Driving app downloads and building a fanbase requires an effective launch strategy. The days and weeks after your app goes live are critical for generating demand, but you need a marketing plan in place well in advance to ensure success.

From a public relations perspective, securing press coverage for your app will drive substantial demand. Press coverage obviously helps in terms of awareness, since reporters will be sharing links to your app to their readers. This can mean thousands or even hundreds of thousands of readers. Press coverage also helps to separate your app from the rest of the pack because reporters are devoting time to cover your product, therefore providing validation that your app is worth it.

There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that needs to be done before you get to this point, however. Whether you’re going it alone or relying on a marketing team for help, here are 15 essential items you need before your app goes live.

  1. Press release
    A document, usually 1-2 pages that explains your app, its key features, pricing and contact information. This is normally a “just the facts” type of document that also includes a statement from a company executive about that reinforces your key messages.
  2. Company backgrounder
    A document with information about the developer’s history, previous work, corporate milestones, company size, and mission statement. This is less focused on your upcoming app and more on where your company has been.
  3. Product pitch
    A short text blurb, usually 2-3 paragraphs, that is emailed to reporters explaining why they (and their readers) should care about your app. This normally includes information like when your app is launching, what makes it unique, and how reporters can test it out.
  4. Press lists
    A list of the press outlets and reporters that you’re going to send your pitch to. This normally includes their email contact information, their main coverage area, and any notes on your previous correspondence to them.
  5. Professional screenshots
    High resolution pictures of your app in action, demonstrating key features. These should be in a variety of file formats (JPEG, EPS, PNG) in case a press outlet has their own requirements.
  6. Demo video
    A video, usually 30 seconds to 1 minute in length, demonstrating your app’s key features. This should be uploaded to social media websites (YouTube, Vimeo) so a link can be easily shared.
  7. Employee headshots
    Professional photos of your company executives. These should be high resolution and include anyone who will go on the record as a spokesperson.
  8. Company logo
    High resolution versions of your company logo. This should be in both high resolution .EPS format and .PNG format. The latter is most frequently requested by press, since it gives them more flexibility to include it on their websites.
  9. Website
    A landing page where people can learn more about your app, view your collateral, and download your app. This should include a dedicated press page which lists recent press coverage and your contact information.
  10. Business cards
    Cards with your logo and contact information. These are necessary if a reporter requests to interview you face-to-face or when attending networking events.
  11. Online screensharing service
    A service that lets you do remote, real-time demonstrations of your app for reporters. Examples of these include Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting and BlueJeans.
  12. Dial-in conference line
    A service that lets multiple people dial-in to a single conference line to hear from you. In some cases, reporters will only want to interview you instead of seeing your product.
  13. Press release distribution service
    A service that distributes your press releases to thousands of people at once. These are normally paid services like Cision, Marketwired, or BusinessWire.
  14. Press mention alerts
    A service that helps you track media coverage for your app. You can set up notifications with tools like Google Alerts and Tweetdeck whenever your app is mentioned.
  15. URL tracking system
    A service that helps you understand how press coverage is directly influencing website visits and downloads. Tools like Bit.ly can create short links for you to share with press to measure which outlets are providing the most benefit to you.