A Better Format for Press Kits

For many years indie app developers have been distributing downloadable press kits. These are usually in the form of a ZIP file. It’s essentially a folder containing a PDF review guide, screenshots, logos, and links. And while this worked for the longest time, it’s recently started to feel a little outdated.

Review Guide

ZIP files are no longer adequate because more and more journalists are switching to iPad as their primary device. I mean, have you ever tried to open a ZIP file on iOS or work with multiple files? It’s not easy. If you want the best chance of getting your app covered, it’s probably best to give it to Journalists in a format they can easily digest and use.

I know there’s a growing trend of putting press kits on Medium, but I don’t think that’s right. The gist of the idea is great, but the execution is poor. A press kit should be published on your own domain, not someone else’s platform.

Publishing on Medium lacks ownership, authority and flexibility. It could easily be mistaken for an article or faked. It might be the easier option to host it on Medium, but that doesn’t make it the right choice.

So what is the answer? Well, the answer has been there all along. It’s nothing fancy, it’s HTML, it’s the humble webpage!

The web is perfect for displaying text, images, and videos. It’s viewable on pretty much every device, it’s easy to copy text, follow links, and save images. It’s flexible, searchable, indexable, and easily updatable.

The main purpose of a press kit has always been to make it easy for journalists to get the information and media they need quickly. When everyone was using Macs and PCs a ZIP file used to be convenient enough. However, with more and more journalists using iPads, that’s no longer the case.

Putting your press kit content on a webpage seems so obvious (and some smart people are probably already doing this). I don’t know why I’ve been sending around ZIP files and Dropbox links for so long. I really should have started doing this years ago.

I’m not saying a webpage is the way we should all be distributing press kits, but I believe it’s a step in the right direction. It’s what I’m going to do for the launch of my next product and I think it’s the best option available right now.

Before I wrap up, I thought it’d be useful to make a list of the things a decent press kit should include:

  • App Details: Title, pricing, launch date, platform
  • Pitch: What, why, and the benefits.
  • Who’s behind the app? A little bit about your team, venture-backed, self-funded, etc.
  • Media: Screenshots, photos, animated gifs, and video.
  • Links: Website, App Store(s), Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • Contact Details: Name, position, email address, mobile number, Twitter handle.
Here are some pointers to help you get started when writing the pitch for your app:
  • What does the app do? Write this in plain English, no bullshit.
  • What problem does it solve? Why would someone use or need this?
  • Why is it better than the competition? What features set it apart.
And finally, don’t forget to include a getting started guide, this is especially important if you have a complex product. It’s probably best to supply a short video to show reviewers how to get up and running instead of writing out step-by-step instruction.

Practice What You Preach

I wrote this article because at Realmac we’re going to be launching RapidWeaver 7 in the next month or so and I’ve been thinking about the launch a lot. I wanted to consolidate my thoughts on what a good press kit should be. This article will be something I’ll refer back to when I start to put together the marketing plan for the RapidWeaver 7 launch.

Follow Up

Dan Counsell @dancounsell