Friday, June 14, 2013

Software Gift-Giving Guides
and Software Roundup Articles

Last week, I posted an article entitled "Gift Cards for Software" on this blog. The article mentioned that many magazine and newspaper editors publish Christmas Gift-Giving Guides for their readers, and that software developers can increase their sales by being included in these gift guides.

Earlier this week, Computer Reseller News (CRN) delivered the perfect illustration for my article by publishing their "Father's Day Gift Guide: 25 Great Tech Gift Ideas For Dad." Only one of the 25 gifts is a software application. The others are peripherals, accessories, and stand-alone tech toys. But the principle applies - If you send press releases to the tech publications' editors and columnists, you'll increase your chances of getting publicity for your software in these gift-giving guides, and in roundup articles.

Gift-Giving Guides

A gift-giving guide is a feature article that publications print or post before major holidays. While the Christmas gift-giving guides are the most common, many magazines and newspapers print holiday gift guides for Father's Day, Mother's Day, Graduation Day, and other religious and secular holidays.

Editors and columnists know that their readers are always looking for fresh ideas for affordable tech gifts. So these gift-giving articles tend to be very popular with the publications' readers. Surprisingly, it's not just the computer consumer magazines and the daily newspapers' tech columnists who publish these guides. The computer trade magazines - and even the dealer/VAR outlets such as CRN - usually cover gifts for the holidays.

Stodgy and conservative publications often recommend games and frivolous home software to their readers. Vertical market publications and blogs take a light-hearted look at popular software and tech-toys, and make recommendations to their readers, too.

Roundup Articles

Roundup articles are very similar to gift-giving guides. Roundup articles typically discuss the features and benefits of a group of ten-or-so software programs in a category. For example, you can expect to see vertical-market magazines publish year-end roundup articles with titles such as "Top Ten iOS Games" or "The Year's Best Financial Apps."

Editors, bloggers, and columnists use press releases as the source of many of their roundup articles. Even though the "news" value of a press release might have diminished by the time the roundup article is printed, the press release that you sent to the editors can still create more income for your microISV.

Roundup articles tend to generate more software sales than downloads. Because the editor or columnist is an expert who is recommending your application as one of the top programs in its niche, many buyers will simply make the purchase, without installing and trying the application first.

With roundup articles, you don't have to have the most "stars" to generate software sales. If an editor awards your software three stars and describes it as "solid, but without the advanced features of similar applications," then your three-star program might outsell the five-star application because many people don't want to wrestle with a complicated application.

The Bottom Line

It's hard to break into the holiday gift-giving guides and the roundup articles. Many editors choose "safe" programs to recommend. And safety is often measured by crowdsourcing: If a program is very popular, it must be very good. It could take you some time - and a bunch of press releases - to develop a solid reputation with magazine and newspaper editors.

Start now. Please visit my software press release site to learn more about using press releases to sell more software.

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