When we launched Crew a couple months ago, we didn’t really know how we were going to tell people about it. We wanted to shout it from the top of a mountain but our mountain was in the middle of nowhere.
It took us 2 weeks and countless hours of research to refine our press-getting process.
Our launch ended up being covered by over 20 major tech publications, including TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and Cult of Mac. Although Crew is a web-based product, these same tactics can be applied for your mobile app.
Why is press important you might say? Media coverage can bring a large amount of early customers to your app, and help give you the momentum you need to crack the App Store charts, giving you visibility to stay in the eyes of App Store browsers.
Praise from the press can also be used to beef up and add credibility to your App Store listing.
I’m going to tell you, step-by-step, what we did.
1. Target press leads
App review and press sites are not created equal. Some will convert much better than others and certain journalists will be much more interested in your app than others. It’s important to identify journalists that fit your app’s industry.
Find leads through a competitor
One of the best ways to find targeted press leads for your industry is by searching for a competitor’s app URL and finding which journalists have written about them. Do this by:
- Going to http://www.alexa.com/
- Search the competitor’s app domain (i.e. fiftythree.com)
- Click “Sites Linking In”
This will also give you valuable info. as to which sites have the most traffic and reputation. The “Sites Linking In” list created by Alexa shows the top 100 sites with inbound links to the app.
Create a Google Spreadsheet of these writers that includes:
- Contact Email
- Link to an article they’ve written in the past that relates to your app
2. Write your press release and assemble your press kit
The purpose of preparing your press release and press kit is to give journalists more info. if/when they express interest in your story, not something that is sent upfront.
How often do you open pdf or zip file attachments in an email from a stranger? Exactly. Don’t do it until they’ve said they want to hear more.
Preparing your press release and press kit early will allow you to follow up quickly if a journalist asks for it in a followup email.
Here’s what you should include in your press release document:
- App Name
- App Store Link: (to be updated on launch day)
- Category: (i.e. Music, Productivity, etc.)
- About: A clear, concise (3-4 paragraphs max.) story of what your app does and what makes it unique, how your app came to be, or what problem it solves and why you decided to solve it with your app.
- Demo Video
- Personal Twitter
- Phone number
Once you’ve written your press release, you should include it within your press kit, a .zip file that has:
- Your press release
- App icon (with sizes 56×56, 114×114, 256×256, 512×512)
- Marketing images (if you have them)
- Team pic(s) (if you have them)
3. Pitching the press
Make sure to keep your email message short and to the point. Journalists are very busy and many receive 100s of pitches a day. Here were going to show you a couple examples of cold emails that worked for us to get press coverage.
Send your initial pitch email at least 2 weeks before you plan on launching.
Initial pitch email example:
Here’s a pitch format that has proven to convert at a high rate when sent out to journalists at major tech publications. It’s clear and concise but also requires you to do your research about the writer and the publication. A journalist cares about content that resonates with their audience so you should make sure that your app is a fit for their readers.
Hi [author’s first name] – Launch story for a new app that [secret sauce or unique value of your app]
Hey [author’s first name],
A while back you wrote an interesting piece about [an app similar to yours or maybe a piece the author wrote about your space] and how it [something interesting from that article]. [Your opinion or write a sentence about how this relates to your app]. Our app, [your app name], is building a [unique value of your app].
We’re launching in the App Store on [your launch day].
Do you think this could be an interesting story for your readers?
[your first name]
Tip: Some writers might ask for an embargo, or when they are allowed to publish the article. Make sure to keep all the journalists who will be writing about your app on the same page by letting them know the date and time they are allowed to post your release.
Reply Followup email example:
If a journalist responds to your initial email, followup right away with a concise email and your press kit. Remember, don’t send any attachments to a journalist until they’ve expressed interest in your story. They won’t open it. Here’s an example of a followup email.
Hey [writer’s first name],
Thanks for the message. Attached is our release and press kit.
Let me know if you have any followup questions. You can reach me by email or on my cell [cell number] anytime.
[your first name]
4. Post writeup
After your writeup is live, make sure to stay on top of all the comments for all the articles written. Journalists will appreciate this gesture and it can open up the potential for future communication and more coverage.
Many journalists write interesting content so keep up with the relationships you’ve started with the ones that wrote about your app. Follow them on Twitter and be genuinely interested in the long-term relationship you’re building with them.
Image credit: FateDenied