Launch day is approaching, you’ve been building your email list of interested users and now you’d like to make sure your app launch is going to get covered by blogs and newspapers. By some of them, at least. Getting blog reviews and newspaper articles is far from easy and requires well-crafted review request emails and persistence. But before that, you need to identify who are the reporters or journalists that can be interested by your app.
In this post I won’t talk too much about contacting key influencers in your app field, which is something you probably want to do early on in order to get feedback on your app and a better view of its potential market. Contacting people so they can talk about your app is kind of a never-ending task, so what you want to do is prioritize and contact the most interesting ones for your app.
Forget about paid reviews
If you contact a blog and they ask you to pay for a review, just forget about it. I’m still waiting to see someone happy about the results of these paid reviews, so prove me wrong 😉
Contact them if you know they should care
We’ve talked about this before: make sure the person you are writing to is going to be interested in your app (or should be, at least). That means no mass emails, and no writing to a game blog about your productivity app. There are very few chances that a journalist that never talks about apps or technology will be interested in your app, unless it’s very specific to its interests.
It also means not contacting them about every single update you make to your app…You have to keep it newsworthy: app launch, new OS supported, major update, etc.
Pitch them right
Finding blog and press contact is one thing, getting your app reviewed is another.
You need the right pitch.
The kinda pitch that will make them want to know more. There are a couple things you need include (and not include) in your email pitch so you’re not disqualified from the start: general info about your app (name, price), what it does and why it’s different, a link to the product page, a video, a brief description, and contact info.
Your email has to be short.
Famous iPhone/Android/Tech Blogs
These are the hardest ones to get reviewed on. There is no shortage of list of blogs for reviewing iPhone apps or Android apps, and they receive tons of requests. You’d better have an awesome app and manage to stand out from the crowd to get reviewed on the most popular ones. Identify who in their redaction team would be more likely to write about your app and learn more about them (follow them on twitter, answer their questions, etc.). Sometimes you’ll just have to send an email using these terrible mailing form, never knowing if it goes through or not…
Starting smaller or local
What you can try to do if you’re not getting any response from the big blogs is to start smaller: having your app reviewed on a smaller blog might help you get the ball rolling and get the word out there about your app.
Another way to go, if your app is localized in several countries, is to target the major blogs of non-US countries with lots of iPhone users (or huge users growth). Depending on your app, think France, Spain, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, etc.
Most newspapers nowadays are both online and offline, and they usually have a technology section. If you’re not sure yet, check out if they write about mobile apps: some of them only talk about devices and major apps, which will make it unlikely that they talk about yours. What I do to make this process faster is I just type “iPhone” or “iPhone app” in the search box and see what comes up (I know, doesn’t take a genius to figure that out..).
Once you find articles about apps find out who is writing them, what they usually write about and look for a contact email for that person. If you can’t find one, Google them since they might be on about.me, twitter, or have a personal blog. You get the idea: find an email address by any (legal) means necessary and send them your well-crafted email along with your app press release. If they are only on twitter you can try to send them a tweet about your app. Save them some time, and include your app video link in the tweet.
Going (very) local
Depending on where you live and what is your app about, you might want to consider writing to local newspapers. They are sometimes happy to write about an innovative project coming from their city or region.
Finding even more press and blog contacts
From other apps
Something else you can do is look up your competitors’ apps on Google to find out who wrote about them. If they wrote about an app similar (but different) from yours, they might be interested in knowing about yours and could mention you in future articles.
You can also check websites backlinks (using Open Site Explorer for example) from other apps to know where they get most of their traffic from, or check out their press review if they have oone.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the specialized press. If your app is about a specific topic (health, travel, education, etc.) try finding where your potential users usually get their news from and what they read. Then, just like for the other ones, try contacting them the best way you can and ask for feedback if they are experts in their field.
Muck Rack & Twitter
An interesting tool I came across recently is Muck Rack, which allows you to know what journalists are talking about and therefore identify which are the ones that will be interested in your story. Searching for stories is only available in the Pro version, and I haven’t tried it yet, but you can browse the journalists contacts for free.
So here you are, a few tips on how to find more people that can talk about your app and generate downloads. Make sure you make good use of these contacts, keep trying and keep in touch with the bloggers and reporters that write you back. If they ask you for more information or a promo code, don’t make them wait!
Do you have other ways of finding blog and press contacts? Let others know in the comments!