I want to clear up some things for you regarding PR for apps. First, remember that we have helped launch hundreds of apps. We’ve helped clients get featured on Techcrunch, Venture Beat, Bustle, Mashable, Adweek and more.
So we know what we’re talking about.
Let me tell you PR is NOT always good for downloads.
Yes, PR can help you drive hundreds of thousands of downloads, but that’s not always the case. There are a large number of variables that play into whether or not an app is a success in terms of number of downloads. You have to remember that app success is a moving target, and you have to learn to move along with it.
Here are some things that you should know about a successful PR campaign for an app:
- PR depends heavily on the uniqueness of the app
- Timing is key and hard to predict (don’t launch the same week as Pokemon Go, for instance)
- Everything is about the story, try different angles
- A big publication will not always give you downloads
Even if a PR campaign takes off, it’s only for a short period of time. You need to have a proper acquisition channel in place so you can drive more downloads after the PR burst.
In addition, the biggest mistake I see app publishers make with PR is not leveraging it!
PR is phenomenal for many great things, but most app publishers only see it as a downloads driver. Here are a few ways you can leverage PR and make the most out of the PR you do receive.
I get many clients who say, “We need to be featured on TechCrunch or another big tech site because that’s what our investors want to see.” Having your app or company on a prominent blog can bring you investor awareness.
For a previous startup, we saw Mark Cuban use our platform after we were featured on TechCrunch.
If a big publication is what you seek, then I recommend using the exclusive strategy.
This was a strategy that two journalists told me about in their interviews on my podcast, and it’s something that we’ve used at our agency to get our clients press on some major publications.
2. Social Proof
The power of PR is that it’s earned media, meaning a reporter or publication thought that it was worth featuring on their website. This gives you plenty of leverage to use in your business development deals, more press on niche sites and social proof for your website.
You’ll notice that on my website, we have all the clients that we have helped launch, because it provides social proof that we are busy and good at what we do.
I’ve leveraged being featured on Product Hunt to get more press on Mashable. Don’t just sit back and relax after you get the press, go out there and leverage it towards your goal, whether it’s getting investors on board, signing a partnership, finding a publisher, or even building a relationship with an influencer.
3. Apple Feature
One of our most successful launches was the Fit Men Cook app. We hit #2 paid app overall, got a feature from Apple and the app went on to win the best of 2015 from Apple.
Our client, Andreas Kambanis, founder of Nibble Apps, thinks the key to an Apple Feature is going big with the launch of your app. Kambanis says that Nibble Apps has “always aimed to go big with our app launches, so that we can get a strong position in the charts. We always feel this helps us get noticed.”
Kambanis points out that an important aspect of the company’s launch plan for every app is “to get featured on sites that Apple employees are likely following. Aside from popular Apple blogs, we got a large number of upvotes on Product Hunt, too.”
4. Get More Press
The tech world is a small world. Many reporters read other publications, scour Product Hunt, and scroll through their Twitter feed. We recently helped a client get featured on Daily Dot and a day later, without pitching the publication, they were featured on Bustle.com.
This is by far my favorite press clipping, because our tweet was embedded in the post.
Another client who pitched TechCrunch multiple times to finally secure coverage asked the reporter what got them covered. The reporter said that she saw the app on other websites, email, Product Hunt, etc.
5. Increases App Store Conversion
A fundamental rule in conversion rate optimization is to use social proof in your marketing material. Examples of social proof include testimonials, customers and, of course, press coverage.
While these are commonplace on the web and many companies add the logos of their press coverage to their homepage, they fail to add these same logos to their App Store screenshots or description.
This is a missed opportunity to instill trust and convert the user into a download.
Take a look at one of 1Password’s screenshots. They do a great job of instilling trust with the marketing language and logos.
PR is terrific for many great things, but you can’t just view it as a downloads driver. While a great PR campaign can drive millions of downloads, this most likely won’t be the case for you. Even clients whom we helped get on Techcrunch, Venture Beat, Mashable, etc. have reported mixed download numbers.
However, the biggest mistake I see app publishers make with PR is to not capitalize on it. They generally move on and think about what other marketing channels they can attack.
Instead, app publishers should capitalize on their PR for investor relations, social proof, app store features, more press and app store listing page.