The gaming media landscape is incredibly unique and filled with diverse individuals. When working alongside games journalists, you’re going to run into many different personalities, but most (if not all of them) share a mutual love of video games. If you aren’t familiar with gaming, the industry can be intimidating to break into. Here are some helpful tips to help you establish great relationships with some of the most unique writers in journalism.

  1. The Video Game Industry is Built on Community – Journalists Included

The video game industry is filled with incredibly passionate fans – these fans include games journalists. Traditionally, video games journalists cover the platforms they are most interested in and most knowledgeable of. Each journalist usually stays within their areas of expertise – a reporter who covers PlayStation announcements is probably not going to cover a mobile gaming or Nintendo announcement unless it directly impacts the PlayStation community (there are some exceptions to this rule).

It is incredibly important that you understand this and do research on the journalist you are pursuing. A strategic and targeted approach to pitching is the most effective when going after games journalists.

Typical beats include (but aren’t limited to): Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox, mobile gaming, PC gaming, esports and virtual reality.

  1. Transparency is Key – Cut the BS

Video game journalists are some of the most skeptical and critical journalists out there. They can smell fluff and BS a mile away. It’s important to still maintain your key messages and promote the product, but be wary of overselling it through the overuse of marketing/PR jargon. Don’t use terms like “world’s first,” without being able to back up that claim – they will call you out on it.

That transparency is a two-way street, however. If you are transparent with the journalists, they will respond in turn. Once that relationship is created, games journalists are easier to work with, more responsive and more likely to give you honest answers on whether they are truly interested in covering your product or news. If you’re honest and easy to deal with, they will be too.

  1. Build the relationship on Twitter and In-Person – but Do Not be Annoying

The main social media platform used by video game journalists is Twitter. Follow them on Twitter, see what they are playing, what new news/beats they might be interested in, and use that to tailor your pitches and conversations with them. If you see they’ve started covering more esports stories, try pitching your news or products with an esports angle. If you personally are a gamer, engage with them when they are talking about their latest in-game achievement or written review. However, there is a fine line between engagement and just being annoying – Tread lightly!

Video game journalists are gamers and are usually very passionate about what they are doing. If you have the opportunity talk in-person, feel free to ask what they are currently playing. What platforms are they playing on? What do they like/dislike about the game they are playing? If you are a gamer and are playing that game too, foster a relationship by establishing common ground over that mutual interest. Even if you aren’t a gamer – but do enjoying the occasional Candy Crush binge on the side – show interest in what they are doing.

  1. A Basic Understanding of the Industry is Pivotal

You can’t go into this industry blind. There are a lot of buzzwords and intricacies that make this vertical unique. It’s important to have at least a basic knowledge of gaming when engaging with journalists. It also helps with relationship building if you can have a knowledgeable conversation on gaming and can find some kind of common ground with them.