As a developer, you're probably aware that selling your app can be just as important as creating your app. Today, one of the regulars in #iphonedev asked me to take a look at his pitch video.
Intended to sell the idea of his app to possible reviewers, blogs, and other media, his first attempt demonstrated many common pitfalls. After discussing these with my editor, we decided to run a DevJuice to offer some recommendations.
What follows are six tips to help you create tighter video pitches. Use these suggestions to help tune your product videos before you send them off to bloggers.
You can view both the before and after versions of the video at the bottom of this post. "Tender Loving Care" by Trilobyte Games will launch on Tuesday for $13.99. It runs on both iPad and iPhone (iOS 5 and later).
1. Be brief. I felt his initial video was too long. Nearly two minutes in length, he forgot a key fact about communication.
Many busy reviewers have the attention span of a toddler, if that. Instead of spanning two minutes, I suggested he cut his video down to 30 seconds.
2. Find your hook. Another issue was his message. Buried deep in his two minutes was one really good hook. I recommended he bring that out, punch it big time, and then stop.
If you watch the videos that follow, see if you agree with me as to what, exactly, that hook was, and why it was effective.
3. Focus on the message. He made a really common mistake that I best characterize as "you think viewers will be as enchanted with the moment-by-moment playback of your game as you are."
His first attempt contains a fairly long game excerpt, which I found distracted from his message rather than supported it. His updated video allows the reviewer to follow up and test the games hands-on, rather than trying to engage with it as a static video playback.
I believe hands-on testing is always a better way to appreciate game play. I don't suggest you skip game coverage entirely, mind you -- but you should just offer enough to engage interest and no more. The viewer should get a sense of how the application operates, but doesn't need a blow-by-blow introduction.
4. Communicate your successes. He failed to sell a really important strength of his company. I'll call this one: "play your winners." His company is rather well known for another game. I recommended that he punch that game somewhere in his presentation, along with the name of the rather well-known actor who appears in the game.
5. Avoid passive voice. I recommended that he drop the buzzwords and passive voice descriptions, and offer more engaging descriptions to the viewer. More often than not, the problem stems from a "good enough" mentality. You lead with your first attempt.
Take a break. Go back after a while and listen to your script, then edit it. You have nothing to lose but your "is"-es.
6. Guide the viewer. Finally, I recommended that he conclude the video with concrete information of what to do next, should someone be interested in following up. It never hurts to lead a potential reviewer by the hand after engaging their interest.
Agree with these points? Disagree? Drop your opinions in the comments.