Getting Noticed: Crafting a Press Release

Continuing the theme of increasing your application’s user base, here’s another article from Sean Casto, the CEO of PreApps, a Microsoft App Builder partner and the leading platform introducing new apps to users and the marketplace prior to release.


The Importance of a Powerful App Press Release By: Sean Casto

You’ve created a great app, and it’s ready for release. Now what? As most developers know, gaining users and promoting your app is just as important as the development process. One of the most highly-regarded tools employed by developers to announce the launch of their app is the press release. A press release has a longstanding history as being a powerful and effective way to gain the attention of everyone from news outlets to bloggers, and spread the word that a new app is being released into the competitive marketplace.

The Importance of a Powerful PR

Writing and distributing a press release isn’t a step in the process that should be skipped. You’ve likely been working to market your product from the start, but you need to let the influential people in your industry know that your product exists. With that being said, if you’re an app developer, you may feel you lack the necessary skills and expertise to make a great press release. It’s important to follow a particular formula, and stick to the information, because writers and reviewers are constantly bombarded with information. You need to create a press release that’s going to quickly and effectively capture their attention.

Top Tips for Successful PR Creation

1. Create a Timetable

Before you begin writing a press release, you should determine whether you’ll be releasing it prior to the launch of your app, or to coincide with your app’s launch. The timetable will determine the angle of your press release.

2. Include Your Icon

Include your app icon or your logo in the body of your press release. This is an important identifying feature, and it should be prominently displayed within the actual written work. If it’s simply included as a link, it’s likely that it won’t be seen by the reader.

3. Don’t Overlook the Importance of Your Header

Take the time to craft a concise, yet attention-grabbing subject line. Many times, people hastily create a subject line, but in actuality, it’s one of the most important components of the press release. If you can get your reader to continue beyond the subject line, you’re doing well. If your reader glances at your subject line and isn’t compelled to continue reading, your press release hasn’t been successful. It needs to be brief, but interesting. A press release must be newsworthy, and the subject line is your opportunity to create that sense of newsworthiness. It can’t simply be an advertisement of your product, but rather needs to be something that’s time-sensitive, for example, “New app launches amidst much anticipation.”

4. Keep Your Reader Interested with the Summary

The next step, beyond the subject line, is to create a summary that will further compel the reader to keep going. Use the summary line as an opportunity to delve a little bit more into what your app offers, and what makes it unique, without providing too many details. Use your summary to make your reader want to know more.

5. Simplify it for Your Reader

Bloggers and journalists are programmed to quickly sift through press releases and find the ones that are the most relevant and interesting, so make reading your release easy for them. Put the most important information in the first paragraph. As the press release progresses, you can include more details, but make the first paragraph targeted to your reader. Imagine they’re only reading the first paragraph and include the information you’d most like them to know about your app.

6. Skip the Fluff—Get to the Point

Use the body of the press release to give a description of your app, including what it does and the important features. Skip the fluff—remember, this isn’t an advertisement. Stick to the facts, and keep the wording simple and concise. You need to be able to tell your reader why people should care about your app. It’s also a good idea to include a quote from a member of the development team. Your quote can be a bit more on the advertorial side, and you can really be creative in piquing the interest of readers.

7. Interest Your Reader in Your Company

Include a brief paragraph about your company at the end of your press release. Include any awards or previously released apps that have done well. If you have an interesting background, perhaps include one or two sentences about that, in order to drive interest in what you’re offering.

8. Give the Reader a Clear Point of Contact

Always include contact information, including your app or company’s website, screenshots, links to demo videos, and your personal information. If a blogger or journalist wants to follow-up with you about your app, you need to make it easy for them to contact you.

Gaining Maximum Exposure

The press release, if done correctly, can be an effective tool for developers. PreApps has designed options to take the guesswork out of the creation and distribution of press releases. In fact, they have a team of professional writers who craft custom press releases, utilizing the company’s press kit, and then distribute it to more than 250,000 news subscribers and more than 30,000 bloggers in order to generate the highest possible level of exposure. The company offers affordable pricing, simplifying the process of marketing an app in order to help the developer obtain worldwide attention.

About The Author:

Sean Casto, a Boston-based entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of, the leading platform introducing new apps to users and the marketplace prior to release. He has been a guest speaker at industry conventions for Microsoft and Samsung and lectured at Universities such as Northeastern and Harvard. He as also appeared on and been mentioned by The Washington Post, USA Today, The Boston Globe, Boston News Network, and The Associated Press. Through his work and industry experience, Casto has acquired a deep understanding of the struggles developers face and a passion to serve the growing mobile app community. He is now the Chairman & Founder of App Demo & Drinks (a mobile non-profit) and holds an advisory position for numerous start-ups.

Getting Noticed

If you’ve recently published an app to the Windows 8 or Windows Phone stores, CONGRATULATIONS!

It’s a great accomplishment, but in a way, that was the easy part! Well, it was the part that you had the most control over, and now that your app is one of over at least 100,000 in the market, it’s time to make some noise, draw in users, and increase your downloads and visibility!

Get your Windows Developer Success Kit!

To help support you in that endeavor, we’re making available* the Windows Developer Success Kit – personalized for your application. The kit includes

  • 100 customized business cards with your app tile and download instructions
  • 100 customized stickers
  • promotion on MSDN East’s Facebook page
  • A $5 Starbucks card
  • 1600 Microsoft Points

To get your kit*, just send an e-mail to providing your name, app name, application deep link, and your physical mailing address.


Valid for Windows or Windows Phone apps published in the Store between July 1 and December 31, 2013 in these states only: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida. No purchase necessary. Limit 5 kits per Developer; one kit per published app. Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery.

If you’re not eligible for the Windows Developer Success Kit, consider joining App Builder, and take advantage of its app promotions resources including a free e-book and  App Promotion Kit with business card, e-mail, and banner ad templates and more!

Nokia DVLUP Day – Nov. 16th

Nokia DVLUP Day: November 16 2013, Boston, MAJoin Nokia Developer Ambassadors Lance McCarthy and Nick Landry as well as your friendly local Technical Evangelists for Nokia DVLUP Day, November 16th from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. at the Microsoft Office, 1 Cambridge Center, Cambridge MA.

Whether you’re an experience developer or haven’t even touched a Windows Phone, you’ll come away from this event with the knowledge and confidence to build and publish an application to the Windows Phone Store! The event will feature multiple tracks as well as all-hands sessions to cater to the variety and skill sets of the attendees:

8 a.m. – come by if you need some help setting up on a Mac (or PC)

9 a.m. – registration begins

10 a.m. – sessions begin

Track 1: Native development with C# and XAML

Track 2: App Studio

Track 3: Game Development

12 noon – lunch

12:30 p.m. – continuation of session tracks

2:15 p.m. – all-hands session with demos and code

5:00 p.m. – dinner and start of mini-hackathon

8:30 p.m. – awards and final remarks

In addition to the fantastic content, each attendee will receive

  • A Nokia Lumia 620 Windows Phone 8 upon updating or publishing an app within 2 weeks of the event.
  • A heavy-duty swag backpack chock full of goodies; the backpack itself is worth $89 (it’s a Wenger, Swiss Gear, TSA friendly laptop bag).
  • A Nokia Developer Offers Token including the following:
  • 20,000 ad impressions from AdDuplex. In addition, when your app is published you will be entered for
    • 1st place- 1,000,000 ad impressions
    • 2nd place- 500,000 ad impressions
    • 3rd place- 250,000 ad impressions
  • app placement credit. Every attendee receives credit towards app placement on the PreApps website!

Harvard Needs Your Help

Ok, with over a $32 billion endowment, Harvard doesn’t need your money, but about 10 students would benefit from just a bit of your time.

My colleagues (Michael Cummings, Edwin Guarin, Bob Familiar, and Lance McCarthy) are teaching a course on Modern Mobile Application Development using a Lean Startup approach. At this point in the course, the students are in the pre-launch phase of their marketing and development efforts, and we’re leveraging our networks to provide them some feedback.

For this first assignment, they are each building a game for Windows Phone using Construct 2, and the students have PreApps accounts to preview their application concepts to an audience of mobile application developers and enthusiasts. Visitors (like you) to PreApps can comment on the design and concepts as well as register to be notified when the application is published. It’s a great way to play a part in the Build-Measure-Learn cycle and help the students launch a more successful product.

I encourage you to visit their application landing pages, offer constructive and actionable comments, and follow them to the ultimate launch of their games in a few weeks.  Below are the profiles currently registered (more may be added over the next few days); just click the icons/links below and you can review and add your comments directly.


Koala Quest SmurfPlatformGame Kitchen Mess The Spins

Koala Quest

Smurf Platform Game

Kitchen Mess

The Spins