Launching an App Part 2: How To Get Featured On Major Tech Blogs
Here’s a little secret: no one cares that you’re building an app. It’s harsh, but it’s not you; it’s me. And everyone else. We just don’t know we love your app yet. For us to love it, we have to know it exists. For us to know it exists, you have to get someone we trust to tell us about it (sorry, we can’t just take your word for it). That’s where tech bloggers come in.
Getting featured at a major tech blog is a major breakthrough. But I get it. Not everyone can be friends with editors and bloggers who can hype up their launch like a pro and hook them up with tens of thousands of pageviews everyday. And not everyone can get hotshot bloggers to pay attention to them either.
Lucky for you, I happen to know a few things about pitching, being pitched, and what makes bloggers feel all warm and tingly inside.
To help you get the press you need – instead of a one-way ticket to trashville – here are ten simple things you can do to get featured on major tech blogs and get the coverage you deserve.
1. Write a great pitch.
Bloggers get tons of pitches everyday. Most of which proclaim fervently that they have the next big thing at the palm of their hands. Most also end up in the trash bin. Email pitches are a lot like elevator pitches. You have about ten and a half seconds to impress us. If you feel you have the greatest app in the world, don’t just tell us — make us feel it too. Tell a story, tell a joke, whatever. Make us as excited as you are and show us why your app is the biggest thing since sliced gluten-free bread.
2. Get straight to the point.
Bloggers and their editors are super busy people. We don’t have time to read long-winded emails about what an app does. We’re too busy writing our own thousand words on something else that may or may not be of interest to you. Keep your pitch at two paragraphs maximum, along with a link to your website, social media accounts, any videos or screenshots, and press kit. We’re sure you’re busy too, so don’t waste your time hashing everything out in a single email — if your [short] pitch sounds good, we’ll check out everything else and get back to you.
3. Don’t by shy.
Are you famous on Twitter? Do you get tons of traffic on your landing page? Is your mailing list overflowing with zealous fans counting the days until your app goes live? This is not the time to be modest. Don’t be cocky (such a turn off), but if you’ve got a huge following, we want to know about it. Beta testing go extremely well? We definitely want to hear about that too.
4. Let us play.
Go the extra mile and give us the full experience. If you have a beta version of your app, give us a copy to play with. Even a sneak peek at your prototype will do, just so we get a sense of how your app works in practice (no, we’re not in the business of stealing your genius ideas). If we love it, we’ll make you look good.
5. Contact the right person the right way.
Not all tech bloggers blog about apps. Don’t pitch the guy who dishes on the latest tech news or the girl who gives business advice to tech entrepreneurs. Read up on the blog’s editorial team and get to know the contributors. Contact the one that actually writes about apps and/or the mobile industry. If not, try to find someone as close as possible to your app’s niche, like a social media sherpa if you have a social app. Make sure you contact them in their preferred method of communication. (Hint: Email is a good place to start. Most of us haaaaate picking up the phone unless we absolutely have to, and even then we’re not very happy with it)
6. Ask and ye is more likely to receive.
I’m going to give it to you straight: Bloggers don’t owe you anything. Yes, it’s our job to get the scoop and tell everyone about the latest and the greatest in our industries. But guess what? There’s a lot more where you came from (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). Don’t pitch bloggers asking for a favor or, worse, demanding that we write about you. Give us your pitch, then ask if we’re interested. A little bit of politeness goes a long, long way.
7. The human element.
Don’t be gimmicky. We know you have this great new app, but we want to know YOU too. Give us a sense of who you are, what your company is all about, and what you hope to achieve. There’s more to an app than what the app does – it’s the amazing people behind it that brought it to life.
8. Get a referral.
Cold pitches rarely work. Bloggers are more likely to respond if the sender was referred by someone they know. I realize though that not everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone. So….
9. Build relationships.
You don’t have to send me flowers on my birthday or get me sold-out Maroon 5 concert tickets. We don’t even have to pretend we’re friends. It would be nice, though, if we had some sort of relationship beforehand instead of starting it with a pitch. How do you do that with bloggers? Just get on our radar. Follow us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn, or just shoot us a quick email pre- or during development, saying, “Hey, love your article on XYZ. I’m working on this great new app that does this, this, and that and found your advice really useful.” (Yes, we love compliments) The secret is to touch base as early as you can, then build on on that connection.
10. Don’t stalk us.
Ah, my personal favorite. Stalking = bad. And whatever you do, do not, and I repeat, DO NOT spam us. We won’t necessarily blacklist you, but we won’t like you very much either, so that’s kind of the same thing. If you don’t receive a response the first time you pitch, wait a week or two and follow up. It’s nothing personal and we were probably just under some super tight deadline and couldn’t get back to you right away, so feel free to follow up a third time. But email us a fourth or fifth time and that’s probably crossing stalker-ish, spam-ish line.
» Have you ever pitched a tech blogger? Share your tips on getting noticed below.
Next, we’ll be covering what you need to do after you launch your app and how to leverage your success to maximize exposure and keep your momentum going. Stay tuned!