Getting featured by Apple is the Holy Grail for app publishers. It can drive huge amounts of downloads and spearhead multiple successful app launches in the future.
How do you get featured by Apple when you have no connections? Maybe you live far from Palo Alto and can’t get an in-person meeting.
Update (9/28/3015): If you prefer to watch, here’s the video I did for the Code With Chris YouTube Channel.
#1: Build a Great App
Not all apps deserve to be featured by Apple and while I question some apps that have been featured, it’s always important to remember that Apple wants to feature apps that are great for their customers and make them look good.
There are apps that I’ve built that I know don’t deserve to be featured, so be honest with yourself.
Not being featured by Apple won’t kill your launch, so focus on other app marketing channels.
When MiniGamr hired us, they already had more than 15 million downloads for their apps and once I played Are You In Over Your Head?, I knew they had a hit on their hands.
#2: Find the Right Contact Person
The key to getting featured is to find the right person to email at Apple. There are general email addresses, but they don’t seem to get anywhere with getting featured.
All you have to do is search on LinkedIn for “app store manager”, then filter the companies to just Apple.
Most App Store Managers at Apple have a category that they oversee, so you need to find the one that caters to your app’s category.
For this example, we found the person that was in charge of the games category.
#3: Find the Email Address
Next install the Email Hunter Chrome extension. This will put the email button right on a person’s LinkedIn profile.
Click that button and BAM! you have that person’s email.
#4: Write a Compelling Email
Besides creating a really great app, crafting a compelling story is one of the toughest parts of getting featured. Telling a good story is part art and part science.
However, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Have a Video: Make it really easy for the reviewer to take a quick look at your app to see if it’s worthy of a feature. The quality of your video will be used to judge the quality of your app.
- Leverage Social Proof: Have any of your past apps been featured? Or, in Jared’s case, we leveraged that his past apps have had more than 15 million downloads.
- New Apple Features: Are you using any new Apple features or iOS updates in your app?
- Keep It Short: Don’t go on and on about your app. Keep it between four and six sentences. A sentence on social proof, a sentence on why the app’s different, and a video.
- Ask for Feedback: You know the saying you get money when you ask for advice, and you get advice when you ask for money. Yeah, that applies here too.
If you need more information about how to write a compelling email pitch, then check out our article on the email pitch that resulted in a #2 paid app overall.
#5: Fill Out Some Forms
If everything works out, you’ll receive a reply from the App Store Manager with a few forms that you need to fill out.
Be quick and accurate on those forms and get it back to them ASAP.
You likely won’t hear from Apple after that and the fact that you filled out some forms doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be featured.
Next, you wait and check the App Store on Thursday (when it refreshes) to see if you’ve made the cut.
Pay Attention: If your app isn’t featured on the main page of the App Store, keep an eye out for the categories that your app is listed in. Are You In Over Your Head? was featured under Arcade and Family games.
BONUS: Leverage The Apple Feature
If your app does get featured by Apple on Thursday, email a few reporters to let them know of the feature.
Mashable has a weekly round-up post of new and updated apps that is published on the weekends.
We were able to get Mashable and Social Times to cover two different clients in back-to-back weeks using the round-up post strategy.
Now I run an app PR agency, Runway.bz, where we’ve helped clients get featured by Apple, hit the #2 paid app overall, and get coverage on Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.