The app world in 2018 is a competitive one. Though there’s undoubtedly money to be made in these hills (at last count the app industry was worth a cool $77 billion), competition continues to be extremely fierce, with many apps failing to launch successfully, or only creating the smallest of ripples before fading into obscurity forever. While no one wants that fate for their precious creation, the odds are stacked against indie developers; there are currently over 2.8 million apps available on Android (the largest app market in the world), closely followed by the App Store, which offers customers over 2.2 million applications and counting. Taking those numbers into account, it’s easy to see why some apps fail before they even get off the ground; it’s simply too big a competition pool. However, there are a number of strategies you can employ to give you the best shot at cracking the app charts, and paramount among those is giving your app its own blog.
In the world of app creation and success, as with many other commercial ventures, we see the Pareto principle in action. This principle dictates that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In this case, we can conclude that 80% of app sales (basically 4/5ths of $77 billion) are generated by only a fifth of the apps available (and even that might be putting it generously when it comes to this new and untested market). So the goal is to shoot your app into that hallowed 20%. Ironically, to do this, you must rely on everything but the app itself. Many developers make the mistake of becoming too close and too attached to their creations, thereby assuming that people will love it and appreciate it just the way they do. Unfortunately, this is hardly ever the case, and more than a few indie developers have been crushed upon releasing their cherished product to an indifferent world.
Sadly, unless the app is truly revolutionary and exceptional, it’s unlikely to make noise in the app charts, no matter how good it actually is. When releasing an app, you need to combine it with a solid marketing strategy, just like everyone does when they want to sell their wares. This is true of everything from an unknown band’s debut single to the latest instalment in the Avenger’s franchise. All creative works need to get the word out there before they’re actually released, and the more inventively they do that, the better their reach. Many people think that the process of marketing saps the creativity out of their venture, and are bored or intimidated by it. On the contrary, marketing can be one of the most creative aspects of a product, if you think outside the box and fully engage with the process.
The internet has helped immeasurably in that regard. It’s now the go-to channel of advertising for almost every single industry out there, and the best part is that it plays fair. A product or video has the potential to go viral by being funny, engaging, or just plain clever. The internet audience doesn’t care how much money is behind a campaign; if it engages them, it engages them, and they’re likely to share it on with their friends and networks. This is what a blog is such an effective tool in the promotion of your app.
But before you get into your blog, you’ll need a landing page for your app. This should be secured very early in the whole process, as things like domain name availability can throw a spanner in the works late in the game. Remember, you’re not just building an app, you’re building a marketing strategy as well, and they’re both equally important parts of the whole. Your very own website is where you can showcase your overall branding for your app, and attempt to make an impact on your visitors with elements such as visuals, typeface, logo and video (not forgetting the email sign-up form). More importantly, your landing page is where you can start introducing people to your app’s personal narrative, in the form of a blog.
A blog is a bona fide Swiss Army knife when it comes to marketing. First and foremost, it provides shades of colour to the people behind the app, i.e. YOU. Apps in general don’t have a lot of opportunity to make an impression on potential customers, beyond a thumbnail, title, a brief description and (if you’re lucky) some good reviews. A blog can be the perfect remedy for that, allowing everyone to see the thought process and struggles behind bringing your app into the world. Apps also give you the opportunity to increase your search engine optimisation (or SEO for short), and ultimately rank higher in search engine algorithms when people search for keywords related to your product. You can build informative articles around these keywords, letting them take the form of blog posts, providing a SEO platform while engaging and informing your audience about a relative topic at the same time.
You can also share these blogs on your various social media channels, which is also something you should prepare well in advance of your product release. If all goes to plan, your visitors will share or link to your posts as well, driving more traffic to your site and ultimately to your app. But to achieve this, the blogs have to be well-written and consistent: content is king. If you don’t fancy yourself as much of a scribe, then hire someone who is and let them loose on your story and product. The final advantage of blogs is that they keep your app fresh and relevant, even once it’s passed its release day. By putting out related content and linking your App Store or Google Play within the posts, you can keep your creation front and centre in your audience’s minds. In the fast-paced world of the digital age, the value of this, and high quality blogs, cannot be understated.