The ten commandments of app marketing, by Appromoter MD Ed Vause
#8 Thou shalt obey these 8 tips for your media launch
You can view a complete collection of all the commandments of app marketing we've published to-date here.
Here at Appromoter, we've spent many years dealing with the games media. If you want the best chance of being featured, then bear these eight tips in mind.
1. Have a media strategy in place
Many developers give little thought as to how they intend to launch their game to the media. Many think that putting a badly-written release on PrMac constitutes a strategy, but it doesn't.
You really need to think about how you're going to get the message out to the media and understand what makes them tick or how they best respond to what you have to offer.
Just some of the key considerations for your media strategy will be:
What's your intended launch date? Work your way back from there.
Will you run a preview campaign?
Reaching out for reviews under embargo before launch.
Writing your release.
Pulling together your media list (can be hundreds).
Issuing review promo codes.
2. Generate some pre-launch hype
The day that you launch should not necessarily be the first time that people hear about your app.
The media are interested in forthcoming games, as long as they are interesting and different, and not just another horrible derivative Angry Zombie Ninja Birds farming game.
If you want to let journalists know about your game, send them a short note simply telling them what it is, when you will be releasing it and add two or three screenshots or even some native art.
If the media are interested, then they'll mention it.
Always have a Facebook or Twitter profile ready for people to go to and follow you. This way, it means that anyone interested in your game can keep up to date with the latest developments.
3. Get your timing right
This really appeals to iOS developers, but a lot of you seem to not realise that once your app is approved then you need not launch it there and then.
Once your app is approved, offer the game for review to the media. If you get a response, issue them with a promo code under embargo which means that the journalist understands not to issue the release until you give them the all-clear on launch day.
This way, your launch day will hopefully have several reviews appear at once. Once launch day arrives, make the app live and tell the media who are reviewing your game that it is live.
4. Write a strong press release
I hope that I don't offend any of you, but experience shows us that developers are not always the best people to write a really strong release.
I could write a whole blog constructing a good press release, but we recommend that you use someone experienced to write the release for you.
The release should say clearly what the app does with some bullet point features. Include links to the App Store/Google Play, social media, website, press kit and YouTube.
5. Create a digital press kit
You need to hand it all to the media on a plate and make their lives as easy as possible.
They like to have all the assets in one place screenshots, press release, video, contact details. This is usually best done by zipping up a file and putting it on Dropbox, then sharing the link.
Alternatively (and I apologise that this is a very shameless plug), on Appromoter we also give all developers a free microsite to host all their media assets as well as a dedicated URL for their app.
If you don't have a promo trailer for your game then it is a must if the media are going to consider your app. Read our other column here on the importance of creating a great video.
6. Go easy on the promo codes (for iOS only)
Once you're approved then Apple allocates you 50 promo codes to allocate at will. These can be used for reviews, for competitions or even for friends.
Once you request a promo code then it only lasts for 30 days so we recommend that you only draw them down as you need them. Don't draw down all 50 at once as then the clock will be ticking.
7. Carefully target your media
Some apps may require multiple lists a sports game will appeal to sports media as well as games media. Likewise, a kids game will appeal to 'mommy' bloggers just as it will to the games media.
That's why your game will possibly need to have multiple lists that target the specialist sectors that relate to your app.
It's also important to remember that you're not just going after websites. You also need to consider TV, radio, podcasts, YouTube channels and print (which often appears on iPad).
Creating media lists can be massively time-consuming so it may be worth considering using a specialist agency for reaching out the press.
8. Understand the media
The games media are swamped with daily requests for reviews, previews and everything else. They are also looking for interesting, quality content.
The important thing is to send them clear information and not to drive them crazy, spam them or keep bugging them.
When you launch, send a concise email with a short note in a sentence or two about the app and paste the press release into the body of the mail. Don't add any attachments or you'll end up in the spam folder or just make them angry.
You may want to include a link to the trailer in the opening sentences so that the journalist can quickly evaluate of your app if worth a further look/mention. Remember to offer the journalist a promo code and perhaps ask if they want to run a promo code competition.
Don't expect to hear back. Set up Google Alerts and you'll see if you have been featured or not. If not, then don't take it personally. They have a huge amount of requests and simply cannot respond to everyone.
On a final note, there is an excellent article by Jon Jordan here that you should also read from a journalist's perspective.
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