5 Ways to Use PR to Drive App Downloads
For many app developers, using PR to drive app downloads for their mobile games & apps is almost an afterthought. Most app developers send out a single press release on the launch date of the app, and hope for the best. This kind of “last minute” PR is a huge missed opportunity. With better PR to promote your app, you can build a much bigger audience for your app than by relying on the app stores and social media alone.
Effective PR strategies can help you get your app in front of influential bloggers and journalists who will spread the word about your app more powerfully than you can on your own.
Here are a few ways that developers can think beyond the press release to generate PR buzz and drive app downloads:
- Lock in your launch date early: It’s easier to get journalists’ attention if you talk to them early. Journalists don’t like to suddenly be faced with a last-minute deadline – and just because it’s important to you doesn’t mean it’s going to be important to them. Give yourself at least a month leading up to your launch date to pitch journalists and introduce your app to key bloggers and reviewers. Not only is this important for journalists, but it’s also important for editorial promotion on app stores.
- Organize activities that generate buzz: Guerrilla marketing is a popular concept for big product launches that can also be used for introducing your app. Whether you give away free virtual goods that can be used on your app, or host a virtual event to create excitement for your app, or hire an online “street team” to help build anticipation for your app launch by sharing messages and teaser content in online forums, there are many simple, cost-effective ways to promote your app and build buzz that can then take on a story of its own. Just remember to be honest, be respectful, and relevant – guerrilla marketing can become spam if it’s not done right.
- Think of unique angles for the most important sites: In addition to sending out a press release, spend some time focusing your attention on a few key bloggers, publications or sites that you would most like to see cover your app. Think of newsworthy angles that connect your app to broader stories and trends. For example, if you are developing a time management app related to cooking, you could search for bloggers who write about cooking and explain how your app is relevant to their audience. Remember to promote the idea that your product is part of, not your product itself. In PR, the biggest story is not usually going to be your app itself – but your app can get media coverage if it is connected to a larger idea or story that is interesting from a news angle.
- Use content to drive media attention: Press releases are still a powerful way to share your story with the media, but they’re not the only way – there are many ways to use rich media like online video, slideshows or virtual events to convey the key messages about your app. Along with your press release, include a well-edited YouTube video that shows the key features of your app in action. Record a video podcast with some of your most enthusiastic fans discussing the new levels & characters of your game. Make your app more real to the media by showing that it exists as part of a larger community.
- Build a larger media kit: Go beyond a press release and create a simple media kit with additional information and context that bloggers and journalists will want to use to learn more about your app. For example: Bios of the app’s creators/company leaders. Explain who you are, how you got started in app development, and why you are good at what you do. Talk about past success stories with other apps you’ve launched. Share stats about total downloads, app rankings and the size of your user community. Include photos/screen captures of your app to show how it looks.
Many app developers aren’t sure how to proceed with an effective PR plan, so they sell themselves short by just sending out a brief press release. PR is all about building relationships with journalists and bloggers and giving them a relevant news “hook” that shows how your app’s story can contribute to a larger story that will interest their readers. PR isn’t about mass e-mails and boring press releases – it should be creative, thoughtful and fun, helping to show the world why your app is so unique and fun, ultimately driving substantial app downloads.
What’s your take on this? How do you use PR to promote your apps?