8 PR Tips for Kickstarter Projects

Over the past year, we’ve been hearing from developers who want PR support not for the launch of their game, but for their Kickstarter projects. Promoting a Kickstarter project bears some similarity to a traditional product PR campaign; however, there are some major differences that will influence the way you approach a PR effort. Like any game, product, or service, it must be of high quality and there must be a demand for it in order for PR to be effective. If you’ve got that covered, then the next step is getting the word out in the right way; here are some tips and best practices we’ve learned through experience and observation.

1) Ask Not for Money

A common complaint we’ve heard from members of the press is that writing about Kickstarter projects puts them in an awkward position, or worse, a conflict of interests. The reporter’s job is to inform their readers, not to help a struggling artist raise money. If one goal accomplishes the other, so be it, but in your outreach to press, you must avoid asking for help or assistance in reaching your fundraising goal. Your objective should be to show and tell about the amazing game you’re developing, not to put the pressure you feel to reach a fundraising goal on other people.

2) Early Access for Media

One of the greatest advantages any game developer has in terms of PR is being new and unannounced. Once you’re live on Kickstarter, you’re not quite as new anymore. So treat your Kickstarter launch as a proper launch and offer a select handful of press some early access to the info, assets, and/or game preview you plan to share when your Kickstarter goes live.

3) Target Wisely

Some journalists have tweeted or written about “Kickstarter fatigue” and not wanting to hear about or write about any more Kickstarters. Avoid these people. Before you contact someone, read their work to make sure they are interested in the type of game you’re making, and that they’ve shown interest in promising Kickstarter projects before.

4) Update Often

We’ve seen a direct correlation between Kickstarter project updates, and the flow of donations, so keep your community informed with lively and regular updates and your chances of success and building a fanbase will increase. You should prepare a schedule of updates before you go live so you can drip-feed them over the course of the campaign. Hasty or hollow updates can actually deter backers.

5) Tap into Nostalgia or Unmet Demand

The projects that fare the best on Kickstarter, for the most part, all have something in common. Some tap into a nostalgia we all have for a long-forgotten game franchise or defunct IP from our childhoods and the collective desire to bring it back. Some play into a sense of unmet demand for a game or product that people clearly want to have but no big company has yet devoted the resources to produce. Others instill a sense of confidence in their backers because the team behind it has an incredible pedigree and a track record of success. Most successful games on Kickstarter will tick one of these three boxes. Note that the successful “nostalgia” projects typically also offer something new and innovative, not just a revival of something old.

6) Get Ready Before Launch

You need to have a working game to show before you launch the Kickstarter. Don’t let Kickstarter be the debut of your concept — you should have a working prototype or more. John Rhee, an indie developer who recently ran a successful Kickstarter for his game Liege, wisely advised, “Your development progress should be inverse to your studio pedigree. Only established studios can expect to get funded off a concept. If you don’t have recognizable IPs under your belt, you’ll need to be well into development and have a lot to show.”

7) Time Your Project Deliberately

Think carefully about the launch, middle and end of your project. Be ready to wow people at launch, but sustain the flow of info and updates over the course of the campaign. Prepare for the “middle dip”, knowing support for projects tends to slump around the halfway mark. Know where your final 48, 24 and 8 hours will land. Like any other online business, purchases tend to increase on Sunday evenings. You’d be wise to end your campaign near standard paydays, when people have more disposable income handy. Likewise, avoid launching during major holidays, particularly shopping holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving (Black Friday).

8) Leverage Kickstarter for PR

Use Kickstarter as the powerful marketing tool it can be. Around 50% of your backers will originate from within Kickstarter, as opposed to referrals from external sites. Pay close attention to your project blurb and how it appears on Kickstarter and in search results. Also, look for opportunities to cross-promote your project with other Kickstarter projects. Many successful Kickstarters got a huge bump in backers from working with fellow projects in similar genres. You’re reaching an ideal demographic of existing backers who’ve already linked their accounts to Kickstarter and have shown interest in similar projects.

Just like the App Store, Kickstarter is a crowded marketplace full of many different products for sale. Both marketplaces share a common problem: discovery. It’s hard for users to find the content they want, and the platform owners struggle to surface the right content for the right people. Until this problem is solved, you must take it upon yourself to promote your Kickstarter and use PR to your advantage. Follow these tips and you will improve your chances of success on Kickstarter.


PR Tips for App Developers

Which icon stands out in this sea of apps?

The secret to a successful app is a combination of factors, some of which you can control, others you can’t. In order to do well in the oversaturated app marketplace it’s essential to put yourself in the best possible position for success. App success starts with a great idea, it hinges on execution during development, and it is largely influenced by PR, marketing, timing, and luck.

Of those factors, PR is one that you can control. PR for apps is about how you present the product to the public, garner media coverage, and build users and awareness through proactive outreach. Here are 5 tips to help your PR effort.

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Anatomy of an App Launch: Photogram

Today marks Day One in the public life of Photogram, a new photo sharing app from Timelines, Inc., but Photogram’s life began well before launch with months of development and strategic PR planning leading up to a successful launch day.

The #1 reason that Timelines is positioned to succeed with Photogram is because they identified a clear need in the mobile photo app space (the ability to share multiple photos with ease), sought a clear target market (young parents and families with iPhones), and spent the necessary amount of time to refine their product before launch. With a simple and stylish interface, the user experience was tuned to be easy to operate. Adding unique themes to wrap your photos in, from independent artists, allowed Photogram to become something truly special and memorable. Coupling their product execution with PR strategy was the recipe for launch day success.
Continue reading Anatomy of an App Launch: Photogram

Google Instant – A Quantum Leap Forward in Search?

The big news in tech last week was Google’s announcement of a new search feature – Google Instant. The promise of Google Instant is that it will provide instant search results as you type into the google search bar, changing dynamically with each new letter entered. This represents a remarkable innovation in web search which will help everyone make smarter google queries as they view the instant feedback. But other than removing the need for the “search” button and the enter key on our keyboards, what other advantages or paradigm shifts will Google Instant lead to?

The big question on everyone’s mind is how will this change affect where my company’s page or my best news stories appear in search results? Page ranking will stay the same. There’s no effect on where the web links that matter to you will appear in search results. What will change is the rate at which you can view these search results and experiment with different combinations of search terms to view the web results in real time.

So why bother to make this change if after you’ve entered your search query, nothing actually changes? Matt Cutts, a google software engineer explains it clearly on his blog: “Google typically returns search results in milliseconds, but it takes several seconds for you to type a query. In other words, the limiting factor on a typical search is you. With predictive search and instant results, you can often get the answer you want much faster.”

What are the benefits for a user? Speed of results, instant feedback, and it “takes the effort out of searching”.  As Google puts it, Instant is “search-before-you-type”. Its predictive powers will read your mind, or make an educated guess based on the letters you’ve already entered and offer you several options for what you’re probably looking for.

“It’s like power steering or power braking. Once you have it, it will be hard to go back to the old way,” said Marissa Mayer, Google’s Vice President of Search Product and User Experience, during Wednesday’s live blog of the announcement.

Frankly I’m not sold on the speed advantage for search on my desktop or laptop. Most of us type pretty fast these days and the difference in the speed of results is on the order of < 1 second. For mobile however, or particularly the iPad (where I type at a Mavis Beacon Level 1 pace) the advantage is much more tangible.

Jenna Wortham of the New York Times pointed out in a first reaction tweet during the live blog – “waay more excited for Google Instant to debut for mobile. right? thats where shaving seconds off search time will matter more.”

Web users in the US and Europe will be able to experience Google Instant now and it will be coming to mobile users in the next few months.

So what else is Google Instant good for? Well, we’ve invented a little game you can play with it called “Go Go Google!” The idea is to test how many letters you can enter before the Instant results stop changing. You have to think of a word and start entering it one letter at a time. Your score is the number of letters you enter before the instant results no longer change. For example, one might think the longest words yield the best scores, however, the longest word in the English language,
“Antidisestablishmentarianism”, stops changing after the 6th letter “a-n-t-i-d-i”. My current personal best is 7 letters with the word “alimentary”. You can get as far as “a-l-i-m-e-n-t” before the results stand still.

Try playing a round of Go Go Google yourself, it’s a great way to experience the new power of Google Instant and learn how it works. If Google Instant is the internet equivalent of power windows and steering, we all just got a free upgrade from the dealership.

And if your last name happens to be “Slutsky”, apologies from google, you will not be eligible for instant results.

What the *&%$ is my Social Media Strategy?

Facebook recently gave a presentation to PR executives. The video is over an hour long, but some interesting points emerged that can help frame your social media recommendations for clients.

We all know how to create a Facebook fan page and I think at some point we have all recommended a client create one for their product or brand, but then what?

Facebooks’s VP of Global Communications, Elliot Schrage, said “the tools we are creating fundamentally change the way institutions and companies communicate and respond to feedback.”

Fun Fact: Facebook’s own Facebook page is only the 3rd most popular Facebook page (after Texas Hold ‘Em and Michael Jackson)
Continue reading What the *&%$ is my Social Media Strategy?

In the Future, Videogames Will Play You

Future of Gaming Panel - July 20, 2010 - 92Y Tribeca

What will videogames look like in thirty years? How will we interact with them? When we look back at 2010 in the year 2040, what will we think of the games that people play today? Will videogames ever achieve cultural acceptance and importance on the level of other established art forms? All of these questions and more were answered with unfailing certainty last night at the New York Gaming Meetup’s “Future of Gaming” panel discussion, organized in conjunction with the Y+30 group at the 92Y Tribeca in New York City.

New York Gaming Meetup founder, Brad Hargreaves, moderated a panel discussion between Ben Feder, CEO, Take Two Interactive, Stephen Totilo, deputy editor at Kotaku.com, and Eric Zimmerman, CEO and Co-founder of Gamelab. Together this panel brought a variety of perspectives from the business, journalism, and creative points of view.

During a lively hour of discourse the audience of nearly 200 industry professionals and curious alike sat and listened to the panel hypothesize about what videogames will be like in thirty years.

Continue reading In the Future, Videogames Will Play You

NY Gaming Meetup Continues to Heat Up

The New York Gaming Meetup is a monthly networking event for professionals in the game industry in and around New York City. Now in it’s second year of existence, the NY Gaming Meetup has featured a wide variety of demos from up-and-coming start-ups like regular presenter Miharo Games to some of the most successful NY-area tech companies in recent memory, such as Foursquare.

At the meetup this past Monday, the theme was mobile gaming. With a guest list of roughly 95 developers, investors, CEOs, marketers, journalists and industry aspirants, March was one of the group’s best months ever.

As bi-coastal members of the games industry, we were able to take some of the trends we saw out at GDC10 last week in San Francisco and apply those lessons to the demos and ideas shared at the NY Meetup. The #1 trend in mobile gaming that we took notice of is “app discovery.”
Continue reading NY Gaming Meetup Continues to Heat Up

Superfast Internet is Coming, Thanks to Google

Yesterday, google announced a plan to build its own ultra high-speed broadband network with speeds more than 100 times faster than what we have now.

This is great news!

But not for us, right now anyway. This network is just a test that will be rolled out slowly to at least 50,000 and up to 500,000 homes in select communities. The test is not a toe in the water of the ISP cesspool, but “rather an effort to push the industry into offering faster internet access at a lower cost.” That sounds like a noble deed to me, so thank you google.

Imagine what we could do with internet speeds up to 100 times faster than what we have now.

Continue reading Superfast Internet is Coming, Thanks to Google

How NOT To Do iPhone App PR

This story is a bit old by internet standards, but it’s important and helpful for app developers out there who want to DIY their PR.

TriplePoint can help you design and execute a PR strategy, sure, but we would be doing a disservice if we did not also highlight instances where a PR strategy went terribly awry.

Perhaps this should be common sense, but when contacting media to promote your app/game/product/service, don’t offer money in exchange for coverage.

The Portable Gamer details a shocking exchange with an Australian app developer who was willing to pay $300 for an app review. When the site appropriately declined, the developer upped the offer to $500.

The conversation proceeded to an exchange of threats and insults launched by the developer, with the site politely asking to end communication. The result was not exposure for the developer or their app but rather the Portable Gamer bringing the matter to the public’s attention. By doing so, they discovered that the same developer had made similar attempts with other editorial sites.

There are developers offering money for reviews, and there are review sites asking for money. We hope these parties find each other and make lots of money buying and selling paid reviews, but this will never be a part of a legitimate PR strategy and will never lead to a successful campaign that earns consumer trust and wins the hearts and minds of the real journalists whose opinions matter.

Orbital – The iPhone App That Does Everything Well But Sell

What can we tell you about Orbital that has not already been said?

Orbital on iPhone - Gravity Mode
Orbital on iPhone - Gravity Mode

The reviews are unanimous. Orbital is one of the best games on the iPhone.

The awards are well documented.

Ryan Seacrest and Dane Cook have tweeted about their love for Orbital. Dane still has a high score in the top 10. We’re not sure what Oprah is waiting for, something to do with career changes.

In our office, Orbital breaks have replaced Xbox breaks.

Orbital has been described as “addictive”, “compulsive”, “mesmerizing”, “superb” and other adjectives.

This game must have sold like a million units right? The developers must be on a beach somewhere buying Ferraris on eBay and having Scottish castles airlifted to Brazilian mountaintops, right?

Continue reading Orbital – The iPhone App That Does Everything Well But Sell

Spotlight with Bloomberg TV’s Tech Reporter

Michele Steele - Bloomberg TVMichele Steele is a Chicago-native who now lives in New York City and works as a reporter for Bloomberg TV. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, Michele quickly made a name for herself as a reporter on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, covering stocks and the economy for over 100 local stations which broadcast Bloomberg business reports. Now focusing primarily on the business of media, tech and entertainment, you can see Michele on Bloomberg Television segments worldwide.

TP: Tell us a bit about your position at Bloomberg. What are your areas of coverage?

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Spotlight with TIME’s New Tech Editor

Peter Ha - Tech Editor TIME Magazine/ TIME.com
Peter Ha - Tech Editor TIME Magazine/ TIME.com

In what hopes to be a recurring feature we will be turning the tables around on a prominent journalist and making them the subject of a short interview. Our goal is to bridge the gap between journalists and PR professionals and foster better relationships in our daily work lives. If you have any suggestions for journalists you would like to know more about or see interviewed here, leave a note in the comments.

Peter Ha is an NYC-based journalist who spent several years as the news editor for TechCrunch’s Crunchgear.com. Recently Peter left his gig at Crunchgear to pursue a new opportunity with TIME magazine and TIME.com as the editor of their new technology section which is set to launch this November. Moving from a tech focused site to one of the most recognized brands in weekly news magazines, Peter’s new position represents a changing of the guard in journalism and news media as the generation who was born along with the Internet reports back to the generation before.

TP: Tell us about your new job at TIME. What is your role going to be there?

Continue reading Spotlight with TIME’s New Tech Editor

Take It Out Your Pocket and Show It: Pocket God’s a Hit on the iPhone

Show it Off
Show it Off

The poet T-Pain once said: “Got money, and you know it, take it out your pocket and show it.”

While Pain was certainly referring to a roll of cash, little did he know that he also had created the perfect metaphor for the viral, word-of-mouth buzz that drives iPhone app sales.

In a recent story on the FinancialTimes.com tech writer Chris Nuttall explored some of the reasons for the resounding success of Pocket God on the iPhone. With sales now well over 1.2 million units, Pocket God is a true blockbuster hit on the nascent platform.

Continue reading Take It Out Your Pocket and Show It: Pocket God’s a Hit on the iPhone

Karate Kid Wins Wiimbledon – Real Winners are the Kids

While tennis pros battled it out in London this past weekend, the real athletes could be found at Wiimbledon 2009 on Saturday at Barcade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Competition was fierce at the 3rd annual Wiimbledon, the world’s largest competitive Wii tennis tournament, where over 100 Wii-athletes and spectators came to compete on the virtual courts of Wii tennis.

This entrant, pictured below, not only won the overall tournament, but also took home the prize of “Best Costume”.

Tournament Champion/Best Dressed
Tournament Champion/Best Dressed

The real winners are the children served by Child’s Play, a unique charitable organization that improves the quality of life for sick and terminally-ill children in hospitals by providing them with entertainment, such as toys, games, and books.

The event, co-sponsored by Nyko Technologies, was a gritty field test for their new Wii controller, the Nyko Wand, which was dubbed “The Official Racket of Wiimbledon”. Needless to say, the Wand “aced” the test.

This year’s tournament was co-organized by the gentlemen at Crunchgear.

To view an album of photos from the event, click here.

Wiimbledon 2009 Competitors

TriplePoint NY In Position

TriplePoint NY has moved into a new office space in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. The new office is located just steps from Madison Square Park and the Flatiron building and is walking distance from Union Square, Midtown, and nearly every subway line.

The Flatiron, NYC
The Flatiron, NYC

Crain’s New York Business recently highlighted the area as one of the top neighborhoods for tech companies in NYC:

Want to rub elbows with an angel or a venture capitalist? Head down to the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, which is the unofficial gathering place for players in the online and technology scene that has sprouted anew in midtown south.”

To read the full article, click here. See you at the Shake Shack!