Getting press coverage for your app is really hard work, and unfortunately there's no shortcuts or quick hacks. Writing an average press release is easy, but making it really stand out is considerably harder. The simple fact is that editors and journalists are inundated with press releases every single week, and that severely limits your chances of getting a review or even a mention.
To get really great coverage you need to put in the time and effort. Simply sending out a press release, even if it is amazing, won't get you the coverage you want or need for a successful launch. So what should you do?
Instead of blindly firing off that hastily cobbled together press release (possibly using a PR mailing service), you should send out a friendly, less formal email first. Such a simple thing can make all the difference. Lets take a look.
Start with a friendly pitch
Contact the media around 2-4 weeks before you plan to launch. It only needs to be a quick email with a few details in. Keep it polite, write a sentence or two about your forthcoming app, include a link to a screenshot or video so they can get more of a feel for it. At the end of the email ask if they'd like to know more or perhaps try out the app before it goes live.
No-one likes receiving generic emails, so make sure you use their real name instead of simply saying "Hi". This always goes a long way and at least shows you've put in more effort than most! Using no name or accidentally putting in the wrong name is a tell-tale sign that it's a bulk email and an instant turn off.
Generally, people in the tech industry are a friendly bunch - just be yourself, don't be pushy or demanding. If you do get a response from any journalists, keep the conversation going where possible and work on building a rapport with them (this will help with your next app). Keep them posted on the launch date and let them know you'll send over the official press release and press kit a few days before the app goes live.
Follow up with a great press release
A good press release is short and to the point, it lays out the facts in a standard, easily readable format. Start it with a great headline that will hopefully grab the attention of most journalist looking for something interesting to cover. Writing a great headline is hard and an art in itself, just don't go over the top and remember to keep it concise and snappy. After the initial headline you'll want to sum up what your app does in a paragraph or two. Explain who it's for, what it does and why it's unique. After that you'll want to list out the features, availability, pricing, contact details and finish up with your company boilerplate, if you have one.
Example Press Release
I've put together a press release template over on Github that you can and should use as a starting point.
Before you send out your next press release check it against the following to make sure you have everything covered.
- Be honest
- Keep it short and concise
- Avoid buzzwords
- Write a great headline
- Sum up the app (1-2 paragraphs)
- List out major features (3-6 bullet points)
- Pricing and availability details
- AppStore URL
- App Landing Page URL
- PressKit URL
- Your contact details (Email, Mobile, Twitter)
- Company Boilerplate
I hope the tips and advice I've outlined in this article help make your next app launch that little bit more successful.