Over the last few articles, we looked at how to research your project so you get a better understanding of the competition, your product, and your target audience and market. In this article, we will discuss how to get started developing a pitch, as well as how to find sources of funding and deliver that vital pitch in an effective way. We will also look at how to make a press-kit, so you always have a professional, high quality package of all the important information and media to give to people to convey the game.
Importance of Positioning
Before you make a pitch or even think about making a pitch, it’s important you understand positioning. Positioning is the how you convey your product and brand to the market, and is essentially about ensuring the market views you the way you want.
Are you a gore filled violent dark rogue-like? Or maybe a kids dress up pony game? Establishing the tone of your product is important to your pitch, but you also need to consider what the substance of your pitch and therefore your products brand will be made of. What specifically are you trying to achieve with this product and what is its strongest point? Perhaps there is a certain piece of technology that you have developed that is novel in some way. Or maybe your game has a feature that no other game in the target market has.
It’s important that you can communicate to an audience both visually and audibly what makes your product special, with branding that backs up your claims and this will be as true on a steam or app store listing as it is in a pitch.
The dreaded pitch
Unfortunately in 2017 there is still a lot of common misconceptions about pitching because of the show Dragons Den. It’s amazing how often when talking about pitching that show comes up. Break that connection, because reality is often not as harrowing as that, and it is definitely not as quick-fire.
You want to keep your pitch down to 10 minutes maximum, and allow for a 2-5 minute demonstration of your product afterwards. It doesn’t matter what stage your product is in, as long as you can effectively use the demo to convey the game when combined with the contents of the pitch presentation. If you have made a vertical slice as I spoke about in the last part of this series, then that is the perfect thing to show, with a bit of polish around the edges.
The main things you want to cover in 10 minutes are:
Who are you and what have you done?
What is your game called?
What is your elevator statement – This is a condensed pitch of your game, sum it up in around 10-20 seconds.
What is your razor statement – this is a marketing term, usually a combination of 3 similar competitor products, used to explain the game in rudimentary terms. An example would be “The game is like X with X and the battle mechanics of X”.
What is your X statement – this is your main marketing tagline, it could potentially be your main USP, or the positioning you’re trying to employ in your marketing. Its often the main tagline on the back or front of video game box releases, and at the top of their store listings digitally.
What is the game about and what platforms are you targeting?
What are the Unique Selling Points of the game?
What financial research have you done to back up the development?
How much do you think it will cost / How much money do you need?
Always end with a small summary of the game’s best points, a second elevator pitch in a sense, before showing a demo or prototype.
You might be worried about how you’ll talk for 10 minutes in such a setting, but there is so much to cover in so little time you’ll find it flies by. And that’s why you should definitely practice as much as you can, whilst keeping a loose enough structure to your presentation that you don’t get caught off guard by unexpected questions.
Funding Sources and how to find them
It really is just as simple as using google and social media to find leads. Once you do, contact them. Its that simple. Funding sources want to fund good, profitable games, and if you can even slightly prove that is what you have made or propose to make, then you stand a chance at securing an interview and funding. This is true of publishers too, and they are often easier to contact as they will often have defined processes on how to pitch to them, as well as readily available information on what services they could provide for you in return for equity.
The important thing is to not to get down when you get turned down or someone does not contact you back. Keep at it, and eventually you’ll succeed. Even when you finally land a pitch, you’ll probably not get it first time. But you’ll get better and more confident with each try, and can make adjustments to your game based on anything that is brought up in the process.
For a big list of mostly non-publisher funding sources, head to http://www.pixelprospector.com/the-big-list-of-funding-resources/
And if you’re in the UK , take a look at http://www.creativeengland.co.uk/games
The all important Press Kit
So you have a pitch and a demo ready, you are pretty confident you know your stuff, and you have found some funding sources to chase up. What’s the best way to contact them?
Ideally you want to send them a press kit if you want to look professional.
A press kit is a package of marketing art, information and screenshots/videos of the game that you send to press, as well as anyone you want to market your game to.
Traditionally, a press kit contains:
Screenshots & Videos – The best and most varied screenshots and videos of your game, trying to encompass everything that makes your game special. If you have a video, try to mix different areas of the game and different gameplay mechanics, and keep it short but sweet, under 1 minute if possible. Make sure you pay attention to audio as it really matters.
The marketing statements from the pitch, combined with the main selling points of the game.
What platforms the game is on
What makes it special and why should they give it their time?
PR/ Marketing Performance
If you have had any interviews or been mentioned in any articles by any press or youtubers, then mention this in here too.
If you have a playable demo, include it with a clear way to get hold of it and play it.
For a big list of resources and examples of press-kits head over to http://www.pixelprospector.com/contents-and-examples-of-press-kits/
When you have a press-kit ready, always start the email containing it with a personalised message tailored to the situation, clearly explaining who you are, why you’re contacting them, and what you need from them / have to offer.