How Do I Integrate My App With My Public Relations & Events Strategy?

This blog post is part 5 of our “How Do I Integrate My App Into My Marketing Ecosystem?” series. Read part 4 here.

Your-app-plus-public-relations-and-eventsThe truth is, products and services rarely sell themselves. Stories sell stuff – stories that are worth repeating, worth sharing, and simply worthwhile.

The same is true for apps. Even if you build an app that does something incredible, it runs the risk of going unnoticed in app stores.You need to build a solid narrative around its purpose, convince influencers to share it, and showcase its genuine value to the public. 

Here are four tips to help you create a strong PR & events strategy that will get your app in the spotlight.


Tip #1: Pitch the unique qualities about your app to news outlets to secure early PR placements

Don’t wait until your app is launched to build a public relations strategy. Start sharing bits and pieces about your revolutionary app idea with the press early to generate excitement. It never hurts to have a slew of interested users lined up before your app makes its debut in app stores. And the press loves to showcase out-of-the-box thinkers and designers.

When Path was in development, their fresh approach to social networking earned them some well-timed media placements to tee up their official launch.  


Tip #2: Consider a limited early release to spark curiosity, interest, and buzz

Another great PR tactic to organically get the word out about your app (and also earn initial user feedback!) is a “soft launch.” Similar to a beta release, a soft launch allows select groups of people (like media personalities) to download, use, and review your app before the general public. This exclusive invitation-only release will help you earn buzz and give you a chance to build rapport with key influencers and evangelists. 

For example, Robinhood is a new financial app, which is available to users ahead of its full-blown launch if they sign up for early access.  


Tip #3: Create an official event companion app so people can get the most out of attending

Organizing a conference, convention, or another large-scale event? Gone are the days of printed maps and attendee booklets – this is the mobile era after all! Instead, create an official event app to improve the attendee experience. Traveling is tiring, crowds can be overwhelming, and missing out on key learning opportunities sucks. Fortunately, a lot of these event pains can be remedied with a well-designed app that includes maps, updated speaker schedules, alerts, and note-taking and networking features.

Check out how HubSpot’s INBOUND14 app sent reminders to attendees about upcoming sessions and included valuable information like topic and room number.  


Tip #4: Showcase your app at events through relevant sponsorships 

If your company doesn’t regularly host events, think about working with an organization that does to showcase your app to their attendees (who will most likely be moving around with their smartphones in hand). These app partnerships can take many forms, but keep in mind that they should enhance the event experience (not disrupt it). 

For instance, look at how Showtime seamlessly integrated its own app content into South By Southwest’s (SXSW) event app. Showtime was a sponsor of the world-renowned conference, but instead of bombarding attendees with blatant ads, they enriched their experience by providing some much needed entertainment for people who wanted a break or were waiting in line.  


Big Takeaway: Early press coverage and strategic partnerships will ensure your app launches with a splash

If an app launches in the app store, but no one is around to download it, does it make a sound? 

Public relations campaigns that are centered on your company’s app help build awareness and anticipation before its release. On the other hand, event sponsorships are a clever way of showcasing your app’s value and earning buzz.

Make sure you spend time promoting your app to the press (versus solely to customers) because these third-party raves and reviews validate your app’s benefits.

Free eBook: The 2015 App Marketing Guide