Gorkana meets…eSports Pro

Andrew Wooden, content director (Europe) at NewBay Media, talks to Gorkana’s Luize Lazdane about the launch of the publisher’s eSports Pro website, its potential audience and his top pitching tips for PRs.

Andrew Wooden

How did eSports Pro come about and what will ensure its success?

eSports Pro started life as an off-shoot from MCV, which is the leading trade title for the UK Video games industry. As our intentions in the space increased it became clear that while the video games market and the comparatively young UK eSports scene overlapped, they were sufficiently distinct that we needed to launch a whole new site.

In a nutshell, we tell the story behind the battles – about the players, the teams, the broadcasters, the sponsors, the games, the publishers, the deals, and the leagues – the entire ecosystem that makes up the eSports business.

It sounds obvious, but our success will lie in simply doing this well – by producing engaging articles and interviews, and by bolstering our relationships with the different firms and personalities.

What kind of audience are you hoping to attract?

Anyone working or interested in eSports – players, teams, casters, leagues, publishers, developers, and investors, PR firms, gaming hardware manufacturers, and eSports fans.

The entire ethos of the site is to bring these very disparate types of firms and people, all of which are coming at eSports from a different place, together in one information hub.

What are the main topics you are looking to feature on eSports Pro?

We cover all the breaking news in the eSports world – that may be tournament results, game updates, how investors are getting involved in the space through sponsorship, or more traditional industry style stories like new CEO appointments.

We’re based in the UK, but our coverage is international, as could be the only way with a site serving up eSports content. As well as rolling news, we want to site to feature the opinions and points of view of everyone in the space – so get in touch with me. If you are in the eSports world then you’ve most likely got something to say, and we want to give you a platform.

How do you prefer to be contacted by PRs?

I don’t mind at all – email or phone is fine as a touch point. A lot of people in eSports use Skype to communicate after that.

What are your top tips for PRs when pitching ideas?

The main one would be make sure what you are pitching is halfway relevant to the title – especially if you are going to pick up the phone. A quick Google beforehand should be sufficient to conclude that, for example, a site filled with video games news is unlikely to write much about a washing machine, no matter how much you’ve got the pitch polished.

Other than that I’d say the best tip would be to be efficient when communicating the information – if it’s relevant to the audience, the journalist will be interested in what you’ve got – they’re looking for news everyday so you are working towards the same goal.

What do you enjoy most about working in the publishing world?

There simply aren’t that many careers out there that are genuinely creative. In publishing not only do you have a chance to, but you are expected to express yourself in the most interesting way possible, and I’ve always thought that was worth a lot.

We’re still going to an office five days a week, but there are far less fun ways of paying the rent than writing up articles, interviewing interesting people, attending launch events, or delivering speeches at awards ceremonies. But personally the most enjoyable part of my job is working with creative people and helping them grow as journalists and editors.

Alongside eSports Pro you are also content director for another seven titles. What is the advice you could give for looking after that many publications?

Keeping up to date with mostly unrelated areas such as bikes, technology, video games, kids toys, brand licensing, software development, and competitive gaming can be challenging, but really so much of publishing – and probably any other job – is effective time management.

Be strict with time and have a constantly evolving priority list. You want to have regular meetings with people closer to the action to keep up to date with everything that’s going on, but not so many you end up just talking about things all day.

If you have good editors you shouldn’t need to be involved in every detail – so avoid the temptation to do so and let others do their jobs. Delegation is usually seen as a dirty word, but you couldn’t operate across this much publishing real estate without it. If you have brilliant editors, which I do, then it’s entirely possible to hop in and out of world’s as you need to.

Ultimately the advice I’d give for anyone else in a similar boat would be to enjoy the diversity – it’s not often you get the chance to be involved in so many different worlds, work with so many creative minds, and meet such diverse groups of people. It’s a pleasure to do so.

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