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23 Oct 2013

Creating a ‘Physical’ Press Kit For Your Indie Game

Thanks to the Internet revolution, every press kit the media comes across is almost primarily digital. It makes sense – after all, a digital press kit can be created inexpensively, does not cost anything to ship, etc. ‘Physical’ press kits may seem like a thing of the past, and for the most part this is correct. There truly is no logical reason to send physical press kits to the media any longer, yet the rarity of the physical press kit provides it with a unique, retro ‘vibe’ that is certain to grab the attention of those that see it. It’s kind of like vinyl records of today. Because we are so used to seeing compact discs, MP3s, and the like, seeing and even hearing a vinyl is a unique experience for us once again. So too, is the physical press kit unique and certain to turn heads.

And that’s the point of using a press kit to garner attention for your indie game. Think about it: how many indie developers are going to send a physical press kit to the press? Very little. Thus, you have the perfect opportunity to stand out from the crowd by sending a physical press kit to the media, as you are certain to turn heads and get noticed, to which you can then ‘wow’ the media with your indie game.

Sure, I mentioned how to create a modern-day press kit in yesterday’s post, but let’s go a little deeper into the conversation. How exactly do you create that awesome, unique physical press kit? Read on to find out, but before beginning, know this: creativity is king when creating physical press kits, so the more creative you can be, the better.

Writing a cover page

The first thing you will want to include in your physical press kit; the cover page should always sit atop everything else in your physical press kit as well. To write a proper cover page, you need to include the following:

  • Contact information (email address, phone number, etc.)
  • Official website for your studio and game
  • Details about your game (genre, story, gameplay style, etc.)

Feel free to be creative with your cover page as well, as this will be the first thing a member from the media will see. For example, if your game is a murder-mystery, you may want to consider creating a cover page that looks as if it is being written in blood, being written by the murderer, etc. Make it visually appealing and a unique read.

Quick note: on every page in the physical press kit, place your contact information near the bottom. By doing so, members of the media will be able to look back and quickly find your contact information without having to search around your press kit to find it.

Include a bio of your studio

Whether you are a one-man studio or your studio consists of a few dozen employees, you must write a biography of your studio. The biography needs to tell your studio’s story in a casual tone – as if you are talking to the reader directly! Some people have a hard time writing in a casual tone, so let me provide you with a little tip for how I write casually: sometimes, I don’t.

Instead, I put on my headset microphone, load up a voice recognition program such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and begin talking. The words that I am saying appear on the screen in my favorite word processor, and the accuracy rate is actually extremely high. With about an hour of training the program, I was able to train the program to understand my personal voice, and it works wonders when I need to write a speech for a client. Thus, if you want to tell your story in a way that sounds casual yet is easy-to-read, this is the best approach to take.

Of course, if you do not want to write the story yourself, you can always outsource it to a site such as Elance or Odesk (boy, we give those guys a lot of publicity around here!)

Include a fact sheet

Nothing fancy here. Simply write a sheet that showcases various tidbits of information about your studio. For example, if a few members of your studio won a 48-hour game development competition, mention this in your fact sheet. And of course, the information below:

  • Name of studio
  • Games released (awards the games have won)
  • Date your studio formed
  • Interesting facts about your studio
  • Links where your games can be found (iOS App Store, Google Play, Steam, etc.)

The reason behind a fact sheet is simple: it allows a member of the press to easily reference facts regarding your studio, games, etc. whenever they cover your latest game. It makes their jobs easier, and they will appreciate it.

Visuals and video

If possible, print out a few large, high-quality images from your game that you can place into your press kit, while including a DVD that contains a trailer of your game, some gameplay footage, and so on. In addition, include a flash drive that has the images and videos you made a hard copy of already on the drive as well, while also including additional images, videos, and more. Those in the media may enjoy seeing your images and videos physically, but when they are going to want to share it with the their readers, they are going to want digital copies of this information, and the best way to share it easily is by extracting the information from a flash drive.

Labeling!

Label every aspect of your press kit – from detailing what information is stored on the flash drive(s) in your physical press kit to what is stored on DVD(s), etc. Believe me: if someone has no clue what is stored on a flash drive, DVD, etc., they are not going to look at it.

Include your game

A full version of the game, a demo, just be certain that you include your game so journalists can play it!

Include easter eggs

If you have memorabilia associated with your studio, your upcoming game, etc., then include little ‘easter eggs’ in your physical press kit. Mouse pads, keychains, t-shirts, mugs – everything is ‘fair game.’ Many individuals in the media enjoy that you took the time to provide them with little bits of memorabilia, and if the individual in the press doesn’t want the memorabilia? They will likely give it to someone else, run a contest on their website, etc.

Above all: be creative

If you want a particular game to receive coverage that takes place in space, why not package the physical press kit in a custom box that is shaped like a space ship? If the game is about a detective, why not place everything in a box that is shaped like a dossier? Be creative, be unique, and ensure that when the receiver takes a look at the physical press kit, they are going to have to look at it and scour through the items in the press kit out of sheer curiosity. And from there? You can ‘hook’ the media professional with outstanding games, awesome ‘press kit presentation,’ and a desire that you want to be noticed, and you are worth being covered.

Want to see a few examples of awesome physical press kits? Take a look at some of these physical press kits from AAA studios to get some ideas!

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