Game Trade Show PR: Create Powerful Media Buzz in 2024

Want to excel at PR at game trade show PR? 

This definitive guide empowers you to conquer media interactions, schedule impactful meetings, and amplify your PR reach.

Learn:

  • Targeted media outreach: Identify key contacts, craft compelling pitches, and secure valuable face-to-face time
  • Expert meeting scheduling: Strategically arrange demos and briefings to ensure your game or product captures the right attention
  • Beyond press releases: Make the most of demos, social media, and post-event follow-up for sustained coverage.

Packed with industry insights and actionable steps, this guide helps you:

  • Command confidence: Master media interactions and secure influential interviews
  • Showcase your game or product with impact: Captivate audiences and maximise your limited demo time.
  • Turn events into springboards: Generate lasting exposure and amplify your PR impact.

Remember: Planning is essential! This guide enables you to craft a winning PR strategy, making your next games industry event successful.


Before the Show 

Decide which event suits you – and if it’s even worth your time and money.

With a limited PR budget, choosing a suitable video game industry event is crucial.

That’s why it’s essential to weigh up what you’re trying to get out of the event when it comes to PR.

The pandemic undoubtedly disrupted the games industry event scene, with iconic gatherings like E3 sadly fading into the past.

But don’t worry. New formats and diverse events have emerged, offering exciting opportunities to promote your company, product, or game.

The key lies in identifying the perfect fit to maximise your investment.

For B2B Focus, something such as Game Developers Conference (GDC) enables you to dive deep into industry trends, connect with developers, and engage trade media. Ideal for showcasing B2B products or forging partnerships.

For Consumer Engagement, an event such as Gamescom Cologne attracts thousands of dedicated players during the public days. This enables you to gain valuable feedback and generate consumer buzz.

Gamescom is for indie devs seeking direct audience interaction. It also has dedicated B2B/trade days before opening it to the public.

Some key considerations for games trade shows

Remember:

It’s not just about the event itself. Develop a pre-event PR strategy and make the most of social media to maximise your impact.

With the right choice and proactive planning, even a limited budget can translate into big wins at industry events.

Know your goals

Define your goals: Media buzz, key partnerships, and community engagement.

Different events cater to varying needs.

Target the right audience

Research demographics and attendee profiles.

Making sure that your ideal players, press, or business contacts/decision makers are aligned with the event’s audience is vital.

Maximise resources

Consider budget, travel time, and booth size.

Choose an event that fits your capacity- a focused local gathering or a larger virtual conference.

Explore your options

Don’t limit yourself! From niche showcases to major conferences, both physical and virtual formats offer potential, although there is little or no media or influencers at virtual events, which is why we’re not focused on them in this post.

Look beyond the hype

Analyze past event coverage, media presence, and attendee satisfaction—Prioritise events with a proven track record in your area of focus.

It’s not hard to run a search and see how much media coverage an industry event has generated.

Be strategic

Can you leverage social media outreach or pre-event press releases to amplify your presence?

Plan a comprehensive strategy to maximise impact.

Ultimately, it’ll boil down to a simple equation of time and money versus ROI.

Remember: While securing media coverage is a vital PR goal, connecting directly with gamers can be equally powerful in consumer PR.

Forget the binary choice of PR or consumer contact and consider consumer engagement a valuable PR strategy.

Here’s why:

  • Positive interactions breed positive word-of-mouth: Happy players become your best advocates, sharing their experiences and building hype organically.
  • Social media buzz takes flight: Engaged players capture and share their gameplay, fostering excitement and building anticipation for your game.
  • Direct feedback fuels future iterations: Valuable insights from real players inform game development, ensuring a product caters to their needs.

Don’t underestimate the power of direct connection: A successful event interaction with consumers can translate to significant PR wins even without media interviews.

Of course, media outreach remains crucial, but think big picture: View consumer engagement and media outreach as both being key components of your event PR strategy.

Maximising both creates a powerful combination that propels your game forward.

If you want to know where to invest your budget and see whether it’s worth your time and money to go to these events, then we’d recommend asking around on Discord, Linkedin, Reddit and anywhere else that people like yourself will be.

If you’re looking to keep up with all the latest events, we’d recommend the GamesIndustry.biz Games Industry Events Tracker or the site Game Conference Guide


Reach the Right Media and Influencers 

Trade show success starts long before you step into the event. Attracting journalists and influencers who can amplify your game or product’s voice is crucial but requires a proactive approach. 

The good news is that many of these game industry shows issue a media list with full details of the media that will be there.

Unfortunately, there’s two bits of bad news.

  1. You’re only likely to be able to access the media list if you’re an exhibitor (or know somebody who is)
  2. With much more stringent GDPR and data protection laws, many of these lists are toothless and will have minimal detail. Here’s what the Gamescom 2023 list looked like. Yeah, it’s pretty useless. We know.
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This means that you’ll have to put in the legwork and do some research. 

Beyond the Media List

While media lists offer a starting point, don’t rely solely on them, especially if they have no contact details. On the plus side, the list will at least say someone from that publication is attending.

Also, use social media and run Google searches on your competitors to identify journalists and influencers covering similar games or genres. Filter by platform and audience demographics to ensure a perfect fit.

Finding trade media journalists for B2B is going to be a LOT easier as you have a relatively small pool of media to choose from, so knowing who the media will be in that instance is relatively easy.

Social Listening: Become a Conversation Catalyst

Dive deeper than hashtags.

Tools like Mention or Awario can help you track conversations surrounding the event and relevant topics.

Engage with journalists and influencers actively discussing the show, offering insightful comments, and building rapport.

Be the Resource, Not Just the Advertiser

Don’t just pitch; provide value.

Share insightful content relevant to the media’s interests on social media and your blog.

Answer industry questions, participate in relevant discussions, and establish yourself as a thought leader.

This builds trust and demonstrates your expertise.

Early Bird Gets the Exclusive

Don’t wait for media lists.

Craft personalised messages to the media introducing yourself and your game/product and expressing genuine interest in collaboration.

Highlight potential topics that resonate with their audience and offer exclusive pre-show access to pique their curiosity.

Personalisation is Key: Relevance Over Generic Pitches

Research each journalist and influencer’s work, interests, and audience.

Tailor your message to their niche and demonstrate a genuine understanding of their content. Avoid generic pitches – they rarely hit the mark and can even irritate, potentially cutting you off from future engagement.

Value Proposition: Offer More Than Just a Meeting

What makes your game or product unique?

What can you offer the journalist beyond a standard pitch?

Consider early access, exclusive interviews, co-created content, or insightful talking points. Remember, they’re valuable, too, so offer value in return.

Respect Their Time: Be Concise and Flexible

Keep your outreach emails clear, concise, and to the point.

Show respect for a journalist’s busy schedule by offering flexible meeting options or proposing alternative forms of collaboration like written interviews.

Beyond the Initial Contact: Follow-Up with Respect

Don’t be discouraged by initial silence.

Send a polite follow-up email a week later, but avoid being pushy. Persistence is vital, but respect a journalist’s time and communication preferences.

Relationships Over Transactions: Build Lasting Connections

Don’t focus solely on immediate collaboration.

Offer support, like and share a journalist’s content, and engage in genuine conversations.

Building long-term relationships is crucial for future success.

Remember: Success at the trade show starts well before the event.

By actively seeking out and connecting with journalists and influencers, offering value, and demonstrating relevance, you can create a pre-show buzz that propels your game into the spotlight.


Write a clear, focused pitch

You must write a focused pitch once you have your target media list. It’s essential that you don’t make it too long or full of stupid buzzwords.

Journalists are continuously bombarded by requests from video game PR agencies and indie game developers. You only have seconds to make an impression.

Of course, there are different strategies for B2B versus consumer. 

Regarding B2B, it is crucial to understand what you want to discuss with the journalist. This could be a general introduction or a discussion about your plans. 

It can be more detailed for a game and the consumer media. For an in-depth article on pitching the media, look at our post 13 Tips to Help You Pitch Your Game, to media and influencers.

However – we get that pitching to meet a journalist at an event differs from pitching for coverage, so here are some pointers for writing your pitch.

  • Use a straightforward header such as “Hands-on preview of (game name) at (insert event name here).”
  • Include an enticing screenshot at the top of the email.
  • Start your email by showing you know something about the journalist you are contacting. For example, “Hi – I see that you recently covered (competitor game), and I think you may be interested in my game (insert game name).”
  • Give three reasons why the journalist should look at your game. Use short bullet points.
  • Include a link to a video. Upload it to YouTube and set it to private but public view with a link.
  • Tell the journalist you would love to provide them with more information about the game and give them a hands-on play at the gaming event. Then leave it to them to come back to you.
  • Don’t keep chasing journalists. Send a reminder a few days later, and if you still haven’t heard back, leave it alone.
  • Write like a human, and be calm. Steer clear of hyperbole that makes you sound like an over-excited frat boy or girl. Avoid using words like “awesome,” “amazing,” “leading,” “best ever,” and “world-changing,” which can immediately turn off a journalist.

Create a Meeting Calendar

Scheduling meetings with journalists across different time zones can be a logistical nightmare. We recommend creating a shared Google Calendar for your journalist interactions to ease the pain.

Benefits of a shared calendar:

  • Transparency and organisation: All team members stay informed about scheduled meetings, preventing double bookings and missed connections.
  • Simplified time zone management: Google Calendar automatically adjusts for different time zones, eliminating confusion and delays (see below). This is key!
  • Easy invitation options: Send invites directly from the calendar with precise details, including meeting purpose, attendees, and location

Meeting invitation best practices:

  • Keep it concise: Aim for 30 minutes, respecting busy journalist schedules.
  • Identify yourself: Include your name, company/product, and the purpose of the meeting in the invite title.
  • Add a detailed description: Briefly mention the key topics you want to discuss to help journalists prepare.
  • Send invites even if not explicitly requested: Show professionalism and initiative by sending a clear calendar invite regardless of the journalist’s preference.

WARNING! Scheduling across different time zones can be tricky.

Luckily, Google Calendar simplifies the process!

When creating a meeting, simply use the “Time Zone” option. It automatically adjusts times for all invitees, ensuring everyone sees the meeting at their local time. 

This eliminates confusion and avoids any potential scheduling mishaps.

Here’s how: 

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Click on ‘TIME ZONE’ and set it to Pacific Time if planning for GDC.

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That’s it. You’re all set.

The meeting will sit in the correct time slot in your calendar, and there won’t be any screw-ups when you get to the event you’re heading to (assuming you don’t come from there in the first place, of course!)

Here’s one more essential thing:

Exchange phone numbers with journalists as a backup communication channel. 

While “no-shows” happen, a quick call can often reschedule the meeting or provide necessary information. 

It’s not uncommon for journalists to forget a meeting or simply overrun in their last one or underestimate how far they have to travel from one meeting to the next.

We’ve even personally escorted journalists to a client meeting to make things stay on track.

Just before we move on, there is one more thing.

Consider event structure when planning meetings. At GDC, prioritise the later expo days (usually Wednesday to Friday) for hands-on demos and stand presence, as the media are more likely to be attending then. 

Conversely, the media may prefer quieter B2B days for focused interviews for Gamescom’s crowded expo.


Work out where you’re going to meet the media

While securing a media briefing is crucial, finding a suitable meeting space at games trade events can be challenging. 

Prime real estate disappears quickly, presenting difficulties for PR companies and indie developers.

Finding affordable meeting space can also be costly when you’ve already paid exorbitant amounts of money for flights and hotels. 

Fear not! Here are several options to consider, each with its advantages and drawbacks:

Tech/Solutions partner booth space

For developers utilising a specific platform or technology like Unity or Unreal, consider securing meeting space through associated tech or solutions partners at gaming events. 

Many of these companies often have dedicated booths or areas, offering valuable advantages:

  • Convenient Location: Situated within the event, eliminating travel time and ensuring easy access for journalists and influencers.
  • Technology-Focused Environment: Naturally attracts media and attendees interested in your platform, potentially generating additional exposure.
  • Potential Branding and Marketing Benefits: Visibility through partnership branding at the meeting space, enhancing company recognition.
  • Simplified Logistics: Depending on the partnership, partners might assist with booking and set-up, reducing your workload.

To explore this option:

  1. Identify Relevant Partners: Check the event exhibitor list and your platform’s website for participating partners likely to have exhibition space.
  2. Direct Communication: Contact the designated representative directly to inquire about potential meeting space availability and partnership opportunities.
  3. Negotiate Terms: Clearly outline your needs and negotiate any associated costs or requirements for utilising their space.
Country-specific trade associations

Advantages:

  • Prime Location and Discounted Costs: Many trade associations secure strategically positioned booths with preferential rates for members, granting access to high-traffic areas frequented by media and potential partners. Examples include UKIE’s meeting tables and demo pods for indie developers.
  • Governmental Support: Some governments offer tax breaks or subsidies for participating in trade shows, reducing booth costs.
  • Controlled Environment: A dedicated meeting space within the trade association booth offers a private and professional setting for conducting media briefings and demos.
  • Passing Trade: High foot traffic in the trade association area can lead to unplanned opportunities for meeting media, fans, and potential partners.
  • Networking and Community: Leveraging the trade association space allows connecting with other member companies and collaborating on initiatives.

Disadvantages:

  • Manpower Requirements: Staffing the booth continuously for demos, answering questions, and covering breaks can be challenging, requiring pre-planning and manpower allocation.
  • Limited Space: Depending on the association and booth size, space might be limited, restricting the number of demos or presentations you can comfortably showcase.
  • Membership: While not always mandatory, membership in the trade association often unlocks better rates and benefits, adding cost.
  • Limited Customization: The overall look and feel of the space might be set by the trade association, offering less flexibility for individual branding.
  • Potential Competition: Sharing the space with other member companies might increase competition for media attention, requiring strategic planning to stand out.

Utilising a country trade association space for media meetings at gaming events often presents a very cost-effective option with valuable benefits: prime location, controlled environment, and networking opportunities.

However, consider the limitations of staffing requirements, space constraints, and potential competition before deciding. Weigh the costs and benefits based on your company’s needs, budget, and event goals.

Additional Factors:

  • Association Reputation: Consider the reputation and reach of the specific trade association and its potential impact on your desired audience.
  • Your Involvement: Determine the level of participation allowed within the association space and if it aligns with your presentation needs.
Space for indie developers

Plenty of events offer cost-effective, branded solutions for indie developers, and these spaces can be ideal for running a demo for a journalist or even securing the interest of journalists looking around for hidden gems. 

Gamescom Indie Arena and GDC Play offer enticing options for emerging indie studios looking to maximise their exposure at gaming events.

Let’s delve into their unique characteristics and help you choose the best fit for your needs:

Gamescom Indie Arena:

Benefits:

  • Broader Reach: Nestled within the heart of Gamescom, the world’s largest gaming event, the Indie Arena attracts massive foot traffic from diverse audiences, encompassing players, media, and industry professionals.
  • Vibrant Environment: The Arena exudes a lively atmosphere, fostering organic connections with fellow developers and potential partners through shared experiences and casual encounters.
  • Flexible Display Options: Choose from various booth sizes and formats to tailor your presentation, accommodating anything from simple tabletop demos to more elaborate setups with dedicated VR areas.
  • Community Support: Enjoy the camaraderie and support of a bustling indie community within the Arena, potentially leading to collaborations and shared resources.

Considerations:

  • Higher Costs: Compared to GDC Play, booth prices at the Indie Arena are more expensive due to Gamescom’s sheer size and popularity.
  • Increased Competition: With more participating studios, standing out amongst the crowd requires additional effort and strategic planning. There can be hundreds of indie games across several halls.
  • Potential Distractions: The high foot traffic and energetic atmosphere might be better for focused meetings or in-depth demos.
  • Non-US media: It’s unusual for a lot of US media to go to Gamescom, and in previous years, a high percentage of the attending media were German. If you’re looking for US media, then Gamescom likely won’t deliver on that front.

GDC Play:

Benefits:

  • Targeted Audience: GDC Play caters explicitly to industry professionals, attracting publishers, investors, and media with a keen interest in indie games.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Boasting more affordable booth packages than Gamescom, GDC Play offers a budget-friendly entry point for emerging studios.
  • Direct Connections: Dedicated networking lounges facilitate targeted interactions with potential partners and media representatives.
  • Focus on Demos: The tabletop setup is well-suited for showcasing demos and engaging in focused discussions with interested parties.
  • Access to US media: Many companies value US media above others due to their reach and influence. GDC is a perfect place to meet with US-based media. There will be a lot of influencers at the show, which may well compensate for this.

Considerations:

  • Limited Reach: Compared to Gamescom, GDC Play attracts a smaller, more specialised audience, potentially restricting visibility to a broader player base.
  • Less Organic Engagement: The event’s structured nature might limit spontaneous interactions and serendipitous encounters that can spark unexpected opportunities.
  • Limited Display Options: The tabletop setup restricts the scope of showcasing your game, making it less suitable for elaborate VR experiences or larger installations.

Which Option Suits You Best?

Ultimately, the ideal platform depends on your specific goals and priorities:

  • To maximise exposure and reach a wider audience, Gamescom Indie Arena offers incredible visibility, but consider the increased competition and costs. You also won’t get access to as much US media.
  • For targeted connections with industry professionals and cost-effective participation, GDC Play provides a focused environment for demo presentations and securing partnerships.
Hotel lobbies

While hotel lobbies often present themselves as readily available alternatives, it’s crucial to understand their advantages and disadvantages before relying on them for important meetings.

Advantages:

  • Convenience: Situated within or near event conference venues, hotel lobbies offer easy access for attendees, eliminating the need for additional travel between meetings.
  • Accessibility: Often open 24/7, they provide flexibility for scheduling meetings outside official event hours or when dedicated spaces are unavailable.
  • Informal Setting: The relaxed atmosphere can foster comfortable conversations and break the ice, potentially leading to more authentic connections.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Unlike booking dedicated meeting rooms, utilising hotel lobbies is a budget-friendly option, especially for quick catch-ups.

Disadvantages:

  • Lack of Privacy: Lobbies are inherently public spaces, making confidential discussions potentially risky. Background noise and distractions can also disrupt communication. If you’ve experienced the hellish, hot mess of the W hotel lobby at GDC, you’ll think twice about using hotel lobbies. 
  • Unprofessional Perception: Meeting in lobbies might project an unprofessional image, undermining your credibility and seriousness.
  • Limited Control: Availability of seating and amenities cannot be guaranteed, leading to potential disruptions or inconveniences.
  • Unreliable Internet: Public Wi-Fi in hotels can be slow or inconsistent, hindering presentations or online demonstrations.
  • Security Concerns: Leaving valuables unattended in open areas poses security risks for you and your equipment.
Hiring a hotel room

Advantages:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to booth space on the show floor, renting a hotel room can be significantly cheaper, especially for smaller companies or individual developers.
  • Control and Flexibility: You control the meeting environment, allowing for customisation like branding and setting up a dedicated demo area.
  • Privacy and Confidentiality: Hotel rooms offer more privacy for sensitive discussions compared to the open environment of the show floor.
  • Informal Setting: The relaxed atmosphere can foster more comfortable and engaging conversations, potentially leading to stronger connections.

Disadvantages:

  • GDC has wised up to this: GDC worked out that companies were hiring rooms offsite, and so has partnered with all the surrounding hotels to stop you from booking a room unless you invest some money in GDC regarding sponsorship or on-site meeting space. We know it’s unfair, but that’s how it goes.  
  • Location: Being off-site requires media to travel, potentially deterring them due to time constraints or busy schedules.
  • Limited Exposure: You miss out on the foot traffic and potential spontaneous interactions the show floor offers, reducing overall visibility.
  • Logistics and Management: Arranging meetings, catering, and ensuring everything runs smoothly requires more effort and organisation than dedicated event spaces. In-room catering can also be incredibly expensive for simple things like coffee and snacks. We’ve seen some hotels at GDC trying to charge thousands for three days of snacks and drinks
  • Negative Perception: In light of 2023 reports concerning sexual misconduct towards women at GDC, if you’re a lone male using a hotel room for meetings, it might raise concerns about safety and professionalism from female contacts.

Additional Considerations:

  • Room Size: Ensure the room is spacious enough for comfortable demos and branding to avoid an unprofessional impression. Giving a demo whilst sitting on the edge of a bed with dirty laundry on it isn’t the look you want!
  • Accessibility: Choose a hotel easily accessible from the main venue to minimise travel inconvenience for attendees.
  • Safety and Security: Implement clear guidelines and take precautions to ensure the safety and comfort of all participants, especially female guests, in light of what we’ve said above. 
  • Transparency and Communication: Communicate the meeting location and rationale to attendees, especially when inviting them off-site.
  • Meet and greet journalists in the lobby: If you’re running any kind of briefing in a hotel room, then meeting a journalist in the lobby can be a good idea to escort them to the room.
Cafes and coffee shops

While cafes and coffee shops are frequently used for meetings at gaming events like GDC and Gamescom, their suitability for professional media interactions requires careful consideration.

Advantages:

  • Accessibility and Availability: Cafes are readily available near event venues, offering convenient meeting points for attendees.
  • Informal Setting: Can foster relaxed and friendly conversations, potentially building rapport with journalists.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to dedicated meeting spaces, cafes offer a budget-friendly option for quick catch-ups.

Disadvantages:

  • Limited Tech Infrastructure: Lack of power outlets can hinder demos requiring laptops or presentations, and unreliable Wi-Fi can disrupt online showcases.
  • Noise and Distractions: The bustling atmosphere of cafes can be disruptive for demos, interviews, or focused discussions.
  • Unprofessional Perception: Informality might undermine your credibility and seriousness, especially for important media briefings.
  • Technical Limitations: Displaying PC games on large laptops is cumbersome and impractical, risking potential technical issues like overheating.
  • Cost Concerns: While cafes seem affordable, hidden costs like premium locations or limited seating can add up.
  • Uncontrolled Environment: Unpredictable crowds and noise levels can disrupt planned meetings and limit control over the experience. Table space is at a premium, so if you’re alone, then you may lose the table if you need to go to the toilet/bathroom and take your belongings with you.

When Might Cafes Be Suitable?

  • Informal meetings: For casual chats or follow-up discussions, cafes can offer a relaxed and accessible setting.
  • Limited budget: If budget constraints are significant, cafes can be a viable option for quick interactions.
  • Close proximity: Choosing a cafe near the event venue minimises travel inconvenience for attendees.
Co-working spaces 

We’ve seen a significant increase in the use of local co-working spaces at events such as GDC in the last year or two. 

Advantages:

  • Professional Environment: Co-working spaces offer dedicated meeting rooms with modern furniture, technology, and amenities, projecting a professional image for your interactions.
  • Accessibility: Many co-working spaces are conveniently located near event venues, ensuring easy access for journalists attending the show.
  • Flexibility: Choose from various room sizes and configurations to accommodate different meeting styles and presentation needs.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to dedicated event booths, co-working spaces can be a more affordable option, especially for smaller companies or individual developers.
  • Additional Services: Some co-working spaces offer catering, Wi-Fi, and presentation equipment, simplifying meeting logistics.
  • Controlled Environment: Unlike cafes or public spaces, co-working spaces offer a quiet and private setting for focused discussions and demos.

Disadvantages:

  • Limited Brand Visibility: You might miss out on the foot traffic and potential spontaneous interactions offered by being on the show floor.
  • Travel Time: If the co-working space is not directly connected to the venue, the media might need additional travel time, potentially impacting attendance.
  • Lack of Dedicated Support: Unlike event-organized spaces, co-working spaces might not offer dedicated staff to assist with meeting setup or technical issues.
  • Booking Challenges: Popular co-working spaces near event venues might fill up quickly, requiring early booking and potential price increases.
  • Limited Customization: You have limited control over the meeting room’s branding and layout compared to your booth space.

When Might Co-working Spaces Be Suitable?

  • Cost-conscious approach: For budget-minded companies, co-working spaces offer a professional alternative to cafes with more environmental control.
  • Focused meetings: A quiet and private co-working space can be ideal if your primary goal is conducting dedicated media briefings or demos.
  • Flexibility: Choosing different room sizes allows you to adapt to various meeting requirements throughout the event.

Remember the best times to start pitching for meetings

Hitting the right note with media at gaming events like GDC and Gamescom depends heavily on your timing.

Here’s how to ensure your outreach has a chance of success during the busy pre-event period:

3-4 Weeks Ahead

Launch your media blitz!

As journalists receive pitch requests, your early approach gets noticed before calendars fill up.

Research is Your Ally

As we’ve said, research and relevance are fundamental here.

Tailor your pitches. Understand individual publication deadlines and journalist interests to ensure relevance and timeliness. We can’t stress enough about relevance. Only target media whom you know have an active interest in your game or product.

Follow-up Strategically

If you haven’t heard back after a week, send a polite reminder.

Don’t be a pest – emphasise your enthusiasm and offer alternative meeting options, respecting their busy schedules.

Timing is crucial, but personalisation and respect pave the way for successful connections.

By understanding the media’s workflow and approaching them strategically, you increase your chances of securing valuable coverage for your game.

Beware the Expo Maze: Navigate Meetings Efficiently at Gaming Events

For first-time attendees of massive gaming events like Gamescom or GDC, scheduling nightmares can quickly derail your meticulously planned PR efforts. 

Here’s why:

These expos are colossal. Imagine navigating countless halls, each bursting with booths and activities. 

Unwary participants often fall into the trap of scheduling back-to-back meetings across different halls, underestimating the sheer size and travel time involved.

Don’t underestimate logistics.

Even moving between nearby halls can eat up precious minutes, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the layout—factor in unexpected detours, crowds, and the time it takes to locate specific booths.

Planning is your best friend. Avoid the meeting mayhem:

  • Map it out: Download the event map and meticulously plot your meeting locations. Factor in walking time between halls and the potential for delays.
  • Space it out: Resist the urge to cram meetings together. Leave ample buffer time for travel and unforeseen roadblocks.
  • Prioritise strategically: Schedule top-priority meetings closest together if possible. Consider alternative locations within halls for efficient movement.

Remember, strategic planning and realistic scheduling are crucial for smooth sailing at massive gaming events. 

Don’t let logistical hurdles turn your well-laid plans into a frustrating maze.

Be mindful of the expo’s scale, plan proactively, and prioritise efficient use of your time to ensure a productive and successful event experience.

Preparation is Key: Conquer Interviews with Crystal Clarity

Never underestimate the power of preparation. As the 7 Ps saying goes, “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance,” and for media interactions, this rings especially true.

Craft a compelling demo script (for game developers)

Maximise your time and showcase your game’s strengths by creating a structured demo script.

Highlight unique selling points and anticipate potential questions from journalists familiar with your competition.

This script ensures consistency across multiple demos, whether presented by different team members or during live-streamed “let’s play” sessions.

Research the journalist

Conduct thorough research on what the journalist likes, what they have written about and what they have said about other games/companies. 

This is especially relevant for B2B situations where they ‘may’ ask hostile questions depending on what your company is (see below!)

Prepare for Anything

Anticipate the Conversation. Develop a comprehensive FAQ covering frequently asked questions, including potential negatives.

This demonstrates professionalism and readiness. Remember, confidentiality is paramount.

Avoid sensitive topics and politely offer to follow up with details later if unsure.

Become a Media Liaison

Secure Contact Information/ Obtain the journalist’s contact information before each meeting.

This allows for follow-up, confirmations, and even assistance navigating the event, as detailed in our “During the Show” section.

By investing in preparation, remaining proactive, and demonstrating professionalism, you can transform media interactions at gaming events from potential pitfalls into valuable opportunities for promoting your game and securing positive coverage.

Create an event-specific press kit

 Forget outdated press kits that fail to showcase your game’s latest evolution. 

At upcoming gaming events, grab media attention with a dynamic, event-specific press kit tailored to make a lasting impression.

Freshness is Key

Journalists are bombarded with generic press kits.

Stand out by highlighting your game’s most recent features, updates, and achievements directly relevant to the event.

Include details about your on-site presence, like demos, presentations, or exciting announcements.

Map it Out

If you have a booth, then guide media to your location by incorporating a clear map with your booth prominently highlighted.

This information, crucial for navigating the event, won’t be found in your existing kit.

Personalise Your Message

Research participating journalists and media outlets to tailor your kit with information pertinent to their interests.

Go beyond screenshots by captivating them with eye-catching gameplay footage, concept art, and character bios.

Spotlight Your Success

Showcase any recent recognition or achievements your game has received.

Offer exclusive content like developer interviews, behind-the-scenes insights, or sneak peeks at upcoming developments to further spark interest.

Make it Accessible

Provide the press kit in multiple formats (digital download, email link, physical copies) for journalists’ convenience. 

Remember, this is your opportunity to showcase your game’s evolution, engage media interest, and drive traffic to your booth.

Invest the time crafting a compelling and informative kit to maximise your impact at gaming events.

Additional Tips:

  • Regularly update your existing press kit to reflect ongoing development.
  • Keep the size and format manageable for easy download and browsing.
  • Proofread meticulously for any errors or inconsistencies.

During the show 

Great – you’ve done your research and worked out where you will meet the media and when. Now comes the show itself. 

Seize the Spotlight: Mastering Social Media at Game Industry Trade Shows

The pulsating energy of a game industry trade show is undeniable. 

But how do you ensure your game or product shines amidst flashing lights, demos, and excited chatter? 

Enter the potent weapon of social media, your key to amplifying your presence and captivating players.

Pre-Show Anticipation:

  • Unleash a Captivating Teaser: Drop a tantalising video hinting at your reveal without divulging the whole story. Target ads strategically across relevant platforms, engaging gamers based on genre and platform preferences.
  • Countdown to Excitement: Build anticipation with a countdown post announcing your booth number and the thrilling activities planned. Encourage attendees to mark their calendars and prepare for an immersive experience.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses: Offer exclusive peeks into your development process. Share concept art, snippets of gameplay, or developer insights to pique curiosity and fuel anticipation. Host contests where fans can predict what’s coming, fostering community engagement.
  • Livestream Q&A: Foster a sense of connection by hosting a live Q&A session. Answer burning questions and tease upcoming announcements, directly engaging your audience and generating excitement.

In-Show Engagement:

  • Live the Experience: Go live from your booth, showcasing gameplay demos, insightful developer interviews, and engaging interactions with attendees. Encourage viewers to ask questions and utilise the event hashtag, creating a real-time buzz around your game.
  • Challenge the Community: Host interactive contests like photo challenges, trivia battles, hashtag hunts, awarding prizes and boosting awareness. This encourages booth interaction and fuels a spirit of friendly competition among attendees.
  • Collaborate with Influencers: Partner with relevant streamers, journalists, or content creators to reach their engaged audiences and promote your game. Offer exclusive access or gameplay sessions to maximise impact and broaden your reach.
  • Journalistic Spotlight: Conduct interviews with media representatives directly at your booth. Discuss your game, gain valuable exposure, and foster potential for insightful coverage.

Post-Show Amplification:

  • Express Sincere Gratitude: Show your appreciation to attendees with a heartfelt thank-you post. Share highlights from the event, remind them where to learn more about your game and keep the excitement alive.
  • Recap the Excitement: Compile captivating videos and photos showcasing the buzz around your game, interviews, and memorable moments from the event. These bite-sized recaps maintain momentum and attract new players drawn to the energy.
  • Celebrate Your Achievements: Share any award wins or positive media mentions, amplifying their reach through your social channels. Celebrate these victories with your community, acknowledging their support and solidifying your position in the industry.
  • Nurture the Conversation: Engage with attendees who interacted with you, answer questions, and invite them to join your online community for future updates. Building relationships and fostering a loyal fanbase is crucial for long-term success.

Remember:

  • Hashtag Mastery: Research and leverage popular event, brand-specific, and broader industry hashtags to maximise reach and get discovered.
  • Visual Allure: Invest in high-quality photos and videos that grab attention and capture the essence of your game and booth. Remember, visuals speak louder than words!
  • Be the Social Butterfly: Respond promptly to real-time comments and questions. Building genuine connections is like finding hidden health packs, crucial for survival in the competitive landscape.
  • Track Your Progress: Utilize social media analytics to understand what resonates with your audience and refine your strategy for future events. Just like mastering boss mechanics, analysing data helps you level up your approach.
Staffing Your Gaming Event Booth for Success: Roles and Responsibilities

Securing a booth at a gaming event presents an exciting opportunity for PR, but remember, success hinges on having the right team. Here’s why and how to define your roles:

Two is the Minimum

A single person can’t effectively manage booth duties independently with a packed schedule.

Lunch breaks, bathroom/toilet breaks, and unexpected issues could become logistical nightmares.

Sharing Demo/meeting Duties

Dividing demo responsibilities ensures coverage and allows each team member to take well-deserved breaks.

This freshens perspectives and prevents demos from becoming monotonous.

Expertise & Adaptability

Consider your team’s skill sets.

While showcasing your game or company is core, having a technically proficient member can troubleshoot crashes or hardware issues, preventing embarrassing downtime.

Remember, a smooth demo experience reflects professionalism.

Beyond Demos: Consider additional roles:

  • Lead Engagement: An outgoing individual can attract crowds, spark conversations, and answer general questions.
  • Media Liaison: If expecting media interactions, designate someone to manage interview requests and information sharing.
  • Data Collector: Track visitor information and feedback for valuable post-event analysis.

Remember:

  • Clear Communication: Clearly define each team member’s responsibilities and ensure everyone understands the objectives.
  • Practice & Preparation: Conduct practice demos, anticipate potential issues and have solutions readily available.
  • Collaboration is Key: Work together to adapt to situations, cover for each other, and maintain a positive, engaging presence.

By thoughtfully defining roles and leveraging your team’s strengths, you can transform your gaming event booth into a hub of successful demos, insightful interactions, and valuable PR opportunities.

Have some seating at your stand (if you can)

While staffing plays a crucial role in booth success, don’t overlook the importance of creating a welcoming and comfortable environment for yourselves and visitors, especially the media.

Here’s why seating and refreshments matter:

Consider a Seating Area

If space allows, adding a table and chairs provides a valuable resting point for your team and potentially for weary journalists or attendees.

This encourages longer, more in-depth conversations and demonstrates thoughtfulness.

Offer Refreshments

Having bottled water, soft drinks, or light snacks readily available creates a positive impression and shows hospitality.

This is especially helpful for accommodating thirsty journalists juggling multiple meetings throughout the day.

Remember:

  • Accessibility: Choose seating and refreshment options that cater to diverse needs.  Consider dietary restrictions and allergies when offering snacks.
  • Branding Consistency: Incorporate your brand visuals or colours into seating and refreshment accessories for a cohesive look.
  • Hygiene: Keep your area clean and restock refreshments regularly.
  • Professionalism: Avoid having excessive personal belongings or food cluttering the booth space.

Creating a comfortable and hospitable environment encourages longer interactions, fosters positive connections, and ultimately enhances your overall success at the gaming event.

Additional Tips:

  • Offer branded water bottles or tote bags as giveaways to extend your brand reach further.
  • Consider incorporating charging stations for mobile devices as a valuable service.

Remember, every detail plays a role in creating a positive and memorable experience for visitors to your gaming event booth.

Captivate Media with Meaningful Giveaways at Your Gaming Event Booth

While giveaways attract attention, offering generic swag won’t make a lasting impression on busy journalists. 

Let’s explore how to elevate your giveaway strategy.

Consider the environment

It’s crucial to emphasise that in recent times, merchandise and giveaways have faced some level of scepticism owing to environmental concerns. 

Nobody wants cheap items that will end up in a landfill. 

While offering a mobile phone battery charger as a gift may have been acceptable in the past, it’s essential to be mindful of eco-friendliness and consider sustainable gifts that promote environmental positivity.

Focus on Value, Not Volume

Prioritize quality over quantity. Instead of mass-produced items, consider:

  • Limited-edition merchandise: Exclusively designed T-shirts, pins, or keychains create a sense of rarity and desirability.
  • Exclusive beta access: Offering early access to your game generates excitement and fosters a closer relationship with journalists.
  • Signed art prints or developer memorabilia: Personalized items from the team add a unique touch and demonstrate appreciation.

Keep it Practical

Remember, journalists navigate crowded event floors. Opt for portable giveaways like compact bags, phone stands, or foldable water bottles and remember the sustainability angle.

Always Include Game Access

Never forget the key: provide complimentary digital or physical copies of your game.

This allows journalists to experience it firsthand and potentially write more informed reviews.

Additional Tips:

  • Align giveaways with your game’s theme or genre for greater relevance and memorability.
  • Set clear giveaway parameters: Communicate limitations or requirements to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Track giveaway effectiveness: Monitor responses and engagement to measure their impact.
  • Go beyond physical items: Offer exclusive interviews, Q&A sessions, or behind-the-scenes insights as unique takeaways.

Remember, meaningful giveaways are powerful tools for building relationships, generating buzz, and securing valuable media coverage for your game at trade shows.

Capture Every Detail: Mastering Media Interactions at Gaming Events

Forget relying solely on memory during media interactions at gaming events. 

Meticulous note-taking is your key to success, ensuring you can answer questions on the spot and handle follow-up inquiries effectively.

Become a Note-Taking Ninja:

  • Pen and paper: Embrace low-tech reliability. Ditch the glare and distractions of digital note-taking and opt for a familiar pen and notebook.
  • Develop your shorthand: Create your system of abbreviations or symbols to capture information quickly and accurately, focusing on key points, questions, and follow-up needs.
  • Prioritise and organise: Listen actively, identifying core details like specific questions, areas of interest, and desired follow-up information. Structure your notes with headings, bullet points, and timestamps for easy reference later.

Beyond the Basics:

  • Voice recordings (with permission): In noisy environments, consider seeking the journalist’s consent to record the interaction for later review, especially for detailed technical discussions. Remember, always obtain permission before recording.
  • Technology strategically: Consider transferring your notes to a digital format for easier organisation and search functionality after the interaction. Some great, free AI tools, such as Otter AI can turn your voice notes into written notes. 

Follow-up is Key:

  • Prompt responses: Be efficient and thorough when addressing follow-up requests, aiming to respond within 24 hours.
  • Honesty is critical: Don’t overpromise. If you can’t answer definitively, acknowledge the inquiry and offer to research or connect them with someone who can help.
  • Go the extra mile: Share additional information, relevant assets, or exclusive insights based on your discussion.

By taking detailed notes, utilising technology thoughtfully, and prioritising prompt and insightful follow-up, you can foster strong relationships with the media, generating positive coverage and maximising the impact of your media interactions at gaming events.

Expect the unexpected

Even the most meticulous PR plan can encounter the unexpected at gaming events. 

Media surprise appearances with cameras or microphones shouldn’t spark panic. Editing is their ally, so minor stumbles can be smoothed out later.

Impromptu Recordings: More Opportunity Than Obstacle:

These unexpected recordings often hint at potential coverage on YouTube. See it as a bonus chance to connect with a broader audience. 

If you’re lucky enough to be forewarned, use the time to prepare and refine your talking points. But even without notice, stay calm and confident. 

Journalists appreciate genuine responses, so speak clearly and concisely, and don’t let minor stumbles faze you.

Preparation is Your Game Changer:

Anticipate potential questions by brainstorming likely inquiries and formulating clear, concise answers beforehand. 

Practice makes perfect, so rehearse your key messages and talking points to feel comfortable and confident under pressure.

Authenticity resonates with viewers, so stay true to your style and avoid scripted, robotic deliveries. 

Remember, while personality is essential, your main focus should be highlighting the game’s strengths and engaging features.

From Unexpected to Unforgettable:

By being prepared, adaptable, and engaging, you can transform unexpected media interactions into valuable opportunities to showcase your game and connect with new audiences at gaming events. 

Remember, embracing the unexpected and maintaining composure can turn a potential hurdle into a memorable and successful media encounter.

Don’t assume everyone speaks perfect English. 

The reality is that most of the media you encounter will speak excellent English (we mean those with English as a second language!) 

At gaming events, the global reach of the gaming industry presents both exciting opportunities and communication challenges. 

Language barriers can sometimes become hurdles, but fear not! 

With a few key strategies, you can effectively connect with journalists whose first language may not be English, fostering fruitful interactions and securing impactful media coverage.

Prioritise Clarity and Consideration:

Speak slowly and carefully, enunciating each word. Avoid rushing your speech and simplify your message by focusing on key points and avoiding overly complex sentences. 

Remember, jargon and idioms might not translate well, so stick to plain English.

Visuals Speak Volumes

Screenshots, gameplay footage, concept art, and even demos become your valuable allies. They visually reinforce your message and provide context that transcends language barriers. 

Consider preparing press kits or information sheets translated into the journalist’s native language, demonstrating inclusivity and effort.

Create a Welcoming Atmosphere

A warm greeting goes a long way! Acknowledge and appreciate their presence and willingness to connect. 

Be patient and understanding, allowing extra time for processing information and avoiding interruptions while they formulate questions. 

Actively listen and encourage clarification. If they need clarification on their understanding, paraphrase their words and invite them to rephrase or ask for further explanation.

Go the Extra Mile

Showcasing knowledge and respect goes a long way. 

Briefly research their work to adjust your communication accordingly.

 If resources allow, consider conducting interviews in English and their native language. 

Share translated press releases, additional assets, or contact information in their preferred language for future inquiries.

Remember: Building rapport and demonstrating respect for cultural differences is vital. By fostering clear communication and creating a welcoming environment, you can transform language barriers into bridges of understanding and secure valuable media coverage, regardless of language limitations.


Only post news (such as a press release) if you’ve got something extraordinary to say!

Forget the shotgun approach of bombarding journalists with press releases at events like GDC. It’s not the path to success and might even harm your efforts. Here’s why:

Reserve the fanfare for truly groundbreaking announcements

Think major game or product reveals, never-before-seen features, or exciting partnerships.

Minor updates or tweaks will likely get swallowed by the whirlwind of industry news.

Respect the pecking order

Smaller developers shouldn’t try to compete with industry giants head-on during peak news cycles.

Choose your announcement timing strategically to avoid getting buried under blockbuster reveals.

The post-event blitz is your golden window

Don’t overwhelm journalists during the chaotic event itself.

They often write their reports after the dust settles, so the week after GDC can be your prime PR opportunity.

Focus on quality over quantity

Don’t get caught up in the “more press releases is better” trap.

Instead, invest your energy into crafting impactful announcements that grab attention and resonate with journalists.

Remember, it’s not about just getting noticed; it’s about generating meaningful coverage. 

By understanding the event landscape and respecting journalist workflow, you can ensure your announcements don’t get lost in the noise and truly connect with your target audience.

Here are some extra tips to help you stand out:

  • Find your niche: Target smaller publications focused on your genre or smaller developers where your news can shine.
  • Master social media: Use platforms strategically to build anticipation and share key announcements during the event, directing interested journalists to your post-event press release.
  • Exclusive content is critical: Offer compelling visuals, gameplay footage, or interviews alongside your press release to make it stand out and provide value to journalists.

By prioritising impactful announcements, strategically timing your outreach, and tailoring your content to specific audiences, you can turn the crowded event landscape into a fertile ground for successful PR and ensure your game gets the attention it deserves.


Join the parties

Many games industry events boast vibrant party scenes, buzzing with the potential for valuable networking.

But for many, the thought of navigating loud music and crowded spaces can be daunting.

Fear not! By shifting your focus and prioritising thoughtful interaction, you can transform the party scene from a sensory overload into a fertile ground for meaningful connections.

Seek Quality, Not Just Volume

Networking isn’t just about shouting over bass lines.

Explore quieter gatherings or events focused on your specific interests. 

Don’t feel pressured to attend every party; research beforehand and identify those likely to attract professionals aligned with your aspirations.

Prestige Isn’t Everything

While exclusive parties might hold a certain allure, remember that impactful connections can be made anywhere.

Choose events where you feel comfortable engaging in genuine conversations and building rapport, regardless of exclusivity.

Leverage Your Resources

Platform holders and media outlets often host parties attracting relevant contacts. Research who’s hosting and prioritise events that align with your target audience.

Use social media resources like #GDCPartylist on X to discover niche events and hidden gems that align with your goals.

Meaningful Conversations Are Key

Forget the pressure to attend everything.

Focus on creating quality interactions.

Choose events that offer a comfortable environment for genuine conversation and authentic connections.

Prepare conversation starters related to the industry, actively listen to others, and follow up afterwards to build on the connections you make.

Want to know the secret to being likeable? It’s all here and comes from a Harvard study.

By prioritising quality interactions and strategic event selection, you can transform the game event party scene from a noisy blur into a valuable platform for building meaningful connections and advancing your career goals.

Remember, it’s not about just being there. It’s about making connections that genuinely resonate.

Many events have people who kindly create spreadsheets of the events, such as this one for GDC  – TBH, google for a party list at your chosen event, and chances are that someone or multiple people will have curated these. 


From Indie Underdog to Eye-Catching Hero: Making Your Tiny Tradeshow Booth Shine

Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of a bustling games trade show with your humble indie booth? Don’t fret! Even with limited resources, you can transform your tiny space into a captivating magnet for players, media, and industry influencers. Here’s how:

Ditch the Brochure Boredom

Forget the generic table and banner setup. Inject personality and theme! Imagine vibrant splashes of colour, creative displays built from cardboard or recycled materials, or even props reflecting your game’s world.

Think character standees crafted from foam board, quirky furniture aligned with your aesthetic, or costumes you can wear to embody your game’s spirit.

Let Your Game Be the Star

Remember, it’s all about your game! Highlight it strategically.

Ensure demos are easily accessible, utilise eye-catching visuals like high-quality screens or interactive displays, and avoid walls of text in favour of showcasing gameplay in action.

Make Them Play, Not Just See

Encourage engagement with playable demos, even if they’re just short, focused experiences.

Consider mini-games that capture your core mechanics or even AR/VR demos if resources allow.

Capture the Perfect Shot

Create “Instagrammable” moments! Set up a branded backdrop with lighting for selfies, or craft a themed photo booth using cardboard and props.

Encourage attendees to share their experiences, leveraging user-generated content to amplify your reach.

Mini-Events, Mighty Impact

Schedule short demos, talks, or even trivia nights related to your game.

Build anticipation with social media teasers and incentivise attendance with exclusive rewards or behind-the-scenes glimpses.

Punching Above Your Weight: Amplifying Your Indie Presence at Game Trade Shows

Facing a crowded game trade show with a limited budget feels like a boss fight on hard mode.

Here’s how to leverage co-marketing and intelligent strategies to make your small booth a beacon of buzz and engagement:

Forge Powerful Partnerships

Don’t go it alone! Explore teaming up with other indie devs or even established companies.

Share resources, create a larger, more dynamic space, and cross-promote each other’s games to reach a wider audience.

This collaborative approach can turn individual voices into a chorus that resonates within the show, attracting more players and industry attention.

Unleash the Hidden Gems of the Show

Dig deep into your exhibition package.

Many shows offer hidden treasures like targeted email blasts to attendees or access to the PR team.

Don’t miss out! Leverage these services to get your game seen, especially if it’s free-to-play.

This can be a powerful way to amplify your reach before and during the show.

Become a Walking Brand Ambassador

Ditch the generic T-shirt!

What you wear is prime branding real estate, not a platform for movie quotes.

Design eye-catching shirts with memorable visuals or quotes from your game. It’s free PR every time you interact with someone.

Imagine walking advertisements attracting curious players and sparking conversations!

Engage and Captivate

Your booth space may be small, but your creativity shouldn’t be.

Run mini-tournaments or contests related to your game to draw crowds and generate buzz.

Offer exclusive rewards to keep players coming back for more.

Host Q&A sessions to share your development journey, insights, and passion for your game.

This personal touch fosters connections and builds interest beyond the physical limitations of your booth.


Beyond the Booth: Navigating the Game Trade Show Like a Pro

Your small booth at a game trade show might not scream massive presence, but your impact certainly doesn’t have to be limited by its size!

Remember, the entire show floor is your potential playground. Here’s how to maximise your exposure and connect with the industry beyond the confines of your display:

Network Like a Social Butterfly

Don’t just sell, network. Explore the show floor, mingle with familiar faces, strike up conversations with potential partners, and connect with journalists who might be looking for hidden gems.

Share your passion, build genuine connections, and remember, your network could become your future.

Seek Knowledge and Inspiration

Talks and panels aren’t just for spectators.

Absorb industry insights, learn from established developers, and discover emerging trends.

This knowledge can fuel your work, spark innovative ideas, and open doors to exciting collaborations.

Become a Media Magnet

Be prepared when opportunity knocks!

Keep concise press kits (see above) showcasing your game readily available and accessible contact information.

If resources allow, consider hosting a dedicated press event or mini-conference within the show.

This targeted approach can attract key media and influencers, maximising your exposure and generating buzz.

Embrace the Player Community

Show your love for the industry by exploring other exhibits, playing other games, and connecting with fellow developers.

Share feedback, build camaraderie, and learn from each other. Who knows, these connections might spark future collaborations or valuable insights.

Expand Your Reach Beyond the Booth

Think outside the four walls of your display!

Set up mini-gaming stations or demo pods outside your booth if space allows.

This attracts players, encourages word-of-mouth buzz, and enables you to interact with a broader audience.

Remember, the square footage of your booth doesn’t measure your impact.

By actively engaging with the show floor, building meaningful connections, and demonstrating your passion, you can transform your game trade show experience into a launchpad for success.

Don’t forget to leverage social media to extend your reach, share live updates, and showcase your game to the world beyond the physical event.


Post-Event

Beyond the Handshake: Nurturing Connections at Game Trade Shows

Your trade show journey doesn’t end when you leave. 

Following up with contacts you made is crucial to solidify connections and maximise the impact of your presence. Here’s how to do it right:

Strike While the Iron is Hot

Don’t let conversations fade into memory!

Ideally, send a personalised thank-you email within 24 hours of meeting a journalist, showcasing your attentiveness and genuine interest.

Fuel a Journalist’s Creativity

Remember those promised assets?

Deliver them promptly alongside your thank-you email.

Be it compelling screenshots, breathtaking artwork, or captivating video footage, provide resources that enhance a journalist or influencer’s understanding of your game and fuel their potential writing or coverage.

Offer Valuable Insights

Did your conversation spark additional thoughts or information not mentioned during your meeting? Share them in your follow-up!

This demonstrates your proactiveness and ability to provide ongoing value.

Go Beyond the Game

If appropriate, follow established journalists and influencers on social media and engage with their industry-related posts.

This keeps your name present and allows you to contribute insightful comments, further building rapport.

The Key to Their Heart (and Review Queue)

If relevant, offer a complimentary key for review or early access to your game.

This lets them experience your creation firsthand, potentially leading to more in-depth or positive coverage.

Respect Their Post-Show Blitz

Remember, journalists are bombarded with post-event work.

Be patient and understanding if their response takes some time. However, a gentle reminder email is acceptable if you haven’t heard back within a few weeks.

Consistency is Key

Building relationships takes time and consistent effort.

Don’t just follow up after the show; consider sending periodic updates about your game’s development or sharing relevant industry news.

This keeps you top-of-mind and shows your continued commitment.

Set-up news alerts

You won’t always be informed of post-event coverage, so set up Google Alerts and our free service of choice, Talkwalker Alerts, and scan social media occasionally.


Measuring the ROI of Your Game Industry Trade Show PR

The vibrant energy of a game industry trade show can be intoxicating, but the real victory lies in translating that buzz into long-term success. 

To do that, you need to analyse the effectiveness of your PR efforts and measure your return on investment (ROI). Here are some key strategies:

Pre-Show

Before the doors open, track your website traffic.

Spikes aligning with pre-show press releases, influencer collaborations, or social media campaigns indicate your efforts to drive interest and direct potential players to your game.

Analyse social media engagement metrics like likes, shares, comments, and mentions across your channels.

Increased engagement signifies growing awareness and audience excitement.

Utilise media monitoring tools to quantify and qualify media coverage, assessing reach, sentiment, and placement in prominent publications.

During the show

Transform your booth into a data-driven hub.

Track booth visitors’ demo requests and gather valuable feedback through surveys or polls.

This data reveals the effectiveness of your booth design, marketing materials, and staff interactions in engaging attendees.

Capture leads through opt-in forms, business cards, or social media connections, measuring their quality by tracking their source and future conversion rate into players or sales.

Monitor social media mentions and sentiment surrounding your booth, game, and brand during the event.

Analyse the impact of live streams, contests, and influencer collaborations on online engagement, ensuring your message resonates beyond the physical space.

After the show

The trade show may be over, but the music doesn’t stop.

Continue tracking website traffic, paying close attention to post-show trends and potential sustained interest generated by media coverage or influencer promotions.

Analyse conversions (e.g., pre-orders, sign-ups) to understand the direct impact on sales and the effectiveness of your post-show efforts.

Measure the long-term impact of media coverage by monitoring further articles or features, and assess if your interactions translate into future collaborations or positive endorsements.

Beyond the Numbers

Quantitative data paints a vital picture, but don’t overlook the power of qualitative insights.

Conduct surveys or focus groups to assess brand perception and awareness changes following the trade show.

Did your PR efforts successfully communicate your brand message and resonate with your target audience?

After the event, analyse the growth and engagement of your online communities (forums, social media groups).

Did the trade show help you connect and build relationships with players, fostering a loyal fanbase?

Calculate the potential advertising cost of your game’s media coverage to estimate its earned media value, demonstrating the value gained from press releases and influencer partnerships.

There are some awesome free tools to measure media impact. We’re big fans of the free Coverage Impact tool from Coveragebook.

For a basic ROI calculation, compare your trade show PR efforts’ total cost to measurable outcomes, such as website traffic increase, lead generation, and sales conversions. Use Free Google Analytics to do this for your website. Track your leads using free CRM tools such as Hubspot’s.

However, remember that your trade show’s impact extends beyond immediate sales. When assessing ROI, factor in the long-term value of positive media coverage, influencer partnerships, and community engagement.


Some parting words

This extensive guide has now equipped you with a multitude of valuable strategies to enhance your PR efforts at any game trade show. 

Remember, meticulous preparation is crucial in navigating these events effectively. While their size can be daunting, these tips will help you secure valuable meetings, generate positive interest, and garner impactful coverage for your studio company, game or product.

The journey doesn’t end here. 

Actively seek feedback from industry peers, cultivate meaningful connections, and analyse your results to refine your approach for future events. 

Collaboration and connections are vital in our industry. Leverage them to elevate your PR strategy to new levels.

Good luck, and see you at the show!