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You might think it's crazy to pursue these options, but let's look at a few ways you can get free press on TV or in your newspaper. You have to approach this from the standpoint that newspapers and local television stations are always looking for stories that will be of strong interest to their reading or viewing audience. If your application is newsworthy or could fit into one of their columns or news segments, then you've got a shot at getting some free publicity for your app. Naturally, if you have a very narrow type of application, you'll have to look harder for a way to pitch your app to the press.

Newspapers

The good old-fashioned printed newspaper is still alive (for now) and it's actually a great medium to help you gain exposure for your app. Keep in mind that if your story runs in newsprint, it will also run in the online edition of the paper in most cases. There are many opportunities to reach out to editors and writers to pitch your story, and reaching them has never been easier because they all post their email address at the end of their columns.

The best approach is to take a look at your local paper and see which categories would fit for your particular app. Most papers have a technology section, so you at least have one category to focus on. Larger papers will also have other sections that fit more closely to your particular type of app. You can approach all reporters/editors in any category you think might be a fit. Don't worry if you contact the wrong person. He or she will usually forward your message to the right person or will respond with a contact for the right person. Table 6.1 shows certain app categories and how they correspond to the sections of your local paper.

Table 6.1 The Various App Categories and How They Line Up with the Sections of Your Local Newspaper

Android App Types

Sections of Local Newspaper

Games

Sports, Technology, Entertainment

Lifestyle

Lifestyle, Technology, Entertainment

Health

Health & Fitness, Technology

Plants & Gardening

Home & Garden, Technology

Navigation

Travel, Technology

Education

Education, Technology

Finance

Financial, Technology

These steps will help get the media to review your app:

1. Match your type of app with the right section of your local newspaper.

2. Take note of all the articles written and find the email addresses of the section's editor and some of the writers.

3. Draft an email with a catchy headline about the value of your app. For example, if you have a gardening and houseplant app, you could contact the home and garden editor of your local paper and say something like this in your email:

Subject Line: New Android App Helps Owners Keep Their Gardens Alive!

Dear Editor (use his or her real name),

I have recently completed this exciting new Android app that allows an Android user to take care of their gardens with clear pictures, descriptions, and tips for many garden varieties across the U.S. and Canada. Because of your coverage of home and garden topics, I feel this app would be of great interest to you and your readers. I would be happy to provide you with a free copy of this app and give you a demonstration of its benefits. I look forward to hearing your response!

Kind Regards,

Your Name

Your Phone Number

You will find articles written for your local paper on Android apps for most major cities. Simply go to your newspaper's website and type android apps into the search box. This search of the Arizona Republics website (www.azcentral.com), for example, revealed many articles, such as the one shown in Figure 6.4. The creators of this app received free press, and this article was syndicated in other papers across the country as well.

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Figure 6.4 An example of a local app getting coverage in the Arizona Republic.

Once an article is published by one newspaper, it may be picked up by other papers across the country, depending on the interest or importance of the app. Sometimes, even a very large paper such as USAToday will pick up a story from another paper. Getting newspaper coverage for your app can help you create the momentum your app needs to build strong sales.

Radio and TV Advertising

Radio and TV advertising might also be effective in some circumstances. Many entrepreneurs believe that radio and TV advertising are beyond their means. Although this may be true for national TV slots and national advertising, which is usually out of the entrepreneur's price range, appearing on local stations or on smaller cable television stations can sometimes be free. For example, if a local station does a technology show once a week, you might be able to get on it to demo or discuss your app. There are also a number of local (city-owned) stations that may want to do a focus story on Android apps targeting a broad base of users from their audience. For example, some stations may do a piece specifically focusing on a smaller market for the busy sales rep or the stressed commuter or perhaps a health segment. Again you can reach out to your local station and pitch the idea that they do a story around a topic that just happens to match the very app you've written.

The best way to reach a reporter is to go to the station's local website. On most sites you will find a link to the reporters, and they are usually listed by categories such as News, Weather, Sports, Entertainment, and so on. When you click their biographies, an email address is usually provided so you can contact them. Use the same email approach from earlier in the newspaper description to reach out to these reporters.

Radio is the last area you may want to explore. Radio is more difficult because you will have to explain your app rather than show your app. Radio is also very broad in its reach and so part of your listening audience may not own an Android phone or an Android tablet. Some radio shows have technology segments once a week, usually at slower times such as Saturday mornings. You can do a little digging on a radio station's website to look at its programming schedule to see if there might be an opportunity for you.

The ease with which you're able to get a story written about your app often depends on your app and current events. Don't give up easily. It takes persistence. It's free advertising and can mean the difference between your app selling okay and selling extremely well.

First, there is a difference between marketing and advertising, and it's important to understand the distinction. The premise of this book is how to market your Android apps, which is a process that includes multiple steps. Part of the marketing process includes a single component known as advertising. Advertising, in the Android sense, is concerned with the placement of ads on the Android and Android tablet itself to either help sell your app or to generate revenue selling other apps or products. A developer can make money selling his app to interested buyers or by selling space on his app to host other ads.

Typically, a developer who wants to make money selling ad space on his app will provide a free app to encourage thousands of downloads. He will carry ads on his app with the hope that the Android user will click one of the hosted ads. Each click pays the owner of the free app a percentage of the revenue generated for each ad. Therefore, developers of free apps are incented to develop the very best apps possible to achieve huge volumes of downloads, thus increasing the potential that someone will click through on one of the hosted ads.

At least six major vendors are vying for ad revenue in the Android ad market. Two such companies have taken center stage in early 2010, namely AdMob and Mobclix. Both are considered dominant players in this space. There's no doubt that mobile advertising is big business and getting bigger every month. Analysts peg the market to grow to $1.3B by 2013, up from $68M in 2010. Just like any type of advertising, it's important to determine how effective it might be for your particular needs in selling your app. In most cases the shotgun advertising approach does not work and you end up spending a lot of money and don't reach your target audience. Mobile advertising is certainly more targeted (to mobile users), but the challenge is reaching your type of app buyer. Just because someone has an Android or Android tablet does not mean that person is your target audience. So, you have to understand

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