How does the tool work?
You craft your message – you describe your app, add personal intro and so on. Pitchpigeon will help you by autofilling some fields and advise you what to fill in at others – follow help [?] links, if you don't know what to put in. Once you are done with the message and you've gone through the Final Checklist that Pitchpigeon provides, your message will be sent to selected publishers. Pitchpigeon will contact all the important general tech publishers as well as all the important publishers writing specifically about apps and will track which of them viewed your message and will create a report for each message that you send. It will hand them over your message using email, form submissions or other arrangements we may have with a publisher. For the most part, however, it will be through email.
In a nutshell: The tool helps you create a release message, enables you to skip the tedious task of compiling a list of proper contacts, sends your message to them and tracks who viewed it so you can focus on what you do best - app development.
Creating a message
We tried to make it as simple as possible to get you to the point where you are ready to press the last button to send your message out to the publishers. You start by clicking New Message button on top left side of the screen and choose the app platform you app is made for.
For Web/Other apps you will create a quick app profile, enter your app name, website URL and app description. For mobile (iOS/Android/Windows Phone) apps we created a feature that does that for you – it crawls the app store for your app info and copies it in the message.
The tool then takes you to a Preview page where you can see how your message looks. Some of the fields that the tool can't enter for you (such as Subject and Personal Intro) are filled with default text as a guideline. You will have to change this to your own, of course. We put in this default text so you get a feel of how the message is supposed to look. Take your time and use your own words while trying to address the publishers.
You can edit the message by clicking the Edit link on top of the message. On Edit page you will also find other details that you will want to enter, such as your contacts, app locations, interaction channels, visuals, etc.
The tool will check to make sure you didn't forget anything in the message and alert you, if you did.
On the right side of the Preview page, you will find a Final Checklist. It lists all the fields or processes that you need to pay attention to. If they are marked green they are fine; if marked red, click on help [?] link next to each to see what the problem is and correct it.
Schedule a delivery
You can set a schedule for when you want to send the message out to the publishers (or you can leave it set to be sent immediatelly - immediate delivery is set by default). The best time to send out a message is durring the week when everyone is at their desk and their eyeballs on the screen.
If you want to schedule it, select Schedule link next to Message Delivery on the right side of the Preview page and choose date and time of delivery. Chosen timezone is USA (GMT-8), because most publishers are in that timezone.
You can change your mind and change the delivery schedule up to the last minute before delivery begins.
To avoid any message being flagged as spam we added a spam check procedure that checks your message for possible spam triggers (using Apache's Spam Assasin tool). You can find it on the right side of Preview page below Check your message for Spam.
Spam check is performed automatically when you save your message after editing it OR you can run it manually (provided that you have entered your name and email).
It will return back a spam score from 0.0 to 10.0 with 0.0 being the best.
The vast majority of our users get a score of 0.0, though, so this isn't the part one should particularly worry about. We put this procedure in place just so you are covered. If you put anything in a message that wouldn't be taken lightly by spam filters, then you'll get a warning.
Messages with spam scores higher than 5.0 are marked as spam by default on systems using this tool (or ones like it), so we decided we will not let you send out a message with a spam score greater than 5.0 to protect us, and you, from being flagged as spammers.
For spam scores between 2.0 and 5.0, we issue a warning and recommendation to update your message to get the spam score below 2.0. You can still send it out as such, but you do so at your own risk.
With any spam score above 0.0, a report is created (with a link leading to it) next to the score so you can find out the problem. Spam report is produced by Spam Assasin, however.
Testing your message
When you feel your message looks as it should, you should first send out a test message as a final step before you send it to everyone on the list. This test message will be sent to the email you used to sign up to Pitchpigeon with. You will be able to see how publishers will see your message in their inboxes. We mostly send to their email addresses, so we find it important that you have the ability to observe it in your email client as well. This way, you get a more realistic perspective which helps you decide whether everything is as you wanted.
To send a test message, click Send a test Email link under Observe your message on the right side of the Preview page.
If you scheduled delivery of your message, you can always come back, edit and re-test it to the last minute before it goes out. If you find a problem in the last minute, you can always re-schedule delivery and edit/test it in peace. Just make sure you are done editing before the deadline (if you don't re-schedule that is).
When creating a new message, the first step you take is selecting all the app platforms your app runs on. If you selected the wrong platforms at that step, you can always correct that on a Preview page on right side under App platform. In any case, make sure that you select all the app platforms that your app runs on.
If you selected any app platforms that your app doesn't run on, make sure you unselect those – if you don't, you would be sending your message to publishers which don't cover the platform your app is made for, and you don't want that kind of publicity. It would be SPAM. If you bother them with an app running on a platform that they don't cover, they won't bother listening to your story when you come back next time with an app that does.
If you have a personal relationship formed with any of the publishers we send to, you will probably want to send them an email yourself because you guys know each other, you can have different arrangements with them, etc. For this reason, we made it possible to unselect these.
On a Preview page on the right side above the Send Now (or Schedule Now) button there is a Sending to XY Publishers link. Click that link and it will lead you to a list of publishers your message will be sent to. Unselect the ones you wish and click the »Ok, I'm done. Take me back.« link. That's it.
When the Final Checklist is all green and you've scheduled a delivery (if you needed to), selected all applicable app platforms, sent out a test message, and everything looks good, then you are good to go.
Click the green Send Now (or Schedule Now) button and you are done. The tool will send your message to all the publishers on the list either immediatelly or by the schedule that you set.
Ok, almost. You will be asked to enter a few more details about yourself (if you haven't entered them on My Account page already) for the purpose of invoicing, and then the process starts.
From here on, you can observe the report being created for your message in which the tool displays who viewed your message and how many views you got in total. You can reach the report following a Report link on top of each message.
What to put in a message?
Although a tool will auto-fill the fields of the message where possible, there are still a few fields you will have to fill in on your own.
We've seen developers entering all sorts of texts in the message and while some were cool to read, others were not so cool, though. In order to maximize the interest in your app by the publishers we would like to help by giving you a few pointers. Some will find this obvious, while others might not, so we put it down here just in case.
We split the message template into groups. Let's dive into each:
»The Message« group
It's the actual subject of the message going out so this is the first thing publishers see before they open your message to read further. In a few words be interesting, enthusiastic, inspirational, yet honest. Don't exaggerate.
We know it's tempting to go overboard in your text, yet if you don't know where to stop you may look too good to be true (i.e. spammy) and no one likes that. Publishers have to go through hundreds of tips emails each day so they have to filter out the noise quickly, if they want to have any work done that day. The most swamped, who are also the most popular, have to act that way.
That's also why we ask you to change the default text we used on a Preview page for Subject (and Personal Intro). If you and everyone else uses that text, you may sound like noise.
We wrote this so you are aware it's important you take some time for it. If you don't take the time, nor will the publishers.
- Personal Intro:
It's where your message starts. It's where you address the publishers and present your story - one of your startup and/or your app. These are the lines that should draw the interest of the publisher further. If they click pass the subject, they expect to be presented with interesting material that they would want to write about. If they find out that the value of the app just doesn't match the subject you lured them in with, they will stop and move on.
You need to get to the point as quickly as possible. Don't stretch it. Publishers get bombed with hundreds of pitches and review requests daily, so their time is limited. With so much material on their hands, they can afford to be picky when it comes to selecting what to write about.
The catch is not to just pitch them here as if you are trying to sell them the app. They've seen it all and are too savvy for any car salesman approach here. You can do that in other marketing stunts, just not when you are addressing the messenger that is supposed to pass your story on to their readers.
Make it easy for them – instead of them needing to contact you for aditional details surrounding your app, lay it out for them. If your app has a website and »About us« or »Our story« page where interesting / cool / humorous stuff is written about you, your team or the app that they could use for their readers, then link to it. If you don't have it, we recommend you either make it, or try to fit your whole story into the Personal Intro. It will have to be short, though – you have to keep the intro short and sweet. That's why a micro website comes in handy – you can stretch the story there any way you want – even beyond the »About us« page with a blog, for example.
When presenting your story, you should also put yourself in the shoes of their readers. Would you rather see dull fact listing (well yes, some would – and we have News Body section of the message just for that), or would you rather read a bit more personal revelation of the whole thing? The more you give them, the easier you make it for them and if the app is as cool as you presented it, then you've done your part well.
With »more« we mean link out to more material of yours, if you can. Use just 1 link, though. If you feel you need to use more links, then put them on a page you link to from your message. You want to keep the message clean and use only 1 link to make it such.
It's the location of your launch, either your office or place where the news is coming from.
The date of the launch or the upgrade, or whatever news you may have - the date when you are officialy releasing it to the public. The most appropriate would be to sync this with a scheduled delivery date (if you choose to schedule a delivery). If you'll send the message out immediatelly, then the date should be today's date.
- News Title:
It's the launch title that addresses the readers, users, and the public. It's where your public release starts. With the Subject and Personal Intro, you are addressing the publishers and getting them interested in your story, while the app News Title is the subject of the public release part of the message. The most common use so far was simply »AppName Launches Today«. That's the default use in our tool, but we also encourage you to be creative. Picture it as a title of an article. What title would draw you in as a user to read that article? Again, the same is true here as for Personal Intro – no cheap corny lines here. No car salesman approach. Be interesting, yet honest.
- News Body:
It's where you list the facts about your app. What it does, how it does it, what it offers, etc. For mobile apps our tool auto-fills this field with your app info from the app store. For web apps you have to enter it yourself. You can always change it. Take away from it, add to it, modify it in any way you feel will make the whole message, together with the Personal Intro, more compact, less repetitive and more focused. If you used a lot of text in the app store for describing your app, try to shorten it here.
Publishers can always get more detailed info about your app in the app store or on your website, which will be linked to from your message.
If you made a video presentation of your app, it's more than welcome that you add a Youtube link to it here. It helps present the app to publishers in a way a text description will never be able to. If a picture is worth a thousand words a good video presentation is priceless.
If you don't have any video available, then add screenshots here of your app. No more than 5. If you can squeeze in the best parts of the app in only 3, even better. If you have a mobile app, screenshots will be transfered automatically. If there are too many, delete the ones that you feel can be left out.
- Your name:
The name you wish to be used as a sender of the message. It can be a different name from the one used in My Account details.
- Your Email:
Email address of your Pitchpigeon account is used solely for logging in and will not be used for your message by default. You have to fill in the email address of your choice for each new message that you create. It can be the same Pitchpigeon account's email or it can be any other (with the exception of free email address). This is the email address publishers will see as your contact and this is the email address they may respond to.
There is one important reason why we highly discourage that you use a free email address. It's called DMARC. You can read more about it on dmarc.org. In a nutshell, it's a standard introduced by the top providers of free email services. It helps blocking all email messages coming from free email addresses that were not actually sent through a free email providers' servers. They did this to combat spam, phishing and email abuse in general. When publishers enable this standard on their email servers, those servers bounce all messages that were sent using free email addresses while not being sent through a free email providers' servers. Since our tool uses a 3rd party mass-email services provider for delivery of your messages, these are therefore not coming from a free email provider of your choice. And thus, a bounce happens on a publisher's side.
As a side note, if you wonder why we are using a 3rd party provider for delivery of your messages and not our own: using a 3rd party mass-email service provider is much more reliable than doing it on our own. Delivery with them is bulletproof, which is a tad bit harder to achieve with ones own mass-email solution nowadays because of all the email filtering and blocking that happens behind the scenes.
There's one other reson why you shouldn't use a free email address for your message anyway. It makes it look cheap. If you can't afford your own email how cool must the app be for the publishers to take you seriously? Pretty damn cool, right? We are sure yours fits the bill, but then let's not give the publishers the reason to think otherwise. If you really don't have it, buy a domain, pick a cool name for it and buy some email hosting. The cost of this is nothing compared to the cost of time you spent creating your app. Godaddy has that available for example. Google Apps actually had it for free not so long ago, but it's not free anymore so...
- Your phone:
If you have a number you wish to use, enter it here. It's optional, though. It shows you have a contact number one can actually reach you on and speak to you in person, which adds to the image.
- Your Skype ID:
Skype is a cool alternative to phone conversation as it enables both parties to share info on a much more dynamic level and since it's widely used it can be used as a good presentation tool. However, if you are not really using it, adding your ID to the message really provides no value to the publishers since they cannot reach you there so we recommend adding it only, if you can be found online on a daily basis.
»App Locations« group
- Website URL:
Here you enter the website URL of your app. If you only have mobile version and don't have an actual web version of your app, you don't enter anything here. This URL is used in a message so publishers can get to your app in one click. You therefore don't need to use it anywhere else in the message.
- iOS App Store URL:
If you have an iOS version of your app, here you enter the URL of where your iOS app resides on App Store. This URL is used in a message so publishers can get to your app in one click. You therefore don't need to use it anywhere else in the message.
- Google Play URL:
If you have an Android version of your app, here you enter the URL of where your Android app resides on Google Play. This URL is used in a message so publishers can get to your app in one click. You therefore don't need to use it anywhere else in the message.
- Windows Phone Store URL:
If you have a Windows Phone version of your app, here you enter the URL of where your Windows Phone app resides on Windows Phone Store website. This URL is used in a message so publishers can get to your app in one click. You therefore don't need to use it anywhere else in the message.
»Interaction Channels« group
If you or your company uses Twitter to interact with your users and you believe publishers could find it worthwhile to follow you, enter its handle here. If there's nothing of value there, we recommend that you leave this field empty.
- Facebook page
If you or your company uses Facebook to interact with your users and you believe publishers could find it worthwhile to become a fan, enter your Facebook page URL here. If there's nothing of value there, we recommend that you leave this field empty.