Every app developer wants his app reviewed on popular blogs, as it’s probably one of the best way (with promo campaigns) to gain a lot of exposure and get downloads. So how does one get such a review? Well, if you’re not one of the big guys yet you need to ask for it. And you need to do it the right way.
If you’ve tried it before, you know it’s far from easy to get a free review (don’t even bother with paying for one – it’s proven useless in most cases) and there are many mistakes you want to avoid.
What you need to include
Just like for how to write a press release I could share with you the email sample I usually use. But guess what? There’s actually a great and insightful interview already online where Erica Sadun from TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog) answers questions from the App Design Vault on how to successfully pitch your app and make sure it gets reviewed. That way, you don’t even have to take my word for it!
Bloggers are really busy and basically the idea of this email you send them is to include all the key elements about your app and why the blogger should even bother looking more into it. You will find that several elements are the same than for a press release, which makes this email kinda like a “short press release”. These elements, that Erica details in the interview, are the following:
- The name of your app exactly as it is spelt on the App Store
- What it does, and why it is different
- The price
- One link to your product page (Your website)
- One link to the iTunes product page and/or Google Play product page
- One or two screenshots
- A video (important!) 30 seconds to a minute.
- A description in a concise paragraph. Say who your audience is, what your app does, what sets it apart from the crowd.
- Contact information. An email and not a link to a contact form
- Skype IDs, Twitter IDs
Check out the Review Request Sample Pitch
Wait! What about my press release?
What’s the point of writing a press release if you end up sending an email to bloggers and journalists? Your press release is a must-have in your app press kit and you can publish it on a major PR site. Also, I’ve seen some bloggers request a press release, so you better not make them wait when they ask for it. More traditional reporters (from big or local newspapers for example) still expect you to send a press release, no matter how intrigued they can be by your review request. It really depends who you’re writing to.
When you add your press release to your pitch, don’t add it as an attachment but in the body of your email. You can mention in your email that the press release is at the bottom of it and insert it under your signature for example.
A few other things to keep in mind
I’d like to add a few points to what Erica says in the interview:
- Don’t forget that no matter how well crafted this email is, you won’t get results if you don’t identify correctly the person or blog you send it too: no iPhone games blog is going to write about your productivity app.
- Be nice. You’re writing to someone that doesn’t know you at all and asking him to review your app. Know who you’re talking to and use their name. “Hi XXX” can go a long way: check out Rob Walch’s interview, who has run the longest iOS podcast out there, explaining you why. Don’t come across as pretentious and don’t try too hard neither (they’re not your buddies).
Some blog reviewers advise to make a first light contact with the blog if they don’t know you, telling them about the upcoming app and asking permission to let them know when it’s out. That way, you’re not sending a “my first app is published” email. For some reviewers (as Erica), the first email needs to be the one and include everything. So here you go, you’ll have to make that choice yourself.
- No mass emails. That comes along with the previous point: if you want any chance of having something published about your app, write individual emails and adapt them slightly to who you’re writing to.
Oh and if you want results, you’ll also need an awesome app. And persistence.
Do you have any tips to add on how to make a good pitch and request a review? Share it in the comments!
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