Writing and distributing your app press release is a step you don’t want to skip. You started your app marketing efforts early, you’ve built a mailing list, you’ve engaged your users and got useful feedback. Your app is awesome and almost ready to be launched. Now you need to let journalists, bloggers and key influencers you identified in your app domain know about it. Even the big guys in the industry don’t assume that bloggers will automatically know about your app, so why should you?
But how do you write an effective press release? You have to respect the standard rules and syntax so that it’s easy for reporters and bloggers to scan your story for its key elements. You also want to make sure that by scanning it, they will get a good sense of what’s unique and newsworthy about your app (it is, right?). What you also want to keep in mind is that you have to stay factual in your press release and not be using marketing adjectives like “great”, “amazing” and so forth. Finally, keep it under one page.
Breaking down the press release structure
To help you write your press release, here is a sample of one and a breakdown of its elements. The press release example below is based on the one given by Dave Wooldridge in its book The Business of iPhone App Development and seems to be working just fine.
Before we start: the question of when to send your press release to your contacts is an important one. If you want journalists not to publish a story right away you can mention “Under embargo until” on the press release. That allows you to send it to them a few days prior to launch, along with your app demo video, and it lets them write their story to publish it on your app launch date. Be careful, though, they sometimes just ignore the embargo (so repeat it in your email as well). Also, you don’t want to send them an actual attachment like the file below (which is more for your press kit): you should insert your text-only press release in the body of your email. Finally, don’t just mass-email all your identified contacts: try to learn more about what they write and for who. Show them that you know their work (don’t try too hard, though).
A: App Icon and app name / Company. Insert your magnificient app icon at the top of the press release along with your app name (not the “long version” you might use on the AppStore or Google Play). It could also be your company name and logo, depending on which one you want to put the focus on (if you company is unknown, I suggest you focus on the app).
B: Subject line. This one is key. Like said before, you should stay factual and use something like “company releases product for platform”. It’s pretty hard but if you can, make it captivating and try mentioning something unique about your app (an award, its usage, etc.).
C. Summary line. If you haven’t lost journalists by now, this is where you have to convince them that your story is worth reading (and therefore that theirs will be too) so they go through more of your press release. You want to make clear what are the basics of your app and what makes it unique at the same time.
D. Introduction. Start with your location and release date. Re-explain in 2/3 sentences what your app is all about (not the features, the actual goal of the app) and who it is for.
E. Screenshots. Obviously that’s only for the press release pdf you’ll put in your app press kit, not for the text-only version you’ll send in the body of your emails. Since you already have made and selected the best screenshots for your app details page on the store, why not use them?
F. Description. This part is the main body of your press release, and should (and I’ll just quote Dave) “explain in concise detail exactly what your app does, what features and benefits it provides, and why people should care”. A great addition to the app explanation is a nice and short quote from you or from a partner. Besides being pretty fun to write, it lets you bring up a different aspect of the app. Here’s a good post on how to write a killer press release quote.
G. Pricing, availability and coming up. Just a line or 2 full of facts: stating the app’s price, the OS requirements, countries, etc. What I like to add is a really short preview/teaser of what’s coming up: the next app to come in the same app series or something exciting. Make sure you don’t confuse the reader, though.
H. Website URL and info. That’s were you want to mention your app website’s or company website URL and suggest visiting it for more information, screenshots and demo videos.
I. About your company. Throw a line about your company at the end of your press release. You can mention awards or other well-known and appreciated apps you’ve produced.
J. End of the press release. The “###” symbols in the center mark the end of the press release content.
K. Media contact information. That’s where you put some info about how to reach you for further information or interviews. Don’t hesitate to give several ways to reach you.
So here it is, the basic structure for your app press release. Now make good use of it!
You can use press releases for other things than your app launch: an award, a new platform supported, a v2, etc.
Are press releases too old school?
Maybe, but they still work. Sometimes old school can be better depending on who you’re targeting. If you’re writing to a newspaper reporter, an official press release is the way to go and old school doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Press releases are not dead.
On the other hand, a press release is not meant for all public and if you want to target social media or your potential users you can also write an alternative press release. Check out this great post by CopyBlogger on how to write a social media press release.
Where to distribute, submit or send your press release?
We’ll talk more about that in another post but besides the famous iPhone/Android blogs that will depend on the market you target. Do some research and identify who are the key influencers you should contact. You can also try more local newspaper, that might be happy to talk about your work. Of course, not everyone you contact will publish a story about your app so don’t lose faith and try to develop relationships with reporters/bloggers.
Any good tips to add on how to write a press release for an app? Leave us a comment!