First off, I want it known that I like to hear from companies releasing new products. The game publishers may be in a niche industry, but it is very broad niche. There are literally hundreds of companies and I cannot possible keep track of all of their releases and activities. I need companies to send me updates and many do. It provides them some (free) exposure and I get help tracking the gaming industry as a whole.
That said, some publishers (usually small companies doing a first release) blow the initial contact with me badly. Since some of these mistakes are from ignorance rather than malice, I thought I would list a few items that really boil my blood.
The first item on my hit list is also what drives me the craziest; poorly crafted first-contact emails. I received several in this vein over the past year.
We are a game company and we are releasing a new RPG. (Insert a few sentences describing game release) Please contact us for more information.
Game company name
Press releases are a time-honored tradition in marketing and I do glean some useful information from them. My problem with this email is not the intent (press release), but the poor design.
Give the blogger a reason to do more with your email than delete it. It may take a bit longer, but the personal touch does help. The sample below came in recently and I thought it was quite good.
Hi! Long-time lurker, occasional commenter, love the blog.
You say in a couple different places that you like supporting small publishers, which is great, because I intend to become one. I have a product releasing soon and I want you to review it…
I liked this one because the submitter actually READ THE SITE. Yes, I like to support smaller operations and publishers and stated that fact many times. This publisher received some ink on my site.
Spend the time to make custom crafted emails for each blogger. At the very least tweak the first paragraph to show you read the site and copy and paste the “guts” of the press release below that.
Even better, as in my example above, I recognized the submitter’s handle as a regular commenter. Build some relationships because name recognition can go far to opening doors. A couple of publishers contacted me during the development process of their game or release. They asked me for feedback about their game mechanics or design and I am more than happy to provide my thoughts. When they finally release their product, I am likely to give them some space on the site. It is never too early to start networking.
Next on my “bad ideas” list is comment spam. Comment spam is evil. Never put up a lame comment like, “great article” and expect me not to delete the link to your keyword-related products. This is less common, but I personally removed a few comments that were clearly designed to either drive traffic to a related-product site or garner some Google link-juice to boost the page in search results.
I have comments with links to commercial sites on my blog. They survived my purges because the comment was relevant and thoughtful. I find it hard to believe that a spammer would spend 15 minutes writing a comment, it is just not efficient. You want to put a comment link on a site then you had better earn the right to do so with a substantive comment.
This is the end of my rant. I hope that some new publishers heed my warnings and work a bit more on their marketing efforts. It really is critical to their survival.
Trask, The Last Tyromancer