PR Tips for App Developers

Which icon stands out in this sea of apps?

The secret to a successful app is a combination of factors, some of which you can control, others you can’t. In order to do well in the oversaturated app marketplace it’s essential to put yourself in the best possible position for success. App success starts with a great idea, it hinges on execution during development, and it is largely influenced by PR, marketing, timing, and luck.

Of those factors, PR is one that you can control. PR for apps is about how you present the product to the public, garner media coverage, and build users and awareness through proactive outreach. Here are 5 tips to help your PR effort.

1) Make a good first impression.

In a sea of apps, how do you stand out? Your app’s icon and title are the first impression you will make with an app store browser. Always use high-quality, high-resolution assets for your icon and your screenshots. The combination of the impression made by the app’s title and icon are what first judgments are based on. What does this app do? Is it a game or a utility? Is it fun? Who is it for? Do I want it on my device? Is it premium quality or crap? Almost without thinking, we form an opinion of an app based just on title and icon. Things to keep in mind:

–       Use high-quality, high-resolution assets. Keep the icon simple.

–       SEO test your app’s title. Is it pronounceable? Recognizable? Google-able? What associations does it inspire?

–       Create a website for your app. One place that contains everything a consumer or reporter would need. Here’s a great example from the unreleased app

2) Focus on user experience.

You can have the greatest idea for an app in the world, or the best story of how you came to make your app ever, but it means nothing if your user is not having a good experience within the first 30-60 seconds of launching your app. This is the most important part of your app, no matter what your app does. Whether your app is intended to be extremely useful or completely frivolous, the user’s experience will do more than anything to determine its ultimate fate. Is it easy for anyone to open it up and know what to do? Are you doing everything possible to reduce friction and create a smooth onboarding process? Is the design clean, simple and obvious?

3) Take advantage of the platform’s capabilities.

Touch, tilt, swipe, GPS, Wi-Fi, Retina Display, cameras and more: today’s smartphones have more features packed into a tiny package than most apps and developers really take advantage of. Using these features well not only makes for great user experiences but it also appeals to the hardware makers and platform owners and in some cases makes them more likely to support or feature your app.

4) Plan towards a launch date.

Don’t just let the app go live as soon as it is approved. One of the biggest advantages you will have when lining up coverage is being new. Use the time after approval and before launch to seed promo codes or Testflight builds with reviewers and start to get people interested and excited for your launch. Begin your review campaign well in advance of launch; you can’t expect busy app reviewers to have time to get to your app if you contact them on launch day. Try a minimum of 2 weeks in advance.

5) Pick your targets wisely.

Spend time doing the research before you pitch media about your app’s approaching launch. Find people who cover the mobile space or review apps like yours. Nail your messaging – i.e. when you contact a reporter, do not waste their time with paragraphs of info. Keep your pitch short, simple, informative and interesting. Think about it like this: when you pitch a reporter, you’re not trying to get coverage for yourself, you’re trying to help a busy reporter do their job by providing them with relevant content and all the info, assets and access they need to write about you. Approach the situation with their needs in mind, not yours, and you’re more likely to end up with a positive result.


Sam Dalsimer is an account supervisor at TriplePoint PR and has executed PR campaigns for dozens of apps. Follow him @samdalsimer