the games, read the comics, manage public relations and social media, write the articles, and translate them. All of this is done in their spare time, after they’ve spent the day working their main jobs. Believe it or not, this situation is extremely common among gaming journalists and enthusiasts.

As a result, reviewing every single game that is sent our way would be outright impossible. You should also consider that most publications will plan their schedule in advance. To maximize your options, your best bet is to send an email about one week before the game is released or the embargo is lifted.

In such a dynamic industry, being late often translates into being ignored. If you want to defeat your competitors and gain the attention of the media, timing each aspect of your promotional efforts should remain your topmost priority!
videogames press reviews email part III indie toaster

What Should The Email Contain?

Building the perfect request is no easy feat. It should include the perfect mix of information, be brief, and convey the real meaning of your message. We won’t say that we know the magic formula to it, but here’s a set of rules that our team feels can help you get started.

  • Show some interest in the publication – If you can, express appreciation for what that site does and for their methods. Explain why you want that specific group to review your game and encourage them. This is simple courtesy that many forget about but that can take you a long way!
  • Add a clear and complete introduction – Include the name of your studio and a brief description of your game. Try to explain what makes your project unique and why it deserves an article! Don’t forget to keep an eye on both style and grammar!
  • Include a link to your press-kit – pack the kit with pictures, trainers, additional links to your social media pages, and whatever you feel could help the reviewer. Be mindful not to include material that you’d like to keep private. The contents of your press-kit are often seen as freely redistributable!
  • Attach a review key – You can also promise one if you don’t have it right away. Avoid the likes of “get in contact with us and we’ll decide whether you should receive a copy of your game”. That’s one more step than what most content producers like to go through. If you feel that only a small number of publications should have access to your game, shortlist them beforehand.
  • Don’t forget to link your Steam, Google Play or App Store pages – a small number of developers don’t do that, making it almost impossible for reviewers to actually find their game!
  • Close with a thank you note and the usual greetings – Pretty self-explanatory, really.

That’s all for episode number 3! Don’t forget that this whole series is based upon personal experience and subjective observations. Feel like something should be added or edited? Send us a message and let us know!

Original Article – in Italian – by Elisa Napolitano