Welcome to the third installment of our “Marketing Your App” blog series, a compilation of our best advice on how to create buzz and accumulate downloads for your app. In this post, you’ll learn about how to perfect your pitch and other ways to prepare for press stories surrounding your app’s launch. You can check out our first batch of marketing tips here and our second here.
Prepare a Press Kit
To make it as easy as possible for journalists or bloggers to write about your app, prepare a press kit with all the necessary materials they may need for the story. Your press kit can live on your website as a downloadable .zip file, and it should contain:
- A concise description of your app. Be sure to specify why it is unique – what sets it apart from other apps?
- High quality screenshots of your app in action
- High resolution logo and any other necessary graphics from your app
- Contact information
- Important links to the App Store, Youtube, social media channels, etc.
Having a press kit ready is helpful for journalists, but also for you – no last minute scrambling to gather these materials. Hosting it on your app’s website lets others know that you are well-prepared and eager to share your story with journalists and bloggers.
Who to Pitch and How
Landing a story with one of the big pubs, like TechCrunch or Mashable, is not impossible, but it should not be the top priority for most app devs. These sites receive hundreds, if not more, pitches a day for stories about apps, among other topics. The odds of being picked up among the sheer number of requests is slim.
Establishing relationships with journalists, bloggers and reviewers is key in getting their attention and ultimately getting repeat coverage. Follow them on Twitter and interact with them. Post comments on their stories. Engage with these writers’ and their work and they will begin to recognize your name – a crucial part in getting them to open that pitch letter.
Before you start pitching, be sure to ask yourself: do I want to spend a whole lot of time writing emails to journalists of big name pubs that may not even see my email? Probably not.
Identify App Review Sites & Niche Blogs
Chances are, you’re more likely to get picked up by a smaller, more focused website or blog. There are hundreds of app review sites you can pitch to, some of which are listed below.
Spend your emailing calories on smaller review sites or even blogs that aren’t app related. Let’s say your app helps families stay organized. Pitch to a mommy blog or a site devoted to families. Find what best fits your app’s unique value proposition and tailor your pitch to each journalist. It will take work to identify these specific blogs, but will pay off in the end with a higher likelihood of landing a story. To help you get started, check out these sites that do App Reviews (and see even more on Maniac Dev):
- TopTen Reviews
- Euro Games
- Crazy Mike’s Apps
Tips for the perfect pitch
- It’s all about the subject line
“Subject lines are the elevator pitches of blogging.” – Erica Sadun, writer at TUAW and iOS developerThe subject line, as with any email, must be attention grabbing enough to get the recipient to actually open your note. It should also reveal enough about your app that they get a sense for why it’s unique and worth writing about.Check out this sample app pitch subject line from Erica Sadun:
Time tracker app Time Boss simplifies billing for busy contractors
- Don’t forget to include the name of your app
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s been forgotten before. Don’t be that person! Your app’s name with proper spelling & capitalization MUST be the first thing you include.
- Specify price
Another no-brainer. If its free or if it’s $10, explain why.
- Describe the app
Just like in your press kit, include a short description of your app – reiterate its unique benefit from the subject line, in a bit more detail.
- Links & contact info galore
Include those links to your app website AND app store, plus any social media presence you have. Make sure your direct contact info is in there, and don’t email from a no-reply or spammy email address. It won’t be opened.
- Screenshots & video
Again, just like your press kit, attach 1-2 high quality screenshots. If your app has a video trailer (which it should), include a link to that. It’ll help get your app’s point across quickly in a memorable way.
- Personalize it
Be sure to tailor the pitch to the specific writer. Describe what’s in it for them and how it can benefit their publication, not just what’s in it for you and your app. Have a sense for who is reading the blog you’re pitching to and explain what your app can do for them.
Check out this sample pitch that includes all of these best practices.
Tools and Resources for creating pre-launch buzz
If you need a little extra boost in your pre-launch marketing, check out these tools to help you create that early following:
Ooomf is a service that helps mobile apps prepare for launch. Its tools include setting up simple websites for new apps, curating and profiling compelling apps and providing mechanisms for developers to solicit feedback on logos and features on apps still in development.
PreApps is a place to share, review, and rate mobile apps, helping developers create pre-launch buzz by securing pre-opted in users and providing other tools. PreApps is coming soon – you can sign up for a notification of when they’re live.
Appspire.me is an app marketing platform, aiming to help developers get the most quality users for their apps and to maximize their download statistics dramatically.
That concludes our pre-launch app marketing series. Stay tuned for more on marketing your app post-launch, coming soon. Have any marketing tips yourself? Let us know in the comments!