VGPR #004: Nice to E-meet You

Speedruns, timeboxing for productivity, and an interview with Tara Bruno PR

[Hi, I'm Lizzie Killian, founder at FIFTYcc PR. You're reading VGPR, a newsletter featuring interesting developments and topics impacting public relations in the video games industry. Send feedback, questions, ideas, and submissions to vgpr.insider@gmail.com, or drop me a note on Twitter!]

In this issue: PR opportunities with speedruns and more, field-tested productivity tips for to-do list addicts, and an interview with the president of Tara Bruno PR (Tara Bruno!)

Gotta Go Fast

My client Games Done Quick (GDQ) kicked off their Summer Games Done Quick 2020 Online event this weekend. In short, speedrunning is the art of beating a game as fast as possible. While speedruns may initially sound like a niche hobby, it’s something that easy for everyone to understand and GDQ draws in huge views on Twitch during its week-long charity marathons.

Both fans and game developers love speedruns! IGN features speedrun reaction videos from developers and included speedrunning segments in its Summer of Gaming programming. GDC (Game Developers Conference, not to be confused with GDQ, of course) recently experimented with connecting developers and speedrunners as well. Whatever the platform, here are some easy ways to dive into the speedrunning world for potential PR opportunities:

  1. How can you figure out if there are speedrun opportunities for your game? The easiest thing you can do is check speedrun.com. You can look at records for many games and find links to its speedrunners’ channels. If your game isn’t on the list, do you have a similar kind of game? Are you working on a remake?

  2. While email is always the best way to reach out for business matters, in my experience many speedrunners are more responsive on Twitter and Discord.

  3. Did You Know?: Even outside of the big marathons, you can pitch content for Hotfix, Games Done Quick’s weekly show on Twitch. They love to feature speedrunner-friendly titles, like Spyro:

More PR Opportunities

  • PC Gamer started a new gaming news show called “This Week in PC Gaming.”

  • Well-known indie game showcase The MIX is looking for submissions for The MIX NEXT, a new event focused on the next wave of indie games coming to next-gen consoles and other systems this year. The MIX NEXT is planned for October, and the submission deadline is coming up next month.

Timeboxing

No matter where you’re working, PR people are always juggling multiple things at once. Fortunately, I’m a huge fan of to-do lists. I have a to-do list in my planner notebook, another one on my phone’s Reminders app, and of course my Trello board is a giant to-do list of to-do lists.

Just like playing an RPG, I love completing small missions and checking off boxes. One problem with checklists that I’ve noticed in my own behavior is also called out by the Harvard Business Review: I start with the easy tasks first to get the sense that I accomplished a lot, while the major task on my list gets pushed back again. That’s where combining to-do lists with timeboxing is helpful.

The Agile Alliance definition of a timebox:

A timebox is a previously agreed period of time during which a person or a team works steadily towards completion of some goal. Rather than allow work to continue until the goal is reached, and evaluating the time taken, the timebox approach consists of stopping work when the time limit is reached and evaluating what was accomplished.

So that big PR timeline that’s been on my to-do list for days? I should just set a one-hour timebox to do it. Even if I’m not able to finish it in an hour, I know I will make some progress. Afterwards, the task as a whole is closer to finished, better understood, and feels less daunting. Read more about the benefits of timeboxing and how to implement it here.

Pro tip: I like adding a verb to the beginning of each task, no matter how simple the task is. “Draft” or “Review” the PR timeline, instead of just “PR timeline.” Your brain (and colleagues) will thank you!

Update: The PR timeline only took me 20 minutes to complete 😭

Interview: Tara Bruno PR

When you think about your career path in PR, do you imagine working in-house at a publisher? Full-time at an agency? My friend and collaborator Tara Bruno has taught me a lot and was an inspiration in starting my own business. She’s found success by ignoring traditional PR categories to find what works for her and her clients.

An excerpt:

You don’t grow by doing what you already know. You grow by challenging yourself and learning new things. You can’t learn new things unless you experience them. A respected colleague described her studio’s structure more like a tree than a ladder. I really identify with that.

Read the full interview with Tara here.

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