Marketing for your new application is a critical step if your app is going to be successful. Just having a well programmed app that has a nice look and feel and performs smoothly is now not enough to ensure you will get downloads or people purchasing your app in the app stores. One of the key things you can do to get the word out are press releases. Here I will give you a few tips on press releases, whom to contact and, what types of things will get a reporter or editor interested in what you are doing which may lead to a story about you and your app.
One of your weapons in marketing your app is the press release. Basically this is a story about your application that gets sent to various news sources like magazines, newspapers, web sites, etc. The idea with the press release is you are informing the press of a great news worthy story that they should write about. Notice I said “news worthy”, let’s talk about that next.
A news worthy story has a unique angle that the editor or reporter can sink their teeth into. It should compel the editor or reporter to think that this story is something that their readers would like to hear about and would be informative. So the million dollar question is, how do you write a press release that has a unique angle?
The best way to get a great angle for your press release is to tell a great story on why you developed the app. No, to get a million downloads and get rich is not a great angle for your press release. Let me give you an example for a fictitious app. Let’s say you created an app for golfers that allows them to rate golf courses, look for new people to play golf with, and find a pro to get golf lessons (actually not a bad idea).
You can tell a story about how you struggled when you first started to play golf to find the best courses close to the City you live and you liked golf but didn’t have any friends that could play on Mondays because that day was when you were off work. You can then talk about how taking lessons really helped your game. You did a search on the app stores but didn’t find anything that had these types of functions. You can then go into the details on how exactly your app does those functions and how anyone that likes to golf could use this app to get better, meet new friends, and find fantastic courses.
Do you get the idea? Your selling the sizzle not the stake. It’s up to you to come up with something that helps sell the story to the reporter or editor. So if you’re thinking that you’re not good at creative writing then you can search for an outsourcer on oDesk or Elance to write for you. Another great idea is to actually go to the editor or writer that you would be targeting to send the release to and ask if they are available to write a press release (for a modest fee of course). What I like about that is after they write it you can then ask if they can help get it on their web site or in their magazine. Since you already have an in, you can get to know this person and you can use him or her for future stories if they are also related to the topics.
OK so once you get the press release completed, what do you do with it? One of the easiest way to send out a release is through http://www.prweb.com/. There are various pricing points on their site and I believe this is money well spent to help start to generate a buzz about your new shiny application. Another thing you can do is find editors and reporters and contact them directly. I would just send them a short email telling them a few small things about the app and asking if you can then send them your press release. This is pretty hard and can take some time but may be well worth the effort. Obviously the closer to the niche that your app caters to would be the best targets for your releases. You wouldn’t want to send a hockey editor a request to send your release about the golf app that I mentioned above.
You can find editors and reporters email addresses on their websites, and in magazines. You can go to a local book store, supermarket or library to do your research and get these email addresses. I would caution you to not send out one email to hundreds of reporters. It’s best to send a personal note to each reporter, greeting them by name and if they have written something that is close to the topic that your app is about then you can mention it in the initial email.
Remember to keep it short, something like, I read your article on finding a good golf pro and found it very useful. I have created a new app that helps golfers enjoy the game more and improve their skills. Flattery will get you everywhere and please keep in mind these people are busy so don’t waste their time, it’s precious to them. If you get a response back asking to send your release, do it right away. You need to strike while the fire is hot, don’t wait until the next day or a few days later. Do it ASAP. You can follow up in a few days to see if they have questions and it’s a good idea to set up a free download for your app for the reporter if it’s a paid app.
The last item which will help you get some publicity is HARO http://www.helpareporter.com/. This is a neat web site where you can register to share your expertise (you are an expert at creating and releasing your mobile apps, right?) with reporters from around the world. Their web site says: From The New York Times, to ABC News, to HuffingtonPost.com and everyone in between, nearly 30,000 members of the media have quoted HARO sources in their stories. Everyone’s an expert at something. Sharing your expertise may land you that big media opportunity you’ve been looking for. This is very interesting and something you should take advantage of.
There are many more items I could have covered when it comes to press releases but I hope this has been a good introduction to the topic and opened your eyes to how to get some press coverage for your app and your business. Good luck and, I would love to hear any comments that you have about this subject below.