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How to get reviews in online magazines?

Hi,

We recently released our new product (PC instant backup/recovery) that has some unique features and the initial feedback is really good. The forum of the main competitor is filled with posts of its users switching to our software.

However I can't seem to find a way to spread the word to a bigger audience. I think publishing a review in some popular tech magazines would be a good start. However I don't have any contacts with editors, and my several attempts to contact them didn't work (which is somewhat expected, as they apparently receive a ton of such emails per day).

So I was wondering if you can recommend any intermediate/PR company that has connections to editors and can push them to have a look at our product. Or maybe there are other methods that I'm missing - any advice is much appreciated. Thank you
Isso Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
Press release dude, press release.

It's what they're for.





AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
Reluctantlyregistered: "AC"

What does this mean, please?

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
Air conditioner. Also, the initials of his name.
Wyatt O'Day Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
Reluctantlyregistered,

Thank you for the suggestion. Frankly I didn't have much positive effect from sending press releases - they seem to get ignored just like direct contacts.

So my question is still the same - can anyone recommend a PR company that has proven experience and connections with tech magazine editors? Thank you
Isso Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
There is no easy formula for getting noticed. If there was, we'd all be doing it.

In my limited experience most PR people are useless. They will just fire off a press release that is worse than one you could have written yourself. They might tell you they have special relationships with editors/bloggers, but they probably don't. In fact most decent editors will probably chuck something in the bin as soon as they realise it is from a PR company.

Many PR companies also have the cheek to charge you a monthly 'retainer'.

There probably are good/clever/talented PR people out there, but I have yet to meet any of them.

PR - for when you are too stupid for HR, too dishonest for sales and too lazy for marketing.
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
Of course, it doesn't help that backup/recovery is such a massively competitive market.
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
Andy,

Thank you for your thorough answer and for sharing your experience.
OK, I'll see if I can find other ways to solve this problem.

Odd enough that for pretty much any programming-related problem there is an exact solution.
For marketing it's exactly the opposite - I'm yet to find out a resource that gives some distinct methods to promote a software. Everywhere I can only see some rather vague directions. 

However, big companies somehow promote their products, and I don't think that their marketing people just release a PR and wait for a magic to happen. Anyone knows what they are doing? (Let's not think about the budgets to spend, I'm interested in methodology) Thank you
Isso Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
How much money do you have?  I have experience using PR firms in tech fields, just not the information tech field.  What they can do for you that you can't on your own, is get your press release noticed if you buy lots of advertising.  Not that there is anything wrong with magazine advertising, in specialized fields it is the most effective advertising we do.  But effective advertising costs money.

What you can do on your own without a PR firm is get press releases noticed without buying lots of advertising.  Publications need content, but their content providing employees are editors, not journalists.  They need vendor supplied content, such as press releases, in order to build an article that looks like it was written by a journalist.  To be blunt, either your press releases aren't very good, or your product doesn't interest the people who get your press release.

For less money than buying magazine advertising, you can hire a professional to write your press releases for you (which is a service  I believe Mr. ReluctantlyRegistered offers).  Which takes care of the first problem.  For the second problem, try selling your product to the people you are sending your press releases to.  If they ask for  a free sample in exchange for a review, consider that a sale.  If their publication is a worthwhile way to reach your market, they will get so many offers of free products for review, they will only accept ones that interest them.

No magazine editor is going to publish a review of your product just because you hired a top drawer PR firm.  You will also find that the best PR firms won't take you as a client if your product doesn't fit their image.  If they are any good, and your product looks like a good fit for them, they will come to you.  No matter how you look at it, you don't need a recommendation for a PR firm from an anonymous discussion forum.
Howard Ness Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
"any programming-related problem there is an exact solution"
I haven't been paid for writing code for a while, but that's not how I remember it.  I remember getting 8 different exact solutions, none of which could tell me if I had the problem properly defined.

" yet to find out a resource that gives some distinct methods to promote a software"
Same thing as above.  Properly define your marketing problem, and you will get lots of exact solutions, none of which will be clearly the best for your situation.
Howard Ness Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
'AC'  - my initials, Alan Carr :o)

A good press release (I stress a good one) should help you get noticed. It won't twist the arm of any major bloggers or mag' editors but if you do in fact have something special to offer, why wouldn't they take an interest?

If you DON'T have anything noteworthy to offer, then why should they take note?

One thing a professional like myself can help you with is figuring out just what is newsworthy? Often the blandest of products can be made into news - and sometimes they can't.

Windows and OSX both have built-in backup systems, there are also well-established 3rd party products such as Acronis, so what makes your product so interesting?

Even if you don't produce a press release you should at least pretend you did, in order to know just what is so special about your product ;o)



AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
Howard,

Very impressive answer, thank you very much!

For budget - I'm thinking to spend up to 10K for now and see the results. If I get decent number of downloads, then a bigger budget can be allocated.

I'm pretty sure that our product indeed stands out from the masses. I've conducted beta-testing on WildersSecurity forum and the thread now has over 2000 replies. So there is interest.  And I think (just like you mentioned) eventually the product will be noticed by journalists, and the visibility will be increased. 

However my intention is to speed that process up. Thank you for your excellent answer!
Isso Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
Alan,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I went through your web page, and I find it very impressive. I might contact you if you don't mind.

I believe our product is noteworthy, I thoroughly described its advantages on our webpage, added some comparison articles with main competitors including Acronis and Windows backup  http://feedback.ax64.com

Users do like it. Nowadays everyone is spoiled with free software of any kind, especially in overcrowded PC backup market. Still I manage to sell it, because of a number of unique features. So mainly what I need is to boost the visibility of the program.

Thank you.
Isso Send private email
Thursday, May 23, 2013
 
 
You're welcome Isso, though I won't be available until the 8th of next month or later.

Just had a look at your site. It seems to divert to the forum/blog section, complete with bug reports and feature requests? I strongly urge you to create a better landing page or homepage, before driving traffic to that site.

Backup software sales are driven in part by trust, i.e. they have to absolutely trust your product to do it's job when needed. The current site makes it look like a work in progress, which is the exact opposite.

Yes, I know there's no such thing as software that's "finished" but still, buyers need to know you've heavily tested it, it's reliable and so on. Even if it wasn't backup software specifically, feature requests and bug reports offer no benefits to the reader anyway.

For contact, please use the form on my site, as that's guaranteed to reach me.



AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Friday, May 24, 2013
 
 
Alan,

Thank you for your remarks. Regarding the website - that's not the main page, but the Feedback page - I mentioned it, because there you could find the KB with the comparison to Acronis etc. The main site is www.ax64.com

I completely agree about Backup software and trust, and I'm trying to communicate to the potential customers a lot, so they see that the program has a good support.

Thank you
Isso Send private email
Friday, May 24, 2013
 
 
Aah! So it is.

I kept clicking the logo, thinking that would take me to the home page but it stayed on the feedback thing. I see, it's a sub-domain.

OK, let's look at the real thing...

Right, this is the kind of thing I'm talking about. You have 6 main features or benefits. That's fine, the more the better - except it's too many.

What's the MAIN reason?

For example you claim it can do backups  in "seconds to a minute"? If that's true it's amazing, it's a headline, it's newsworthy and it deserves a detailed explanation or at least something backing up that Big Promise.

Or it's BS, in which case get rid of it :o)

You get the idea though, find one, maybe two, major points and lead the charge with those.

I'd also VERY seriously suggest you rethink the name, as Apple will almost certainly consider 'Time Machine' as an infringement.




AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Friday, May 24, 2013
 
 
Alan,

I really appreciate your suggestions and will have them in mind.
Regarding the speed - it's absolutely not a BS, we have a big community and they wouldn't let me so shamelessly lie.

For name - I'll be talking to the lawyer soon, maybe you are right.

Thank you so much for your help!
Isso Send private email
Friday, May 24, 2013
 
 
I really wouldn't want to pick a fight with Apple. They are rather litigious and, last I heard, they had $100 billion in the bank.
Andy Brice Send private email
Saturday, May 25, 2013
 
 
Here is an alternative viewpoint:
http://www.rocknrollbride.com/2013/05/step-away-from-the-press-release/

If you look, there are many other articles about why small start ups should NOT use press releases; e.g. http://birch.co/post/18138274831/no-one-reads-your-press-releases

I think this quote from that last link stands out
"Identify key reporters and industry bloggers and build relationships with these folks."

If AC wants to respond, I would be interested to know your counterpoint.
koan Send private email
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
 
 
"However, big companies somehow promote their products, and I don't think that their marketing people just release a PR and wait for a magic to happen. Anyone knows what they are doing? (Let's not think about the budgets to spend, I'm interested in methodology)"

You can't dismiss budgets and only focus on "methodology".  Having a big budget is a big companies primary methodology.  Buy ads in magazines, buy ads on websites, and, if you are a big company you have lots of people coming to your website, so just posting an announcement there will get you a lot of business.
Richard McBeef Send private email
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
 
 
Apple press releases get loads of coverage because they are made by Apple. The same rules don't apply to a mISV 99.999% of the public have never heard of.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
 
 
cant you make your own e-magazines and review them through the same program? i tried once one magazine app from downloadfast.com (because it was recommended in the first page actually i didnt take lot time looking for...haha) and i'm getting used to it right now. maybe you should try it as well.
yuke he Send private email
Thursday, June 20, 2013
 
 
i forget to paste the direction of web? i will leave it below even it's not my home page...i dont have any haha
yuke he Send private email
Thursday, June 20, 2013
 
 

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