Episode 16 – Elevating Your PR Pitch: Insider Secrets On Successfully Pitching To Games Media

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Episode Summary

In the latest episode of the Games PR Podcast, we dive into the fascinating world of all things pitching. With insights from our host Jack, and BGM’s pitching superstars, Tom, Luke, and Keaiana, this episode is packed with actionable strategies and expert advice for anyone looking to master the art of B2B and consumer media pitching.

The episode starts with an insightful discussion about the power of effective pitching. Understanding the industry and being relevant when pitching is crucial. Equally important is the ability to explain complex topics in an approachable and understandable way, without relying on the use of tiresome jargon. The team also discusses identifying different media groups for pitching and creating an effective strategy tailored to your product or game.

Next, we explore the different ways to approach a successful pitching process and the importance of understanding the message you’re presenting to the media. The team discuss the balance between self-promotional messaging and adding value to the conversation, alongside the challenge of positioning and articulating a message that will capture the interest of journalists in a saturated space. The importance of being friendly and personable when speaking to people is also really important, and demonstrating that these attributes can significantly influence your pitching efforts.

Understanding a client’s needs is another key topic discussed in the episode. The importance of comprehending what a client wants and how it can inform our approach to pitching and writing press releases is explored. Client interactions can provide valuable insights into their brand, business, and goals, which can be incorporated into our voice to create a successful product launch.

We then delve into the world of SEO and the significance of creating an effective subject line for a pitch. The team discuss how connecting a game to a popular topic can give editors a reason to cover a game, particularly for indie titles, as it provides them with SEO value, strengthening the chances of coverage.

The episode wraps up with a discussion about pitching strategies and tips. The importance of having an authentic voice, trying different methods, and not fixating on minor details is highlighted.

Whether you’re a novice or a pitching pro, this episode of The Games PR Podcast is a must-listen. It’s packed with actionable insights and tips that will help you take your B2B pitching game to the next level.

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Great advice for pitching your game to the media and influencers

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Intro 00:04

Welcome to the Games PR Podcast, your regular dose of video game PR goodness. Sit down, relax as our team of experts and special guests share tips and tricks to help you level up your PR game with media and influencers.

Jack 00:22

You are listening to the Games PR Podcast, and we welcome you into this episode, all about pitching. Whether you are a rookie or a Major League veteran, grab a Gatorade, other sports drinks are available, and take a break while we open up the playbook and talk all about pitching. From hyping up a game release to consumer media to unveiling a brand partnership, pitching is essential to the PR and marketing mix. So I am happy to be joined today by some pitching superstars here at Big Games Machine in the form of Tom, Luke and Keaiana to head out onto the mound in the great podcast ballpark. Hello everyone, are there any baseball fans among us, or have I thrown in a curveball with all the references?

Tom 01:01

I know nothing about baseball, I know cricket, the superior version of a ball and bat based sport.

Luke 01:12

Yeah, I’ve got no time on my hands to watch baseball. To be fair, spending four hours in the park just watching people throw a ball at someone. That’s not for me.

Keaiana 01:21

Says the man who loves watching people kick a ball at each other

Tom 01:25

That’s entirely different. That’s entirely different.

Luke 01:30

It’s not over like four hours, is it?

Keaiana 01:33

Yeah, true.

Jack 01:36

Well, baseball puns aside, I’m sure there might be a few more during this, as it’s all about pitching. But yes, hello Luke, hello Keaiana, you guys are across B2B, which we’ll kind of dive into a little bit later as we talk about B2C versus B2B and the different intricacies of what’s involved with both. So, hello, both. Welcome on for your pod debuts.

Luke 02:01

Yeah, thank you. Thank you for having us.

Jack 02:05

Excellent. Well, we got a lot to dive into today. Pitching. We’ve alluded to B2B. I think this question is going to be for you Keaiana. First off, what is B2B? And does B2B have to be boring? Because that is the perception of it.

Keaiana 02:23

B2B is basically business to business. So our main role, job and function is to show off our clients, what they offer, what they give, and hopefully get other people interested in them as well. I personally think it’s not boring. I think you have firstly, we’ve got really cool clients who do really cool things. You get to know the team, you get to know what they do, what tech they have, how they’re doing it, and I think it’s just really cool to find fun ways to kind of give them an interview opportunity or get them a piece of coverage in an outlet, something that’s like very, you know, relevant to the industry. And finding fun ways to kind of get that done and fun ways to like have a byline or something is really, It’s really creative in a way. So I don’t think it’s boring. I’m a bit defensive there. It’s not boring.

Tom 03:20

Do you think people just say it, people just hear the word business and then they’re just like falling asleep.

Keaiana 03:25

Yeah, I think it’s because people think it restricts you, and I also think people think that it becomes salesy. You’re trying to like get someone else to be a client of the client that you’re representing. So then it’s like, oh, come and buy this product or do this, and I really just don’t think it’s like that. I think it’s more creating awareness, and it’s a more subtle way of being like, how cool are these guys? And it’s like putting the message out there that you really want to work with them because they’re doing something really cool. So not salesy, not annoying, but just really fun.

Luke 04:01

I just want to add I think the difference between B2C and B2B is that we’re telling a story over a longer time, so obviously, B2C can be a shorter campaign, it can be fast hits, whereas B2B, you actually get into the personality and the people that actually make the business and I think that’s one thing that we’ve seen in our clients is that we’ve got to know them, we’ve got to know their industry, and we’re actually impacting and showing that we are in the industry. So that’s that for me, that’s what business to business is, building that long-term strategy, just so we can actually tell the story of the people that we are clients.

Jack 04:39

It’s interesting. Yeah, you bring up that longer story because for people who maybe haven’t done any B2B pitching before or thought about that in their strategy because they are from the classic… okay, here’s our game, we need to get it out there, and they haven’t realized actually maybe they need to be pitching for investment. Go listen to our investing episode for some more topics about that. Do you think that, because there are similarities, if people are comfortable having pitched to B2C media, they can still take some aspects from that and apply that to B2B? You know what works and doesn’t work, and maybe it’s good to use an example.

But for someone who might not know what, they might have to pitch. Something common you see in terms of B2B, maybe investment or like funding round, something you see a fair bit and go okay, this is a really easy way of explaining to someone what this story is, because from an outsider they might go investment sounds really scary. I need to add a lot of complicated language but I’m a game developer. I don’t know all this. How do I overcome that easily?

Luke 05:54

Well, I think relevancy is obviously the thing that we deal in. I think that is what we deal in,  being relevant and being up to date with industry ongoings. So say, for example, if they do have a funding announcement, where does that fit into the ecosystem of PR? Like, where does that fit into the media? And like, what types of media are you actually going to pitch to? We’ve all got to identify the different media groups, and I think having that relevancy and putting your story into the grand scheme of things is ultimately the main way to do it.

You said about like the jargon. I think a lot of jargon in B2B is not for us, so we go a different way. We try to keep things as simple as possible, just so the message doesn’t get sort of convoluted, and I think that’s an important lesson, and that was one of the biggest lessons I learned from coming into PR from university, for example. So I come in with all this jargon and all this spiel about all these big words, and I realised that the journalist isn’t going to actually pay attention to that.

They only want to know why it’s important or say, for example, like what are they going to do with that funding? And I think it’s adding to that story and developing that story and saying why, as opposed to just the general thing.

Jack 07:11

I’m glad you bring up the jargon point there because I think it is really important, regardless of the product or whether it’s B2B or B2C. But yeah, keeping it simple so you don’t get confused. Have there ever been times where you’ve sat down and you’ve looked at the kind of briefing you’ve got and been like there is no story here? Because that’s a risk, I feel some people might just want to put the product out there for the sake of it without there really being a story behind it. How do you get around that? Do you have to create a story out of nothing?

Luke 07:50

Yeah, I think that’s certainly an aspect of B2B, but there are always stories there, and obviously, our job is to develop that story. Whether that’s into a byline; obviously, a lot of companies do want to just do a product release when they’re not actually announcing anything. How do we make it so that there is actually something to announce? So, whether that’s, say, announcing AI, for example, everyone wants to do that. But what is the difference? What is that company going to bring to the table? And then we can obviously add that into either a media opportunity, a byline, or put them into a podcast, so they’re actually adding value to the conversation and not just shouting in their own echo chamber. So, like a lot of business-to-business, I’d say, naturally seems like it’s people just self-promotional and just adding nothing to the conversation, whereas our job is to weave that message in and actually show that.

Well, yeah, this announcement will mean this in the future. So I think we had a Web3 client where they’re on about democratising Web3, democratising gaming through Web3. Well, it’s a big statement to make. So let’s add the little product announcements along the journey, and I think that’s one thing that obviously I’ve alluded to already. It’s building that brand story, building up. This announcement might not mean anything singularly, but overall, over a longer period of time, it fits into the ecosystem, it fits into the conversation around what we want to actually announce.

Keaiana 09:26

I think that’s really important as well because with things like Web3 and AI, depending on your angle of doing it, some journalists will be like that’s played out, that’s done, Web3 is massively dying down as a topic at the moment. There are only a few niche people that are really kind of still super into it. That’s another bomb to avoid. You want to kind of position it and articulate it to be like ‘I know it’s over-saturated talking about AI right now, I know it is over-saturated talking about this and that, but this is why it’s relevant and this is why you need to pay attention to what we’re saying.’

Tom 10:02

Is that something that then also means that in some cases, you don’t just have, in terms of the media you’re approaching, it can sometimes be you go very specific with who you are contacting

That relevancy doesn’t just come through the product, it also comes with the people that you speak to, whereas I guess from our perspective, it’s a lot more… Obviously, we have different platforms and certain sites cover different platforms, but it’s a lot wider. You’re working with a much wider base, whereas so sometimes with how your pitching works, it’s very specific to maybe even like one or two outlets because that’s where the relevancy is.

Keaiana 10:40

That’s 100% it. So the press list part of it, I’ll be very honest, is like my least favourite part of it completely, just because it’s just, obviously, we use meltwater and things like that, but it’s really you have to do a lot of research to make sure that whoever you’re contacting is relevant and will be interested. And even then, you know, journalists are so busy, and they get so many stories that you have to be so specific and sometimes you don’t get it 100% right. It’s very much like trial and error, and sometimes the outlet that you might specifically want might not have that specific person that you also want to contact and get you in that niche. So yeah, you do have to be very targeted, and you do have to kind of have slim pickings depending on what you’re pitching out.

Jack 11:36

So being approachable, then, is obviously really key, and we’ve spoken about just needing to match it up to certain people, and we agree that’s something we see on B2C. So what are some key tips? If someone is gonna be B2B pitching for the first time, just really key things you think they should consider whether that’s a certain type of subject line, or just the way they present an email signature because there is a lot involved.

Keaiana 12:06

When I first joined BGM, I was so scared of pitching just because I was like, oh no, I don’t want people to ignore me. And Mat [Fellow BGMer] was like, don’t overthink it, like honestly, you’re fine. And he said, just think about it as if you’re talking to your friend in a pub and you’re telling them about what you’re doing at work, and you really want to make it sound interesting, and you really want to make it sound cool, and it’s kind of like a colloquial, like way more informal Conversation. I think that really helped me kind of set up how to approach it and how to pitch. So I was like, ‘Hi, sir, look, how are you doing today?’ Super formal. People aren’t gonna be interested in that.

So I think, being really friendly, but not too like, oh my god, I really really want your attention and time, but like, let the pitch speak for itself essentially.

Luke 12:52

I think I’m gonna go with a football analogy, but I think it’s like being a striker up front, where you’re gonna have all these opportunities. You know there’s the perfect time to shoot, but sometimes you do miss, but it’s having that resilience and that building of character to go, ‘Well, I was in the right position there, I was right to shoot, but it wasn’t the opportune time, so next time I’m gonna score.’ I think it’s having that sort of resilience.

Moving on from that then, in terms you said about the characteristics you need, I think being personable and actually speaking to people like people. We mentioned the jargon earlier. When you’re throwing all these complicated terms in and not actually speaking as you would normally, well, a lot of journalists are just going to rubbish it away and go. Actually, I’m not reading that, there are too many words, so I like to keep it short and actually to the point. And I think a lot of journalists actually appreciate that, because obviously, we know from our survey that a lot of people are under pressure, they haven’t got enough time, they’re underpaid, and obviously we need to keep it concise and actually show that this is the message we want to portray, are you interested effectively, and I think, keeping it short, sweet and personable, speaking to them like you are a person and there is another person on the other end.

With Gmail, obviously, we use Gmail and having a profile picture just to show that, well, look, there is someone on the other side. It’s not just this random thing or this random AI doing it, it’s actually us, and we’re actually people. I think in the generation of AI, that personability is becoming more important.

Jack 14:37

Yeah, I think, at least from our side, on consumer, everyone tends to have a certain style of pitching they find works for them, and it does benefit, obviously, having those relationships with journalists that they know to look out for your emails. But maybe, Tom, you can shed some insight on this aspect, because we’ve already mentioned Jargon before and there are similar things on consumer. We know the media know what to look out for. They can smell when someone says like ‘Revolutionary controls’, it’s probably not revolutionary.

Tom 15:09

The way I view it, and I think this applies across the board, however you pitch, I haven’t got any specifics in my mind, but I think you know, sometimes we all see a post on LinkedIn or an article and you read it, and you just think this is just a load of nonsense, like nothing’s being said here. It’s just a load of buzzwords that are aimed at you know the Like, this whole, this business mentality you know about the grind and blah, blah, blah, and I think for me, that just completely switches me off from stuff. I stop reading the actual message because I just focus on the silly words that are being used, and I think what you were saying, Luke, about being, you know, personable is really important. I think that the way you’ve both spoken, I think I’m definitely understanding that that excitement is really important when you’re pitching to people and that doesn’t come at the cost of professionalism and it is important to come across in a professional capacity. But it’s also important to you know, whether you are pitching something on the B2B side or you’ve got a game that you’re looking to get a journalist you know interested in. You have to let that excitement through, and I think the way that you do that is by you know being how you are.

Like Jack was saying, I think we all pitch in different ways. There are certain ways that I pitch, you know, styles of writing. Or you know we, we quite enjoy, sometimes metaphorically, letting our hair down and you know having, if we’ve got a game that’s all about space. You know we use lots of space puns, or or you know, if it’s got a really strong theme, we play into that because I think you’ve got to keep things compact. But you also, you know, you can have a little bit of fun with it, and you try different things to try and stand out. But I think that the number one thing is really being, you know, we’re all people, and I think letting that come across and letting that, you know, belief in the product and the belief in the game come across is super important.

You don’t want to be impersonal, and you don’t want it to be like, oh, we have this, this is what this does, because that’s just not, that’s not interesting. I don’t think that’s interesting. You know, when I was, when I was on the journalist side of things, that always, I just thought it’s just another pitch. For me, it’s like they’re trying to sell me something, but I’m not the person they need to sell it to. I’m the person who they want to play it to then tell people about it, which I think is a really big difference, and I think it’s the same for you guys. It’s just in a slightly different way.

Ultimately we are trying to help move a product or a game along, but the people we’re speaking to aren’t the people who are looking to buy it. They’re the people who were, who we want to work with, to collaborate with, to push this message forward, and I think that’s always in my mind. I’m not trying to sell this to you, I’m just trying to give you the idea of what’s going on, try and get you interested in it, so then you can invest the time, and then that’s they’re the people who are working with the consumers or the other businesses and in that kind of way. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I think it’s tricky, you know, it’s always, it’s different every time, but I think there are certain things which you can definitely push along to be successful. I think, yeah, be a person, actually communicate with people like a human. We do appreciate it. We appreciate it when it comes back to us. So that to me, is the number one rule.

Luke 18:57

One of the biggest things I’d like to say I’ve got a skill in is empathy like actually showing empathy towards the journalist, showing empathy towards the client and then showing empathy to the stakeholders. Obviously, in each announcement, in each pitch that we do, we’re trying to portray something. Well, what are we trying to get at? And I think it’s trying to fit all three there. This is the message that I’m trying to portray. How can I be empathetic to each party and actually put a pitch that will fund each party and will actually show that I actually care about them?

And I think, Tom, you mentioned the ideas part of it, that’s all pitching is. Developing ideas for clients and developing ideas for journalists, and I think that’s a skill that’s probably undervalued and appreciated, we’re selling ideas effectively and we’ve got to be curious, we’ve got to research our topics and actually understand where it fits into, I’ve mentioned ecosystem and I’m a little bit scared that it’s going to go into jargon, sorry, but yeah, we do fit into the ecosystem and where we actually contribute to the conversation.

Jack 20:10

An obvious question here, but how important is it that you understand the project that you are pitching? Because there might be all the official text, the selling points you have to get across, but then if somebody comes back with a specific question, you obviously need to be in a point of expertise to answer that.

Keaiana 20:36

It’s important to completely understand what the purpose of the pitch is because then that conveys your confidence when you’re writing it, and when you’re speaking about it. So when they do come back, you can confidently just reply and sound assertive, because then it’s like okay, well, you sound sure about it. So that makes me want to be sure about it. If you have that little bit of hesitance, then they’re going to be like, I don’t know if it’s worth it.

Tom 21:07

I think that part of that confidence also comes from the understanding of what the client wants. I can think from our side of things that we’ll sit down, we’ll get a chance to play the game, look at the written materials around it and really get that understanding of the way our clients want to present it, and then that informs us how we pitch, how we write the press releases, because ultimately I’m not representing my own interests, I’m not representing my own opinions. I’m trying to help our client get their perception of things across, and I can imagine that’s the same on the other side of things. And it is that I think, having that understanding and especially if it’s something you’re working on that’s your own product, well that’s great because I’d like to hope you have that understanding of what you’re doing, of what your own thing is. But I think in every way, make sure that you have that understanding of not only how you perceive the product or the game, but also the way the client sees it, because then that can inform you along the whole way. And it’s like what you were saying before, Keaiana, about having that knowledge to be able to then go back to people.

If you do that, you can have the confidence in yourself. You won’t be second-guessing yourself because you know the product inside and out. You know what your client wants. You know the story that they want to tell. You know what the message is. So doing that homework is so important. 

Keaiana 22:47

I think that’s why I love client calls so much, because I love that face time with the client, and I love figuring out what they’re like and how they speak about their brand, their business, what’s going on, because then you get an idea of how they want it to be presented and what their overall vibe is, and then you can feed that through a little bit and give it some of their personality as well. We’re individuals pitching and understanding and believing and putting it forward, and so it’s very individual, essentially because that’s your voice and what you’re carrying on. But when you like you said, understanding what the client wants and things like that, you can incorporate that into it as well, so they get more of an idea of what you’re also talking about and who you’re talking about.

Luke 23:46

And I’m going to use a niche reference here, but I think we’re the water carriers of businesses. So Didier Deschamps, he was always known as being the water carrier, so he was never, you wouldn’t think of him, when you come to France 98, as the most important player of the team, but he’s the one that kept things ticking over. A more recent example is someone like Busquets, he is the brain in there, and he’s carrying that message. He’s the one that sets the tempo, he’s the one that sets that standard, and I think that’s what we do as PRs. And sorry to be very specific, but yeah, that’s how I’m going to do it.

Tom 24:25

I’ll be a coffee carrier. Can I be a coffee carrier? Instead, I’ll be the coffee carrier bringing the coffee in.

Jack 24:32

It’s an excellent point I wanted to raise, playing devil’s advocate here. If somebody is thinking, well, it’s my product, of course I know it inside and out, why do I need to hire someone else in order to tell the story of my product? I think you’ve touched on some points there. It’s the time involved, it’s the relationships with the journalists, and it’s being able to distil those points and tell that story in a more streamlined way because we see it from the consumer side especially.

Somebody might never have been able to play test their game. They are the only ones who’ve been able to give feedback on their own game. Of course, they’re going to think their game is the best thing, and then it can be a real eye-opener when the media take a look and go, well actually, I’m not seeing any of these points, and so having a PR strategy in place regardless if you could still do it yourself, but just having some other people get some eyes on it to help you tell that story just may open up some different angles you didn’t see before. I’m sure, like you said, with those client face-to-faces, there have been times where you have actually gone, there’s an angle here, have you thought of that? Because creativity is one of the best things to come out of PR when you can do it.

Luke 25:48

We’re always consuming the news. We’re always consuming what’s happening and how journalists cover things. Obviously, we’re across a wide scope of publication, so when we see, when we’re speaking to clients, we’re actually going. Well, that would be a perfect fit here if we could just develop a story and actually add facts and figures, and we could add to that, and I think we’ve got that breadth of knowledge, and that’s why I think that’s why it’s so important just to have that face time and actually to understand what they want and what the journalists want, and we’re just literally just a matchmaker in between.

Keaiana 26:24

And I love it when the clients are excited and open to what you have to say as well. I don’t like it when, obviously, the client knows best, full stop, so sometimes you feel like feeding through ideas or information, and they’re just a little bit resistant or reluctant. I think on our side, that could be a little bit frustrating because, even if you don’t think that our idea is amazing, having that conversation and our clients are super open and super excited, and we are able to bounce ideas off each other. Since I joined PR, though, I am surprised sometimes that some clients I feel like don’t really know what we do.

Tom 27:17

That’s why these podcasts exist. This is what we do. Look, Listen to what we say. This is what we actually do.

Keaiana 27:29

I love it when they’re just really open, and they trust us. That’s it. They trust us to do what they want us to do. I feel like it makes the process so much easier, and it enables you to put way more oomph into your pitch and into what you’re doing, because it’s like you’ve worked together to tailor this idea, and you’re both excited about it and you want to just get the best results really.

Tom 27:57

That’s why pitching is so important.

If you’ve got a triangle, if every client is like a triangle, the pitching is often that thing right at the top. All the planning and the conversations and the brainstorming and all these ideas come together, and they end with that pitch, and then that’s the point where that’s like the first contact between humans and aliens. This is the moment, you know. That’s the moment that that’s the exciting bit, and it is exciting. Even though it’s been like two years now, I always get nervous when we’re doing pitching because it’s like it’s this really important moment.

But then I guess there’s definitely, you know, there’s what you were saying before, Luke, about us being in that position of keeping track of things. We have a really good newsletter that, every day, is a compact way for us to see all the bits that are going on. We’ll have a link to that in the description of the podcast. Go and have a look at the newsletter. It’s very good not to shill the newsletter.

But the point I was gonna make was that you know, we all, no matter which side of the business we’re on, no matter what we’re focusing on at certain times, we like to keep ourselves very in tune with everything that’s going on, and that is something that informs the pitch, informs, you know, from, from our perspective, when we’re pitching something out, it’s often, you know, a smaller product and we’re trying to get those eyes on it. So it can be a case that we’ll use the subject line to look at something that’s really relevant at the moment. If there’s a particular game that’s trending, it might be something new. It might be something old, that all of a sudden has had an explosion in popularity, but we’ll use those opportunities and we use that knowledge that we have, to then try and push in our instance, the game forward, and that can. That’s often an SEO play.

The current state of consumer games journalism is that it is very SEO-focused. So in our heads, when we’re pitching, when we’re writing press releases, when we’re writing subject lines or looking to place interviews or anything like that, one of the most important focuses in our mind is, if we’re speaking to an editor, you know a guides writer, a journalist, you know an interviewer. What can we do to make this a more SEO-friendly package? And that’s something that goes against a lot of things that I, the anti-SEO model, but it’s the reality, and that’s something that we 100% lean into because it’s effective, and it can often be saying, you know, oh, this game and this game are quite similar to this that we’re presenting to you now, and that’s something that then an editor might be scrolling through the hundred and two hundred emails that they get every day, and they say, oh, that’s interesting, because we know that’s a popular one, we know that our Readers like that content about that game, so let’s see what it is.

I think it’s that knowledge that we bring to the table which can sometimes push things over the line. It’s, you know, it’s always, it’s tricky, but it’s one of those ways that we try to do that.

Keaiana 31:36

How do you feel about Subject lines? Because you mentioned it a few times. They are important, but, like, getting in the right one is just such a headache, so how do you feel about it?

Jack 31:51

On B2C, at least we’ve heard from journalists at larger publications go, can you include a relevant topic or trending game in that subject line. That helps contextualize it for them, and because SEO is a massive driver, it means that it gives them a kind of excuse to cover the game, especially for indie titles. It’s a struggle, and they are taking a risk on an unknown title at the point. So if we can link it to a trending game, then that just helps the media. Okay, I can cover that, include that game in there, and give it some SEO value. It could be tricky, the niche of the game , the more Stretched and vague you have to make the connections, but it’s good fun and I think it again shows the value we offer clients in that they can absolutely develop a game, probably way better than I could, but it’s then my job in order to tell that story to journalists and and go, okay, if you want to talk about this style of game, this is how we can make it relevant to FIFA when that releases in a couple weeks that kind of thing. So for us, subject lines are contextual, they’re not too long, but sometimes if you go really wacky with it, it might need to be quite long.

One of my favourite ones I did a pitch as a whole was a sci-fi game set in space. I go, okay, there’s loads of these. There are gonna be too many games that I can link it to how do I make this stand out further? And so it was okay.

I’ve done my research I know the journalist is a massive Red Velvet fan [K-pop group], as am I, so I was like right, I can guarantee they’re not getting any pitches like this this week. This is how I’m gonna stand out. I did our whole pitch on the game using song titles, to craft the pitch. That was my connection, not to a game but to a different topic that I knew the journalist was into. The journalist loved it. They went out of their way to reply with a similar structured email. It doesn’t mean you should be crafting a pitch based only on the journalist’s music preferences, even if they do have amazing taste and stan Red Velvet. It’s just, to be natural. Take it slow, don’t be dumb dumb. I’ve done it again with the references… But that’s an easy way of that. It could have just been a context line of a K-pop pitch below something like that, and then just something different that they’re seeing stand out compared to everything else In their inbox.

So long and short of it is we can have fun and we can be wacky within reason.

Luke 34:44

I think that a topic that we haven’t really touched on yet is personalisation. I think that is a big part of PR, and it obviously is a trending topic at the moment. I just don’t see why you wouldn’t take your time just to develop the pitch and make it person-centric. Journalists know, and they can see a copy and paste from an absolute mile away. So just make sure to just take that time. It might be an extra five minutes, it might be an extra 20, but just knowing that, right, this is the perfect fit, this is the perfect match for what I want to say. And look just small details, like just saying their name, and like you said about the interests, it’s great if you know that.

But say, if we don’t have any information from social media. Just have a look. What’s their background? What do they actually cover on a day-to-day basis? Take that time, research, and actually personalise because ultimately, we’ve seen much, much better results because that’s, in my opinion, the only way to do it, and mass pitching is just it’s an outdated tactic. It just doesn’t work anymore in my opinion.

Keaiana 35:51

I think it also shows that, like, you’ve taken the time to get to know who they are, what they’re doing and what they’re writing about, they’re obviously gonna be more interested and passionate in what they’re writing about. And there’s also like, we all have an ego like there’s a part of that as well. You know, it kind of plays into theirs slightly, I like to reference their articles that are relevant to whatever I’m pitching. I’d be like love how you spoke about X, Y and Z, like this is also something we can carry through for, like this person.

When I first came here, I didn’t want to personalise it, so I didn’t want to overstep a line, maybe, or be too buddy, buddy. And they’d be like, oh my god, who is this girl, do you know what I mean? But it really does pay off. Luke, you’ve definitely sat down and spoken to me about it. Mat again has been so spot-on, and so has Charlie, just to really figure out how to personalise it but make it as natural as possible. If you can’t find that common link or thread, then just don’t don’t force it. But if you can, and you do your research and know it’s completely relevant, smash it out, try and make them pay attention.

Tom 37:17

I 100% agree. I think that, you know there is a degree of what you were saying everyone loves being told about the good stuff that they’ve done, and sometimes, when I’m pitching to people, I’ll do that, and it’s because it’s people whose content I generally do enjoy, whether it’s a podcast, the way they write articles or the things that they talk about, and or if it’s just stuff that I am also interested in. I think you’d be wrong not to make use of that, and I think I think you’d be silly not to, because it’s like you’re saying, that’s that link right there that you can make Iinstantly, and I don’t, you don’t have to think about it from like a cold business point of view. I just think there are people whom I email, who I genuinely enjoy speaking to, and whether that’s saying, ‘I just listened to the latest episode of your podcast, really good again, I really enjoyed it,’ it helps,, but it’s also just another way to continue to build those relationships and don’t be afraid to do that. You know there’s nothing wrong. We’re allowed to from a PR perspective, I think we’re allowed to enjoy people’s coverage of things or content. You know, there’s no shame in that, and I don’t think it has to have this like kind of untoward, like Disney villain-esque Plot to it, ‘Oh I’m just using this as a way to get get some coverage,’ because I think, again, that’s just about being human.

In any other capacity, if someone was doing something good, or someone wrote a really good book, and you liked it. If you saw them, met them, or had the chance to email them, you wouldn’t be like, Oh, I’m not gonna mention this; I really love this person’s book. I won’t mention this because it would be rude to do so. Or it would be wrong, like it. I think, no, go for it. I cannot imagine someone coming back and being like, please don’t tell me that you like my writing. Please don’t, don’t say that. Let’s just keep things professional.

Keaiana 39:29

I think that’s really important what you said for relationships, after you get what you want as well essentially, that is not a good way to phrase that, but after maybe you get the coverage or you get the pickup, I love like going back to say thank you, like and just being like, oh, because it’s like I don’t actually need anything from you, but I’m very happy that you did that for me and I want you to kind of know that I do appreciate your time and the fact that you picked it up and were interested in it and I also aim to just build that relationship and you know kind of, so I can go back to them in the future. My favourite journalists are the ones that are super standoffish, and they’re like yeah, no, or their happy mode is like saying thank you or something. I love those tough cookies to crack.

It makes me feel really good when they’ve been cracked. You know what I always get nervous about? I love an exclamation mark. I absolutely love an exclamation mark, I think sometimes I might come off as a little bit too keen, but that’s genuinely just like how I just like to you know, type whatever I’m thinking. So, yeah, I always worry about that, just a little irrelevant point.

Tom 40:48

I think I think that is relevant, though, because I think it comes back to what this whole episode has been about, helping people figure out how to pitch. If this is something that you’re only just starting to do for the first time, whoever it is that you’re speaking to, whoever you’re focusing on more consumer media or more business media, I think that you know, don’t be afraid to have your own style. Definitely make sure that you know, I hope that you can take lots of advice from this podcast. You know there’s other content on the site that also goes into pitching. But just get a good idea of good practices. But don’t be afraid to try things and make mistakes.

I think sometimes you know what I’m pitching, I can look back at older pitches now and think, wow, that was not a good pitch, but that’s because I’ve learned. I’ve learned how to be better at doing it, and that’s natural. If you look at things you did two years ago, no matter what, you’re probably better at them now if you keep doing them than you were. So I think it’s important you know not to fixate on the small things. Just make sure that you’re doing the important things right, and you know, like some of the things we’ve touched on, the idea of you know, having that authentic voice, whether that’s if you’re working on your own product, making sure that you’re getting the voice of your product over to people, the voice of your game.That’s the really important thing.

There are different ways to do that; don’t be afraid to try different ways. I mean, when we’re doing a campaign, and we’re emailing people, we’re pitching before embargos, we’re pitching when the embargos lift, we’re following up after. It doesn’t matter who we’re speaking to, sometimes even in the same phase of a set of follow-ups.

I’ll try different subject lines. I’ll try different styles of pitching to people because I think you can always learn from those things. You can try different things, don’t have that kind of cookie-cutter approach either of just you know, this is how you know, very robotic, this is how I’m supposed to pitch. I will not try anything else. You know, have fun with it. But yes, you’re gonna make mistakes. I think using exclamation marks isn’t the worst thing in the world. What’s James’s rule? James has the rule of like don’t use two in a row. I think that’s James’s rule about exclamation marks.

Keaiana 43:36

I’ve definitely broken that rule multiple times. 

Tom 43:42

Don’t tell James. Redacted, redacted. I’ll cut this bit.

Keaiana 43:46

I feel like when I first started pitching, I Spent so much time fixating on the tiniest things, full of doubt, full of like no, no, no, no. But then I realised that BGM trust me to know what I’m doing. I should trust myself to know what I’m doing and to just, you know, read it through. If I’m really unsure, send it to someone in the team. Everyone’s super helpful. They’ll give me honest feedback and opinions and then shoot it out. But the best pitches that I’ve sent, I think, are the ones where I’ve been confident in myself. I know what I’m pitching, this is what we’re doing, going out with it, fire go.

Tom 44:29

Find a happy place to pitch in. One of the things Jack likes to work with is a weird playlist of war music, but there are people talking. That’s Jack’s happy place when he’s working, and it’s a happy place when he’s pitching.

This week we’ve been working on a press release and then pitches for a game that’s based in it’s to do with sort of kung fu, and it’s based in like ancient China, and it’s to do with like the idea of Wuxia, which history lesson time, Big History Machine. So Wuxia is a genre of fiction that’s about martial heroes, in China. So while we’ve been doing that, I’ve been listening to ancient Chinese music to really get me in that mind space and I find that helps me, and that might be weird to some people, but it’s about, you know, when it comes to actually writing it, find a way which you know, get into that mode of writing, get into that focus.

Keaiana 45:41

I’m just imagining you having a master Sifu voice like in your head.

Tom 45:50

Oh, just just guiding me

That helps me because it focuses me, I really like to when I’m pitching because I can be quite all over the place a lot of the time; when I’m pitching or when I’m writing my pitches and I’m emailing journalists, I really like to focus in on that, and if anyone wants to speak to me during that time, I don’t like it. I really want to just focus. You know, give me a couple of hours to really go in because that’s like the execution point. That’s the point where you know we’re in the we’re in the big leagues at that point. So I really like to go into my own space. But that works for me, but it’s what works for other people.

Jack 46:21

I’ve done a pitch before method acting like in character. For Halloween, I had an American D-Day, you know, saving Private Ryan-style uniform as the costume. And then we had a World War Two game, and I was like, right, let me put my costume on got the helmet on, get into character and start writing the pitch.

Keaiana 46:44

That is dedication. That is why you need the BGM.

Tom 46:49

We don’t have costumes for every pitch. Just to clarify, it is a treat if that comes out. If we have a football game, we put on a football shirt, you know, maybe go in your garden and pretend to score some goals like you’re a kid again.

Yeah, have fun. I think that’s the most when you’re pitching across all you know, no matter who you’re pitching to or what you know, it’s the same B2B. It’s not boring, it’s fun, you know.

Make sure you have fun, make sure that the pitch is, you know, has that excitement and the belief in what you’re pitching to people. Because if it doesn’t, if you sound boring in a pitch, how do you think that reflects on what you’re pitching? It sounds boring, it’s not exciting. Look at all the boring business jargon in that. How boring. I’m not clicking on the links to see what’s going on. I don’t care because it sounds boring. You know, you sell the product is by having that excitement in it. If you, if you don’t come across as excited, then as the journalist, I’m just gonna be like next because they have plenty of choice. You know, especially nowadays, there’s always something, there’s always something else.

Jack 48:14

We’re into the ninth innings here so we’re gonna have to start wrapping it up.

Thank you, Tom, Luke and Keaiana, for joining me on this episode. Definitely feel like we’ve learned a lot. We didn’t even get on to influencers. I think we’ll revisit that topic another time because pitching them is almost like a blend of B2B and B2C, so it’d be great to get some insight there. So, yeah, thank you for joining everyone who’s listening. Please give it a subscribe if you haven’t done so already, so you always have a ticket to the next game. You can find us @BiggamesMachine on Twitter or X, I guess at the minute, plus BiggamesMachinecom, which has our previous episodes and a load more content. Any final comments to wrap up? People, are there any fastballs to wrap this ending up?

Keaiana 48:58

Thanks for having me, and thanks for caring about what I’ve got to say! 

Tom 49:05

You two have been great; you’ve both proven that B2B is not boring, and that’s the most important thing of all, so it’s been fun to have you.

Jack 49:15

That would be a way to end the episode on a massive cliffhanger. That’s how we get listener retention, end it on a cliffhanger and then you have to listen to the next episode to find out what happens.

Keaiana 49:33

I was very nervous.

Luke 49:38

It’s also nice to speak to the B2C team, like just understanding, nice to always realise how many similarities we face, like we always feel there’s a massive difference. But again, we all just like fun, don’t we? We all just love fun.

Jack 49:59

We’re different, but we’re the same. Excellent. Well, there we go. I’ve wrapped up and done the plugs, so thank you all. I think we’ll end it there.


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