We sat down with Dina Sharafieva, the PR Manager at one of the hottest iGaming studios in recent times, Gamebeat, and had one of the most fun and illuminating interviews to date, where we discussed various captivating topics including the challenges of working in the iGaming industry, what it takes to be a top-level PR manager, the difference between creating PR campaigns for online gambling and other industries, and much more.
Dina, you are PR at the fast-rising iGaming studio Gamebeat. What inspired you to enter the world of iGaming?
Hello, GamblersConnect! Thank you for having me for an interview, I will be happy to answer questions 🙂
Honestly, I was brought into the world of iGaming spontaneously. For about three years before I wrote articles, made advertising creatives, worked with social media, and created text for websites – in general, I gained the most versatile experience in order to become a T-shaped person.
A year ago, I accidentally saw a post that Gamebeat was looking for a PR manager. It was a little exciting because I had no experience in iGaming. However, I am guided by the principle that life without challenges is too boring, so I sent my resume to the team – and now I have been growing in this area for almost a year! Moreover, I absolutely adore my job 🙂
Since your position entails establishing a strategic communication process to build valuable relations between Gamebeat and its customers, you are directly involved in creating media relations strategies and PR campaigns. From your personal experience, is creating PR campaigns in the iGaming sector more challenging than other industries, and if so, why?
iGaming sector is generally more challenging than other industries, and here’s my opinion on why:
1) The controversial nature of the industry
There is still a stigma attached to it — some people view it as immoral or even illegal. It is very important to create PR campaigns that effectively promote the industry’s benefits and dispel common misconceptions.
2) The intense competition within the industry
I try to keep up with constant changes in the industry. With soooo many companies vying for market share, it is important to stand out and make a lasting impression on potential customers.
3) A deep understanding of the target audience
iGaming brands must cater to a diverse range of customers — from casual players to serious gamblers. You need to create campaigns that resonate with all segments of the target audience and effectively communicate the company’s message.
What are some of the essential skills that a PR agent should have in order to be successful at their job?
I jokingly call a PR manager a handyman — because at the same time, we have to be responsible for about hmmm… everything.
Since we work with total chaos of information, tasks, and people, it is important to structure. Every detail. From task managers to emails with partners. So that you understand what lies on which shelf.
Communication skills are a must! Do not be afraid to interact, listen, negotiate and knock on all doors. This is your key to success.
Your work will be based on strategy — be able to develop plans that align with your organization’s goals and effectively execute them.
Most importantly, explore the world. Be interested in it inside and out and try to understand what people really want. This will be the basis for your media activities.
While we are on the subject of reaching out to people, give us your personal opinion, is it more difficult to create campaigns and reach new customers or target already existing customers?
It’s hard to say which approach is more difficult – both require different strategies and tactics.
Reaching new customers in iGaming is still a challenge because there is a lot of competition out there. You need time, for example, to build brand awareness and establish trust with new customers, especially when there are so many options to choose from.
Targeting existing customers also has its own set of challenges – this requires regular updates to your games, special promotions, and other incentives to keep them coming back for more.
Part of your job as a PR also includes editing and updating promotional material and publications such as videos, social media posts, brochures, etc. What do you consider the most effective way to promote the brand of Gamebeat and leave a good impression?
I think it’s worth staying true to the brand message and values, be authentic, and provide value to your customers. Now we are actively working on creating a strong brand identity – what Gamebeat stands for, what sets it apart from competitors, and will deliver this message in all marketing efforts.
So that customers can easily recognize us from the first seconds — “Well, this is the one and only Gamebeat!”
How important is the ability to synchronize and collaborate with other internal teams (for example marketing, senior management, etc.) in order to develop the right media relation strategy and organize PR events?
Synchronization is vital — not only for strategies and events but in general for the development of the company.
We actively interact with literally every department (no matter sales, product, development etc.) to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. There is no other effective strategy in terms of any business.
For example, we recently started working closely with the product department to make creatives for gambling sites. We pass our technical task to the art department on the vision of animation/image for a specific site — based on our analysis, they offer us interesting options for the Gamebeat promo.
Since your job warrants working with people, and the fact that you are basically the face of the company, working as a PR entails a lot of creativity, excellent communication skills, and the ability to speak to news outlets and large groups of people for a good portion of the time. Do you have any particular process to mentally prepare to talk in front of cameras and big audiences, or is it something that comes naturally to you?
Many people think that good public speaking skills are a matter of talent (I do not exclude this), but most often it is the result of efforts that can be honed and perfected over time.
Personally, I have had an excellent student syndrome since childhood, so I feel more confident when I perform the following rituals before speaking and talking:
- I research and rehearse my topic thoroughly so that I am well-versed in the subject matter
- I structure my thoughts, mentally or in writing, to organize my brain clutter
- I try to envision the audience and anticipate their questions or concerns
In general, preparation and practice are the key to delivering a successful presentation or speech!
In light of this question, can you tell us what is the most challenging aspect of your demanding job?
You need to always keep your finger on the pulse and be involved. I think a PR manager should always be curious about what is in trend, what the audience is asking for, and what pains a potential client has.
Sometimes it’s very stressful, you just want to turn off your phone and laptop and say: “Don’t disturb me, I’m in the room!”. To avoid this, catch the work-life balance and maneuver between tons of information and your mental state.
Lastly, what would you tell young and aspiring PR professionals that want to enter this line of work? Are there any tips or particular advice that you would like to share?
Try yourself in something new and get as much experience as possible! Network — do not be afraid to attend industry events, and be interested in the experience of other professionals.
Be trendy — the industry will quickly find a replacement for you if you do not keep pace with it.
Develop in different directions — PR is about t-shape specialists who can do a lot of things. Therefore, if you think that some skill is not useful, it definitely will come in handy 🙂
Good luck 🙂