One of the best ways to gain more traction in the App Store is through a professional mobile app review – there are plenty of journalism websites that rake in hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, and these are great spots to get your name heard.
Whilst more fortunate mobile app developers may be preparing marketing campaigns, advertising, and ASO techniques to ensure they reach as many downloads as possible, there are many opportunities for you out there to achieve more downloads, and they can often be completely free. All it takes is a bit of preparation and know-how of the industry.
Preparing your Press Kit
If you plan on getting your app reviewed, there are a few things you’ll need to prepare before you do the rounds and ask different websites about whether they would actually be interested in reviewing your mobile application.
One of these things involves creating a “press kit.” Press kits can include a wide range of information and media that could be useful to the reviewer, and they are usually a great way to make sure the screenshots or other content the reviewer uses in their review clearly explains the benefits of your app.
In a mobile app review, screenshots help to break up text and add context to what the reviewer may be talking about at the time. They’re also going to be the first time readers of the review see what your app actually looks like, so it’s important to include images that explain your app clearly. If you’ve already worked on ASO then your app store screenshots could potentially be a very good fit for your press kit.
Try and take enough screenshots to explain each of the major functions of your application – show the main features of your app in action, and don’t worry about screenshotting menus or settings options.
Try not to bore the reviewer with needless content, but instead try and write a quick summary of what your app is about, and what it can be compared to. A good app reviewer will always draw comparisons with other applications that are popular at the time, so if you point out the apps that already excel in your category, you are creating one less job for them, and helping readers get a better picture of what your app can do.
How to Make Contact with a Reviewer
Like mentioned above, there are plenty of popular websites out there that review apps – some websites, such as 148apps, have a primary focus on app reviews, whilst others, such as AndroidAuthority, focus on mobile journalism, but also offer the readers with app reviews on the side. There are also mobile games review sites as TouchArcade or PocketGamer and if you are interested in more gaming targets, definitely check out this list of mobile game review sites. It can be very beneficial to get your app up on a website like 148apps because their viewer base consists only of people who want to find more new apps to try, but these websites are usually a lot stricter on what content they can accept and you’ll have to win them over with a decent press kit through their app submission pages.
It’s very often that these websites have submission forms that allow you to submit your app straight to them, but this won’t guarantee you a spot at getting your app reviewed, and you’re leaving your apps fate completely in the hands of somebody else.
If you instead try to make contact with an app reviewer on the website, you’ll be able to talk to them on a personal level and talk them into reviewing your app. In my experience, a lot of the writers I have worked with have been very laid back individuals, and as their website makes up part of the face of the mobile industry, they are usually very easy to approach.
On a lot of websites, you can find details about each app reviewer by reading through their personal writer profile – you may be able to find social media links on their profile, or links back to their personal website. If not, you can always rely on Google to do a search on their name and writing history.
Contacting them through social media could be worth a shot, but the best way to get into contact with a writer though is through their personal email – as an app reviewer, it’s important that they can be contacted for future work, so it’s usually not too hard to find the email address of a respected and experience app developer. If you can’t find any information about a certain reviewer, it’s likely that they are newer to the game and haven’t seen a need in creating an online presence.
Alternatively you could try contacting the website owner, or any writer that may be working on the website at the time. Also, you can save your time by using this neat service to automatically submit your app for review to 225 websites.
Make Reviewers Want to Test Your App
Once you’re in contact with an app reviewer, you’re going to want to convince the reviewer that your app is worth checking out. Don’t try to sound like a used car salesman here though; at the end of the day, a passionate app reviewer will review apps because he or she enjoys testing them. They’ll be happy to try any app that looks good because they enjoy doing it.
So, instead of trying to take a business standpoint when showing your app, explain your app to the reviewer just like you would to any ordinary user of your app. If it’s a game, explain why it would be fun to play, or if it’s a utility app, use recommendations on how you can improve your day-to-day life whilst using it.
First impressions are also important here too. As an example, I once had an email from a developer who developed a 3D robot running game, and to get my attention, he created a back story for the game and wrote his email from the perspective of the robot.
It was a good read and it got me interested in his application. I replied, and he seemed very enthusiastic and grateful for my reply. Whilst you may not have to go to the lengths he did, creating fun, quirky emails that will be a little different to the usual requests an app reviewer will receive will probably appeal to them a lot more than a simpler message asking for a review.
Finally, be polite to the reviewer, and treat them as a friend. At the end of the day, if they do decide to review your app, they are doing you a favor, and it’s at no cost to you, and if you do get on their good side, then you may be able to build upon that and ask for their expertise later on down the line.