“If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget I’d spend it on PR!” – Bill Gates
He’s damn right! And Neil Patel of Kissmetrics too endorses that the best bet in startup marketing is getting press. An effective and consistent digital public relations strategy can draw in the crowds over a longer term, just as in content marketing.
You’re more likely to download an app if you read about it in TechCrunch than when you see its advertisement telling you to download it. That’s the power of a third-party endorsement from the ones that you trust.
What people want to hear is a good story. Good PR is the telling of a good story. And presentation is key as well. In this article, we discuss every component that is key in getting press for your startup. Here’s what to expect:
- How to put together a press kit
- Distribution of press release
- Tools to help you in getting press
- Tips from media professionals and experts
Putting Together a Press Kit
#1 App Icon
Ideally an app icon should be the first element in your Press kit. Provide a high-quality app icon in different sizes (56×56, 114×114, 256×256, 512×512) and formats. For the web, png format and for print eps format are the most popular options.
Screenshots are the most telling element of your Press kit. They provide a real glimpse of your app. Have a variety of screen-shots available that show your app in action, but pick the feature that looks most impressive. Remember, if your app is on different platforms, make separate folders for each one.
#3 Review Guide
Provide a pdf file tailored for the Press and PR professionals, outlining how your app works. As the name suggests, it will be a guide to use your app. Give enough information to get started and highlight on the less obvious features.
#4 Press Release
Journalists aren’t looking to blow your trumpet, rather they’re interested in writing for their audience. So, don’t blow your own trumpet, but instead focus on how your app impacts the end customer and the benefits of using the app thereof.
However, information like app features, pricing, OS compatibility, FAQs, link to the app store profile page and contact details shouldn’t be missed as these are important components in getting press for your mobile app startup.
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#5 Demo Video
Creating a video to demonstrate what your app does is one of the best ways to get people excited about your app. Figure out a concept for the video and prepare a storyboard. Decide on the tone of the video, the background music and graphics. Write an interesting script and record a voiceover. For recording the video demo of your app you can use tools like ScreenFlow, Camtasia Studio, QuickTime, SimFinger, Reflector, or Sound Stage.
Once ready, upload the video on YouTube or Vimeo. Research on some frequently searched terms or keywords and put relevant ones in the title and description of your video. You could hire services of voice over artist or specific animation skills at Fiverr.
#6 Company Profile
This is a bonus element which might or might not be included in the Press kit. Giving a brief profile about your company, founders and history will help the Press build the base for the story. Give a short snippet about how the idea clicked and what are the future plans. You can give the links to your social accounts, website and microsite.
How often do you open pdf or zip file attachments in an email from a stranger?
So, don’t send the whole Press kit zipped in a folder to your whole media list. Journalists are very busy and receive many pitches every day. The key is to get noticed, and this is where most appreneurs falter in getting press.
Always keep the kit ready to send through an email if asked by anyone. But before doing that, develop a connection with the journalists, tech bloggers and other influencers within the industry. Follow them and their work on social media. Try engaging in productive conversations by commenting, subscribing, complimenting their work.
Then send an email pitch to introduce your app, that too only to relevant people based on their interest and if they’ve covered similar stories in the past.
Send the Press kit when they want to hear more on the app.
Meanwhile, dedicate an easy-to-find page for your press kit on your app’s landing page. Also have a Dropbox or Google Drive link to the press kit that can be found on your social media profiles.
Tools To Help You Get By
This is a tool that lets you search people’s Twitter bios. You can find reporters from your industry. For example, if you want to get covered by Mashable, you could search for “Mashable” and then browse all twitter accounts that contain that keyword in the bio section, sorted by number of followers.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a free resource that serves as a vital social networking tool for sources and reporters alike. Many reporters use this service to request information for a story. It brings reporters, bloggers and news sources together. Using HARO regularly can help in getting press for your startup quickly.
Buzzsumo is best described as a social content analysis tool that helps you identify what content seems to get shared more frequently and across which platforms, as well as identifying the people who seem more predisposed to sharing certain types of content.
Since Buzzsumo filters results by time, you can see who covered your topic most recently and what kind of spread it received in social media.
#4 Muck Rack
Muck Rack is another tool that can find the right person to pitch your app. You can search by keywords, company names, competitors, beats, outlets, media types and more. It also allows you to receive email notifications when journalists tweet or link to articles matching your search terms. You can also add journalists to media lists and include private notes from past campaigns to make your upcoming outreach more efficient. Similar products in this space include: Contactable, PressPass and Hey Press.
Free Press Release (FPR) helps in getting your press release published. You can submit the press release and FPR distributes your news to the most popular search engines, journalists and target audience. The basic service with minimum features is free of cost. The premium plan starts at $19/press release.
Alltop is a blog discovery tool. The tool is known for its tight, topic-based groupings of the blogs and a handful of other informative sites. You can search by specific topics, to find what’s going on in your niche. This will help you build a list of bloggers in your niche and follow them.
Tips from Media Professionals and Experts
In an article, Buzzsumo compiled the interviews of top tech journalists and asked them what pitches they love to receive, and what they ignore. Here are the highlights.
#1 Anthony Ha, Techcrunch
The subject line should spell out what the news is and the pitch should be written in honest, plain English. Avoid Buzzwords!
#2 Jason Abbruzzese, Mashable
Lean and impactful PR pitches are the best. PR people who get to know the journalist, beat and their interests get more attention. Journalists don’t have time for a narrative. Organise the information in bullet points.
#3 Alice Truong, FastCompany
A good pitch is relevant and concise. A head’s up to upcoming news is often appreciated as well. I prefer to receive pitches on my separate Email ID that’s listed on my website and Twitter page.
#4 Paul Sawers, The Next Web
Just get straight to the facts, avoid hyperbole, buzzwords and rambling – just tell me why it’s different to the competition. I will usually take the time to reply to an email if they take out time to pitch me personally.
#5 Caitlin Kelly, NY Times
I delete virtually every email pitch I get. They’re 99.9% useless: generic, evergreen, have nothing to do with me or what I am working on. The only two emails I opened recently that were useful to me came from people who actually noticed what I cover.