VGPR #005: Perfect is the Enemy of Good
My interview with IGN Editor-in-Chief Tina Amini, advice for media people making the jump to PR, and a great podcast, oh my!
[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. VGPR is made possible in part by you, the reader! If you are enjoying this newsletter, please consider subscribing or sharing with a friend or colleague. Send feedback, questions, and ideas to email@example.com, or drop me a note on Twitter.]
I can’t believe August is almost over! As the month winds down, there are a few changes coming for VGPR. First, I’m going to try publishing on Tuesdays instead of Mondays, and second, I’ll be on holiday next week, so VGPR #006 will be a special one.
In this issue: Advice for media thinking about going into PR, Tinsley PR in the How Games Make Money podcast, and my interview with IGN’s Editor-in-Chief Tina Amini. But first, some positive words of encouragement:
From Media to PR
Sitting in my first PR job interview, I remember one of the questions I got asked was “so what is it that you think PR does?” It’s funny to look back now, because I don’t think I fully understood what PR did at the time. Fortunately I must’ve said something right since they hired me! I remember assumptions common among some of my media friends that PR just sends game codes or throws events, but of course now I understand that there’s a lot more to it.
Part of being good at PR means keeping the focus on your teams and your products, but that means the mystery of what this work is all about might remain for many on the outside. So, last week I reached out to PR professionals who made a career change after working in media to ask them two questions:
What was the biggest surprise for you moving from media to PR?
What’s a piece of advice you’d give to someone in media thinking about a career in PR?
I got so many great responses (thank you!) that I don’t have room to include them all in this week’s newsletter, but here are some good ones to start (I’ve kept the responses anonymous).
Respondent 1: A gaming and tech writer turned freelance PR
The amount of planning it takes for an announcement. When I was writing, I never thought about how many meetings, discussions, debates, and approvals went into something as simple as a new game announcement, a teaser trailer, or any of the other milestones that lead up to a launch.
Organization and communication are very important when you're doing PR. A game's success or failure could be attributed to poor planning, missed deadlines, or lack of communication between the dev team and the public. I recommend finding the best tools for yourself that'll keep you both organized and in constant communication with everyone you need to communicate with.
Respondent 2: A video producer turned in-house marketing/PR
When I worked in media, it felt like what was being said was less important than saying something first or fastest, whereas the marketing side feels more deliberate. It took some time for me to un-learn my thought process of trying to get everything done quickly, which I think says a lot about how digital media companies think about their product.
Try to remember the "why" of whatever you are doing. It's a different set of objectives, different KPIs, so that will mean changing your perspective and challenging your process more than I think a lot of people realize.
ICYMI: Stephanie Tinsley talks PR on How Games Make Money Podcast
Fresh off the breakout success of Fall Guys, Stephanie Tinsley of Tinsley PR (whom I respect and admire) joined GamesBeat’s Jeff Grubb on an episode of the How Games Make Money podcast. She runs through her “411 years of experience” as a PR person (not “publicist”), the importance of context across cultures, and how she runs her business, from keeping a tight team to fee structures. She leave us with two mottos:
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best
Perfect is the enemy of good
Once you’ve listened to the episode, check out Simon Carless’s recent article “How Did Fall Guys Get It So Right?” where he touches on the specific ways Mediatonic involved streamers and established a clear and explicit social tone.
My Interview with IGN’s Tina Amini
Tina Amini came from Complex, Kotaku, and Mashable before moving to IGN, where she is now Editor-in-Chief. In my interview with Tina, she talks about the many ways the outlet reaches its audience, its post-COVID digital event programming, and shares insights on how to pitch premieres and indie games on IGN.
The basis of the pitch is the game -- what’s unique about it? How would you write a headline around it? How would you tweet or tell a friend about it? And are any of those descriptions appealing enough to click on or further pursue the conversation?
You can read the full interview here. Thanks, Tina!
Also in the media
Alice Liguori is leaving VG247
Brittany Vincent is no longer at Shacknews
GamesIndustry.biz shares its pitching guide for freelance writers
Have you used PressEngine? Whether you’re media or PR, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Activision - Influencer Relations, Call of Duty (Santa Monica, CA)
Amazon - PR Manager, Amazon Games (Irvine, CA)
Bungie - Senior PR Manager, North America (Bellevue, WA)
Nintendo - Manager, Public Relations (Redwood City, CA)
Scopely - Senior Manager, Communications (Culver City, CA)