Since the start of our company and especially since our introduction into the Dice Tower Network, we have been approached by a variety of designers, publishers, and other people in the gaming space to do promotional-type favors for them. Sometimes their projects align with our values and interests and we are happy to lend a helpful hand. If we wouldn’t personally support a cause or project, we aren’t going to tell our audience to either. However, the thing that gets me the most is how unprepared some professionals can be.
Take our podcast for example. On several different occasions, we’ve been asked to interview specific people or designers, usually ones that have a Kickstarter project they want to promote. A handful of those people we were willing to interview because their project interested us. However, we were being asked halfway through their campaigns, some with only 10 days left. If you have a Kickstarter project you need help promoting or want to find avenues for new exposure, by all means, ask. The board game community is an incredibly giving place if you tap into the right people. But you must understand, the podcasters, game reviewers, publishing companies, etc. have busy schedules and priorities bigger than your marketing needs.
We release content on a bi-weekly basis. One week it’s a podcast and one week it’s a blog. Typically we are scheduled out at least a month in advance. The same is true for many other professionals in this space. Reviewers already have a stack of games they need to go through. Publishers have deadlines to meet, prototypes to develop, and art to approve. Asking someone to essentially drop their own priorities and schedule to give your project a boost in its final hours is unrealistic and unprofessional.
So what is the moral of the story? Chances are if you have a good idea or project to promote and people believe in it, they will probably help. It’s your job to be purposeful and have a plan ahead of time.
1. Develop your own schedule of timelines and deadlines. This means short-term and long-term projections.
2. Learn about the different companies, reviewers, and people you may ask for help. Everyone is different and has different tastes. For example, we aren’t ever going to endorse anything crude or with dark or demonic undertones; it’s not the type of thing we want associated with our company.
3. After identifying some people/blogs/podcasts that might be a good fit, contact them ahead of time. At least a month before whatever it is you want to promote is happening. Give them some background on you and your project and find out if they would be interested in helping when the time comes.
4. Be courteous and grateful with the people you’re working with. We’ve learned very early on that what we’re doing is closely connected to the people we interact with and about the importance of giving back before asking for anything in return.
People want to help you. It feels good to give back. Be courteous and respectful to the people you’re working with by having a purpose and plan.