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New Year New Job - Gemma Cooper tells us about doing PR for Total War firm Creative Assembly

New Year New Job - Gemma Cooper tells us about doing PR for Total War firm Creative Assembly

Associate PR manager Gemma Cooper takes us behind the scenes of working on the Total War brand at Creative Assembly.

What is your job? What does it involve?
I’m the associate PR manager for Creative Assembly. I work within the Total War team, communicating to members of the press and public about our titles, making sure they get the right information at the right time and generally building up excitement among our fans. At Creative Assembly, this involves working across several titles and to balance these, timing is everything.

What are your main responsibilities?
On a daily basis I work with our PR manager and brand managers, compiling press reports for the studio and supporting the implementation of our PR plans. I ensure that all our announcement and press assets are organised and delivered correctly and timely. My role can also involve attending consumer gaming events and managing press events, being a key person for establishing relationships with our industry partners.

How did you get your job?
My degree is in Geography, so I expected it to be a real challenge to break into the gaming industry. However, as I had managed many competitive gaming events for a number of years before I graduated, I had already met a lot of people in the industry and had gathered some relevant experience. As a result, I then did a placement year at Warner Bros as a marketing and PR executive, which solidified the skills I had developed at gaming conventions and enhanced them with some real industry knowledge.

When I returned to University, I continued to work, working remotely as a PR executive for Swipe Right PR thanks to the connections I had made. I think this was really helpful as I kept up my presence in the industry and my skills while also studying. Once I graduated in 2017 I applied for Creative Assembly via the studio's website and haven’t looked back!

What special skills or qualifications did you need?
To work in PR I’d say you need to be a people person. You have to be organised and have a good attention to detail. A good knowledge of the gaming industry helps, especially when networking at various events throughout the year. Working to a schedule and a deadline is also something you should get used to, as game announces need to happen to very tight timescales with no room for error.

What new skills have you had to learn for this role?
I’ve become even more knowledgeable about the wider industry and kept up with trends in the gaming world. It’s really important that the PR team have a regular and solid flow of information with the rest of the marketing team and the dev team, so it’s been crucial to be relatively open and constantly communicating about plans.

Describe a normal day. What do you do?
No day is similar for me, especially since I work across a number of titles for Total War. I can be hopping across each title on a day to day basis, sometimes organising assets for a game launch and other days creating a schedule for a press event. One of the great things about working at Creative Assembly is the variety that’s on offer.

What are the best and worst parts of your role?
I love talking to our extremely passionate fan base at gaming events and sharing our in-game stories together. Having played Total War since I was young, it’s fantastic to be with a similar group of people who adore the games that we’re creating. There is nothing I would describe as the ‘worst’ part of my role, but the most difficult would probably be the sheer amount of work that is required at launch – but the reward once everything is wrapped up is totally worth it.

What tips would you give to someone applying for a similar position?
Love your product. It’s important to be passionate about the games you’re pitching, and enthusiasm shows in a PR role – especially when you’re attending consumer events and talking to fans. Make sure you make the right connections and start networking as soon as you can.

This piece is part of our New Year New Job coverage for the start of 2018. If you want to get in touch to share your insight, email [email protected].

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.