Transcript:

Coming I’m going to share some wins and loses from the previous month and also can press releases help you improve your keyword rankings on Google Play? You’ll find out. Stay tune.

What is up App Nation? It is Steve P Young, founder of appmasters.com. And in this video, I want to talk all about what happened last month, May 2016. And talk about some of the lessons. I think I want to do this every month, and I’m going to try to do this every month, because it’ll force me to run a lot of experiments for you. And I want to share some of these experiments that we ran in May, and some of the lessons that we learned through that.

And the key, and I’m going to put a blog post together about this case study, ’cause I want to run 1 more test. But we’re trying to test out if press releases can help you with your keyword rankings on Google Play. So if you want to get access to this blog post, and know when it comes out, make sure you’re subscribed to the App Masters email list. Right now, go to appmasters.com, and click on any blog post. And sign up for that email list, and you’ll be the first to know if press releases can help you rank better for keywords on Google Play, alright?

But let’s get to this, the content of this video, and let’s talk a little bit about what happened in May 2016, last month. So just some of the wins, alright? We had some really, really awesome wins in May, and we didn’t have too many app launches – which actually makes it a better story. Because we had a lot more wins, given that there weren’t that many launches. So our percentage, our win percentage was huge, right?

So number 1, our app, so I started – for those who aren’t familiar or following along that closely. Which is fine, I don’t expect you to know everything about me. But I started this game publishing company, because I’m leveraging some of the tactics I’ve used for clients, and now I’m using it for my own apps. And this app, Paint Ball Rush, was actually featured by Apple in China. Now we actually pitched the US App Store manager, and I think what happens after that is – he was receptive to it.

So I sent over the spreadsheet, filled it all out and then he – I think internally sent it out to the rest of the editors. And China loved it. And just so you guys know, in China, from that feature, we got about 30 000 downloads from that whole week. So it was just in China. And unfortunately this will – I’m going to share this in the losses. I was actually hoping for a worldwide feature, but heck, I will take one country feature – and China is a pretty big country, so it was a really, really good win.

And I was hoping for the worldwide, but I’m going to settle for China. And if you’re not familiar with this, I’m going to link up the blog post that I highlight how to get featured by Apple. And it says the same strategy that we use to pitch the Apple contact there.

The other huge win was one of our clients, Steve – The Jumping Dinosaur – if you’re not familiar with this game, you’ve got to definitely go check it out. It’s a game that allows you to play straight from the notification widget. So it’s a really, really cool app. But Steve – The Jumping Dinosaur, it was featured on TechCrunch. So really, really cool. And in my lessons – so a little tease – in my lessons part of this video, I’m going to tell you how this all occurred.

Steve-o here is the one who actually – if you guys are familiar with the podcast, he was interviewed, one of my past guests. He was interviewed on the podcast. So I told Steve about the story, and he wanted to cover it. So it was really, really cool. But this app was acquired from – acquired by Genera Games. Really, really cool indie success story. And if you heard Ivan – if you haven’t heard that podcast, I did an interview with Ivan, and you can hear how he created the game and his whole backstory too. Really brilliant story, really cool.

Another success story was MadHat, another client of ours got covered on Mashable. So a little PR tip for you guys following along. Karissa Bell is a writer on Mashable, and she writes a round up every weekend of 5 – I think it’s now recently 7 apps you have to definitely check out this weekend. And I generally use that to pitch her. And I say, “Hey Karissa, here’s a great app for your round up.” And you can do the same thing. And we got MadHat on there. And she really likes a lot of the creative type of apps. So photo, video type of things generally make it on. A few games we’ve gotten on to Mashable. Anything sort of creative and that fits the Mashable sort of brand, you can likely get it onto her roundup.

And we’ve seen some really good results. By being featured on Mashable, we’ve seen anywhere from I think it’s 40 to 50% increases in downloads, just by being on Mashable. Even though you’re 1 of 5. So it really, really helps to be on Mashable. But like I said, I think we had officially 3 or 4 launches, right? If you include our app. And almost – so you see 2 of our apps got featured on some really prominent sites. So from an agency standpoint, I feel like we’re doing really well. From just a PR and promotion standpoint.

Alright, last thing is a personal thing. So in May, I actually said yes to everything. Everything. You can ask me anything in May. If I wanted to do this or that and this. I just said yes. So one of the things I was asked to do was to actually be part of a webinar, “5 reasons why apps fail.” And it was a round up. It was me and a few other people around the app industry, and it was put on by Koombea. So Koombea is an app development shop I think. And they asked me to come on. And I said, “Sure.” I didn’t even ask any questions. Like I said in May, I said yes to everything. So I said, “Yes, let’s do it.” And so I did do it.

And the other thing I want to tell you about before I go sort of into the lessons part of this is – I had a 1 day mastermind retreat, and it was stinking awesome. I’m going to share that a little bit, sort of the format a little bit in the video. But it was so awesome. It was in person, and it was just – it was something I’ve wanted to do, so I just asked a few of my friends if they were interested in doing it. 6 – in total 6 of us who were involved, and they said, “Yes.” And so we did it at San Jose, at my friend Gonzala’s (6:25?) house. But it was awesome.

Alright so some things that did not work, okay? I had to actually let go of a contractor that I was using. I bought her on because I needed somebody to fill this role. And unfortunately it just didn’t work out. And some of the pains – the growing pains of running my own business that I’m starting to learn is – how do you hire the right person? So as you might be sort of listening – as you’re listening to the podcast, you might hear me ask a lot of my interviewees, “How do you hire? What does your process look like?” Because that’s something that I’m having difficulty doing. So I had to let her go.

The other thing that I did, and I sort of alluded to it earlier. Was, I was testing a lot on Google Play and ASO. So with the press release, this is a strategy I used on SEO days where you sort of link the keywords that you want to your website. And you start increasing keyword rank, right? For – on an SEO basis. So I wanted to know if this would work on Google Play. Because I know on Google I/O a few years ago, Google actually uses that to factor in your keyword rankings. So if you’re – let’s say – here, let me rephrase.

If – let’s say you have a site or an app that is photo filters for instance, right? And people – websites are using photo filters – that keyword to link to your Google Play listing. Then you’ll start increasing keyword ranks for photo filters. So with the press release – this is our SEO hack, with press releases, you can get distribution on some really, really high end sites. Like Yahoo News, and all these other things, right?

And so I thought – hey, could I do the same thing – write a press release, link up special keywords, and then distribute that–? Or link up special keywords to the ones that we’re targeting to the Google Play listing, and then distribute that, so that we get this press release on some really high ranking sites like Yahoo News and so forth. And because we’re on there, will we increase our rank for those particular keywords?

So, what happened is, I need to do more tests, but one worked – one worked. We actually helped our client increase rank for some terms that he was using. It was a phrase, right? And we had a couple of different phrases in the press release linked to his Google Play app listing, right? That one worked. I can see it on the day that we distributed the press release, he were starting to see an increase in keyword ranks, okay? It wasn’t high, we didn’t get into like the top 10. ‘Cause we started from a low barrier. But this was again a test, and we got it, we got it up there. I think we jumped maybe 10 to 15 spots.

The other time we did it, we did it for an app name. Now this particular client wasn’t ranking for – let’s say Instagram, right? He made up this name. He wasn’t ranking at all for this particular keyword. And so I said, “Okay, let me try the same strategy.” I did a press release – ’cause we were launching his app anyways. I already wrote a press release for him. And I linked up his app name to the Google Play listing. Now this was more natural, right? From that perspective, it’s more natural to have your app name linked to your Google Play listing. Unlike the first one, which is so natural, we kinda forced it in. But it worked.

This one actually didn’t work. We didn’t see any increases, we didn’t get any indexed at all. But I’ll tell you what did work. So I ran the Blackhat ASO strategy on that particular keyword, and boom – we’re now in number 1. So I’m going to do a future case study, but it seems like the Blackhat ASO strategy, where I use App Store reviews to sort of play around with ASO – that works a lot better than just this press release strategy, okay?

And the other loss that I kinda alluded to earlier too was – Paint Ball Rush was not featured worldwide. It was featured in China, which is a win – I’m going to take it, okay? You’ve got to celebrate the small wins. But unfortunately, I wanted the worldwide feature, and we didn’t land that. So, didn’t work.

Alright, I want to end with this. Some of the lessons that really, really mattered. Now this was a video a couple of weeks ago – relationships matter. I mean, gosh, it matters. Steve-o here wrote about that, because he did an interview. I really started to nurture that relationship, build that relationship. And heck, I really like the guy, right? And so it’s all about relationships. I know it all matters, and it’s so powerful, right?

Because of this podcast, because I get to interview a lot of people on this podcast, and really take aim – what’s the right word? I’m very curious about them, right? I want to make them the focal point of the interview. It so matters. And I always try to find 1 or 2 things that we can – we have in common, so that we can build upon that. Especially in the very start, right? It’s so hard to figure out what you have in common. Those common themes are what separates it.

And for Steve, we had something in common where we were podcasters. I knew he was a fellow podcaster too, and he had a mic. And so we’re kind of sharing – after the interview, we were sharing photos about what our set up looked like. And that’s – that’s all it took, right? That’s how you nurture a relationship. Find that little – 1 or 2 things that you have in common, and just – that’s it. We’ll start there, and then we’ll grow out, right?

The other thing is something that I’ve talked about a lot, but I want to remind you. Is to leverage Product Hunt for more press. That’s what we did with MadHat. It was featured on Product Hunt, it was submitted by a moderator – or somebody with a pretty big following on Product Hunt. We didn’t even get them any uploads, frankly on Product Hunt.

But at the same time, when in my pitch to Karissa for Mashable, I said, “Hey Karissa, this is an app that’s being featured by Product Hunt right now.” And I said, “We’d love for you to consider it for your round up post this weekend.” Ba, da, da, da – and I went into the pitch. What the app was about, here’s some links and so forth, right? You really have to leverage it. If the app was doing really well in Product Hunt, I would include a screen shot. If it’s 1 or 2, I include a screenshot when I’m reaching out to the press, to try to leverage Product Hunt.

Because unlike other publications, right, if you went to Mashable and said, “Hey, I was just featured on TechCrunch.” Mashable is going to say, “Why do we need to feature it?” But unlike that, Product Hunt is sort of community driven. So they don’t compete. Mashable’s not going to think, “Oh well, you’ve already been on Product Hunt, why do I have to actually look at you?”

And a past client of mine who was featured on TechCrunch, actually got covered by TechCrunch and said, “Hey, how did you find out about us?” She said, “Look, we saw it on Product Hunt, we saw it on different publications, and then decided to feature it.” So you don’t want to mention – I think, what I’ve heard from reporters is that – they usually don’t like that you’ve been featured on other websites, especially big websites that they might compete with. Because then, what’s the point of covering you? But for Product Hunt, it is okay, right?

The other thing is hire slow, fire fast. It’s – I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times. And I almost needed to go through it myself to do that. But I hired this person that I let go of last month pretty quickly, based on – I thought her organisation skills were good, but I said, “Forget it.” Lesson learned – fire fast. So I did let her go really fast. Said, “It’s not working out. You made 2 critical mistakes that I did not appreciate.” I just let her go really quick.

And the other thing, I’m reading, “The Virtual Freedom,” by Chris Ducker. Because I’m a big fan of just in time learning, right? I’m trying to grow out this team. And so this is a really critical book for me. But he says, “Hire for the task, not the role.” I think that’s how he puts it. I’m paraphrasing here. But – hire for the person that is for the special task. I should’ve hired somebody who was a product manager or a project manager and a PR person.

Those are 2 separate people I should hire, instead of trying to find somebody just like me. Who can pretty much – I’m trying to clone myself, and I can’t do it. And you can’t do it. So really hire for the task rather than the role. And that’s what I’ve learned through this. So now I’m just hiring somebody just who’s really creative, and a PR/growth hacker, right? And we may not be a good – the good opposite. Meaning like, we as growth hackers are not good with organisation. Which is fine. But I could find somebody for that. But the other – at the same time, I needed to hire for actually the task at hand.

And lastly, in person Mastermind – wholly cow, so phenomenal. My mind was blown. It was 6 people. Most people had met – half the group had met each other already, the other half hadn’t. Obviously I was the glue, the connector. That – I knew everybody there. But we got very intimate. We shared all our numbers. Here’s how much we’re making, here’s where we want to be. And we had this sheet where we had to fill it out as each person got into the hot seat. And it was phenomenal. So it is something that I definitely want to do more of.

And if you’re interested, just email me. Because I don’t know when I’m going to do it, but I think I’m going to do it with just the people in my mastermind now. And say, “Hey you guys interested in doing this, let’s have this other retreat, and let’s do another one in person.” But the same people, the same 6 of us, we want to do it again in probably 3 or 4 months, just to get caught up with what our goals were for – from, leading from this particular mastermind. But it was very, very cool.

Stay in tune for the blog post, and I’ll share the script and the way we structured it and the format, because that’s something I really, really love. And I’m going to share that in a future blog post. But really, really cool. I’m a big proponent of masterminds and doing it in person for the very first time – wow, I was blown away. And the fact that we got so personal, and we opened up – really, really took it to another level. And I think it helped a lot of people. Everybody said they loved it. They really had a good time. And the fact that I know that they had a good time is – everybody started planning the next one, right? That’s when you know people loved, really loved that particular mastermind and the idea.

Alright guys, that’s it for now. Like I said, if you’re not already a part of the App Masters email subscriber list, go sign up. Because you’re going to be the first one to know all about these blog posts that I’ve been writing. Some phenomenal blog posts that get – if you like the podcast, you know I get into the weeds, very detail oriented blog posts that you can use step by step to grow your app business.

And if you are struggling with anything, feel free to please reach out to me. I do calls every single day. Depends on the day, but usually Wednesday’s every single week. To get on calls to help people with whatever they may be struggling with. So if you’ve got something you’re struggling with, or just want to talk to me – feel free to reach out to me. My email’s easy to find. Go find it, ’cause I want hustlers, I’m not just going to tell you. Go find it, it’s really, really easy.

And that’s it. Tune in. Oh, and if you’re enjoying this podcast, do me a favor. If you haven’t already, go into iTunes, it’s appmasters.com/itunes. Leave a review. Be honest. If you don’t like it, great. If you want to give me some feedback in there, great. But leave me a real review about what you think of the podcast, so other people can find this particular podcast. A lot of people have come to me and said, “Steve, I can’t find your podcast.” I need to do a better job of making sure discover-ability is fixed for this particular podcast, ’cause I know, I know this is one of the very best podcasts in the app space, because nobody does it like me. Nobody gets as in-depth as I do. Nobody cares as much about the interview process as I do.

Alright guys, that’s it for now, thank you so much for tuning in. Your attention means the world to me. Really, really appreciate – really, really appreciate it. And I’ll see you on the next video. Bye.