Opinion: A PR’s guide to E3

Caroline Miller, the boss of MCV Award winning PR agency Indigo Pearl, shares her advice on how developers and publishers can get the most out of E3

I’m one of those people who really enjoys E3. The thought of a week in sunny LA: seeing the latest games, meeting clients and hanging out with press… what’s not to like?

The majority of PR should be done before you leave the tarmac. Judges’ week in mid-May means a lot of coverage will be in the bag already. A senior journalist for a big gaming site told me that 80 per cent of E3 coverage will be written before the show starts. If you’re working for a big publisher, this is a great opportunity, if not you can still learn the upside of getting coverage in the bag ahead of the show.

Last year we had a relatively small new client which was announcing its first product during the Sony conference. We knew getting in front of the press post-conference would be hard, so we ensured we had five interviews in the bag with trusted outlets as soon as the embargo lifted. This strategy ensured they were really punching above their weight in terms of media share and didn’t get lost in the tsunami of information hitting the media.

As a well-connected PR ninja you have probably got your hands on the E3 media list but don’t rely on this; reach out to your own contacts and find out who will be there.

You should have a water-tight interview schedule before you get on the plane. Make sure you have your journalists’ mobile numbers, and find out whether they are using their UK mobiles, as a lot of press get a US sim. I’d always have this information in hard copy – you don’t want to rely on the erratic Wi-Fi.

You should also have all the collateral you need in order to follow up after interviews, such as artwork and factsheets. Write your: ‘Thanks for coming, glad you loved the game, here is a link to the assets, don’t hesitate to contact me’ email, prepared before you go.

And you know that water-tight interview schedule we talked about? Be prepared for it to change minute by minute as peoples’ meetings overrun (or hangovers kick in). Roll with it and stay flexible, that’s why you have everyone’s number.

Do be kind to the press. By the time they turn up to look at your Star Fish Simulator app (based on a cartoon franchise from Korea, it’s the next big thing) they have probably done about 10,000 steps, in the last 10 minutes, so be considerate if they are running a bit late, and try to have water, coffee or beer to hand.

"The majority of PR should be done before you leave the tarmac. 80 per cent of E3 coverage will be written before the show starts."

Caroline Miller, Indigo Pearl

Keep an eye on social media at the show, it can give you real time and honest feedback for your client or product and some good intel on what is creating buzz. I have Tweetdeck open at all times.

If you are doing PR properly, your phone and laptop are going run out of battery before you finish breakfast. Make sure you have chargers and plug adaptors. My Anker cost 60 and is the shape and weight of a house brick, but it charges my phone 10 times (and fast) so I don’t have to sit in weird places while my phone is plugged in to an opportunist wall socket.

Finally, be social. There is no point going to LA if you’re going to go to bed early every night. Recover on the plane home. For now you need to be out and about. If, like me, you can’t be bothered to blag a ticket to one of the big parties and pretend to like Skrillex, there are plenty of other opportunities to meet people. It hurts my fingers to type this, but the Saddle Ranch is your best bet to run into people.

Most importantly, remember to have a nice day and take your passport everywhere, you’ll need it for everything from picking up your show pass to ordering a beer.

That’s the land of the free for you.

About MCV Staff

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