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Advertising? "Free" press?

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Anonymous

For people who actually HAVE an advertising budget... are there good magazines to target out there?
I'm a hard-core gamer, and I don't even look at them. I do all my research on the net. Are there any popular magazines that mirror on the net?
What are the best?

Also... is there still opportunities to get "free" press by sending a magazine a free copy of the game in hopes they review it? Or are magazines flooded by this?

Tyler

Yekrats
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Joined: 08/11/2008
Advertising? "Free" press?

I don't really have an advertising budget, but I would advise "start small." The money I've invested into advertising seems like it's going into a black hole. I know people see the ads, and I know they generate general interest, but I'm not sure how *much* good they really do.

Mind you, this is the experience from running a couple of text ads on various sites. I can't afford much else. A text-ad on BoardGameGeek seems like it's a pretty good deal:

For $10 you get an ad that is sent to people interested in board and card gaming. It lasts a little less than a week, and you can see how many people follow it to your site. Plus, I think BoardGameGeek is a valuable community (like this one) and I like sending money to "good causes," especially when I benefit, too.

How much good does a $500 ad get you in a gaming magazine? Who knows? However, "poor, tightwad Scotto" doesn't want to invest the money to find out! :)

Yekrats
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Joined: 08/11/2008
Re: Advertising? "Free" press?

Random_Person wrote:

Also... is there still opportunities to get "free" press by sending a magazine a free copy of the game in hopes they review it? Or are magazines flooded by this?

I would strongly recommend, however, sending out free copies of your game to various game magazines. Find out who the editor is, and send a copy to their attention. Who knows? Your little "indie" game might make the GAMES 100! It's been known to happen a time or two, and I think game magazines are looking for something different than the standard Hasbro fare.

Best of luck!
-- Scott S.

Anonymous
Advertising? "Free" press?

What type(s) of games are you trying to promote? Board game, card game, RPG, other? I know the CCG game market has a few dedicated magazines (Scrye, Inquest, maybe some others?), but they tend to be filled with card lists. Lot's of ad space but not sure how much they cost or how good a return you would get. RPGs also have a couple of dedicated magazines (Dragon and Dungeon are two of the biggies, I don't know if White Dwarf is still published or not. (Just checked - they are.)) I don't know about board games.

These are not really trade magazines put titles sold to the public. They tend to run ads for different games, though they tend to be the big mainstream titles each of these magazines are geared toward. Are there any trade magazines for board games and card games? If not, should there be?

- Geoff

Anonymous
Advertising? "Free" press?

Sorry... yeah... I'm doing board games.

I know about Inquest and Scrye... used to peruse those before I went to CCGs anonymous and rehab to ween myself off of the crack. :-)

I know Europe has gaming magazines... do they make it to America in anyway? Is there a difinitive American board game magazine?
Hmm.

Oh, and Yekrats, I'm including the cost of giving away samples of my game in my advertising budget. It all has to be accounted for. I'm a stickler for accurate bookeeping. :-)

Tyler

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Advertising? "Free" press?

Games magazine is the only mass-market magazine in the US that covers board games. As good Sir Yekrats above noted, it's most definitely worth sending them a review copy. :) I believe that there's a UK magazine that's similar.

On a smaller scale, Paizo Publishing (the publishers of the aforementioned Dungeon and Dragon) have a new magazine out called Undeafeated that reviews board games some.

On an even smaller scale is Counter magazine (from the UK), which reviews German-style board games pretty much exclusively. I'd call Counter a "zine," though, and not a true magazine, as it's circulation is very small and it's not terribly professionallly printed.

There are also a number of well-known "spielfrieks" somewhat well-known on the net -- Greg Schlosser comes to mind -- whose reviews are often well-considered and from whom a positive review will sell at least a few copies.

When it comes to ads, though, it's almost always a waste of money, at least in magazines. The exceptions I can think of are super-focused magazines where your game directly applies. For example if you created a Civil War game then a small ad in a Civil War re-enactment magazine might pay for itself, and if you created a game about gardening then a small ad in a gardening magazine might pay for itself.

If you created a fantasy-themed game then an ad in Undefeated might pay for itself, but it well might not. If you created a puzzle-like game (for example, Don Bone's Sunda to Sahul) then it's possible that a small ad in Games magazine would make you some money, but I wouldn't invest any money that I wasn't just as willing to put into a slot machine.

Advertising is almost always a crapshoot. If you're going to advertise in a way that costs you money, it's very, very important that you try to track it carefully. You can, for example, make a special offer (like "free shipping for readers who mention code 123"), or you can create a special URL; something to track how many people directly responded to the ad. If nothing else, just advertise in one new place and give the ad time to result in a sales change -- if you advertise in multiple new places and you see a sales spike, you won't know which ad is making the difference (if any). In addition, unfortunately one of the main rules of advertising is repeat, repeat, repeat. One ad will usually result in 0 sales. One ad run every month (or week or day or hour or what have you, depending on the medium) is the only way that you will have any success at all. As such it's both expensive and risky.

Kinda like running your own business. :)

Anonymous
Advertising? "Free" press?

What FL said :-)

...and...

Be sure that you target your proposed audience with the publication in which you advertise. We have used Knights of the Dinner Table most recently (although its been a while) but the products advertised were humor products, or 'new stuff from Gary Gygax' - both topics of which are dead-center in the crosshairs for the readership of KODT...

Their rates are pretty good too... or at least they were...
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