Pitch Perfect is the perfect marketing primer for the indie developer
If you're a developer with an app and a dream, you would do well to pick up Pitch Perfect by TUAW's Erica Sadun and Steve Sande. Their book lifts the veil on how app reviewers, bloggers specifically, operate. Most of the advice I give to people looking to pitch an app is in this book. Added to the valuable knowledge within are some great illustrations by Nitrozac and Snaggy (of Joy of Tech).
Pitch Perfect starts with why you should care about reviews, and dives quickly into some essential advice on crafting your app. It's hard to be objective when you've slaved over code and graphics for months, but if you take Erica and Steve's advice to heart, it will snap you awake and hopefully give you a discerning eye before you send us your hard work.
The book has several chapters on crafting your pitch, from what to include and what to avoid, all the way to how to reach out to harried, underpaid bloggers. Managing expectations, dealing with bloggers in general -- these are things I wish I could tell everyone before they send us a single PR email. Then there are a bunch of case studies, which they pick apart for good and bad examples.
Finally, there are tips and techniques for making a product video, press release and more. A few quick tips on social media, and the all-important care and handling of bloggers rounds out the book. These last few chapters are marketing classes distilled into action items. How do you know which PR outlets to use, for example? How do you shoot a video of your app? I think the social media tips are the most sane I've read in a while, honestly.
While this book is a great first step, it won't tell you how to measure ROI on your social media campaigns, or provide a list of secret emails that guarantee you great reviews across the galaxy. Pitch Perfect is tuned especially for indie devs who lack a marketing team, who likely can't afford one, and who have a ton of other responsibilities besides promoting their app (like, bug reports, making enhancements, eating food, playing outside, etc.). Once you've launched your app, however, this book is your best chance for a fair look from any number of review sites.
Obviously I wouldn't keep Erica and Steve around if they couldn't write and knew nothing. I think any developer who is looking to understand how to pitch blogs for reviews would do well to read this book not just because it's a sneak peek into blogs or reviews, but because Erica and Steve know their stuff and (most importantly) know how to explain what to do in a wonderful way.
You won't feel lost, either. Pitch Perfect is one of those delightful books that guides you through a process and points out all the right moves. Well-written, with great examples pulled from the stuff we do every day? It's a bargain at US$8.99 and available on Kindle and the iBookstore.