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Plan a Launch You Can Enjoy

By the time you’re ready to release an app, you’ve invested countless hours into thinking, planning, programming, and debugging. You’ve probably injected bits of your own personality and your own goals into your creation, and now you’re about to reveal it to the world. You want it to do well. You want it to make a splash. You want to go into the day confident that you’re ready, and you want as little stress as possible so you can enjoy the ride. The good news is that you can have low-stress launches you feel confident about, but they aren’t the product of chance. They happen when you plan your releases well.

A Myriad of Requirements

One of the truths of shipping a new app, or a major update to an existing app, is that there are a large number of non-development tasks you need to take care of before it can go live. You need to write the App Store description, put together a website, contact members of the media, choose search keywords, find beta testers, and so much more. You’ll need to figure out all of this well before you ship your app, especially if you need to contract out some of your work. Most of these things, like your icon, screenshots, and app description, have to be in place before you can even submit to the App Store. These things all have to be done, no exceptions. If you don’t work on them in advance, you’ll have to do them at the last minute. Instead of basking in the joy (and maybe mild dread) that comes with submitting your project to the App Store for the first time, you’ll be scrambling to put all the pieces together. Preparation also means that you can be confident that you’ve done your best work before you launch instead of being flustered and wondering if you could have done better if you’d given yourself more time.

Your App Won’t Successfully Launch Itself

When you’re intentional about planning and preparing for your app’s release you’re taking charge of its success instead of leaving it to chance. Finding great beta testers means your app suits your audience’s needs, not just your own. Putting together a great press kit helps members of the media learn why they should write about your app. Writing an amazing description for the App Store shows people who stumble across your app how it will make their lives better. When you plan your release you won’t have to wonder if people are confused, because your purpose will be clear and your messaging will be consistent and tested.

Prepare, Don’t React

I’ve been through some pretty stressful app launches. Maybe the app was ready to be submitted review, but nobody had taken screenshots. Maybe a great new feature meant the website needed to be updated, but nobody realized it until after the app was released. Maybe the unthinkable happened and the app didn’t pass review because our beta tests didn’t reveal a crash-inducing bug. It happens, but the unintentional lack of preparedness made the release tiring and left everyone working on it frustrated. Who wants that? Launches should be exciting and fun, not panicked and stressful. The best app launches I’ve been a part of were intentionally and thoughtfully prepared: everything was in place to ensure smooth App Store approval, press kits were updated, and messaging was in place so questions and feature requests could be addressed quickly and accurately. Plan ahead. Give yourself a launch you can enjoy.

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© Aleen Simms