How to Sell Apps Without Kneeling to Almighty Apple

I’m a huge advocate of entrepreneurial independence. Being overly reliant on one client, one vendor, or one sales channel is almost as bad as having a job.

In that spirit, we kicked off Entreproducer with a piece that encourages digital authors to think like entrepreneurs, and warns against relying on the good graces of Amazon to bring them fame and fortune.

Since then, I’ve been dismayed by the “advice” being given to app developers. “Just make something cool and hope Apple showcases it,” these pundits are saying.

That’s ridiculous, and far from the true entrepreneurial spirit. Apple doesn’t care about you any more than Amazon cares about individual authors.

The key to achieving true independence is to have a direct relationship with the people who might want to buy your app. That means building an audience with content, first.

Case Study: Buffer

Buffer is a multi-platform application that allows you to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn throughout the day (great for content marketing and curation). Leo Widrich is a co-founder of the company, and the guy in charge of getting the word out about Buffer.

Robert Bruce has been particularly offended by the “let Apple sell it” mentality in the app world. He liked Leo’s approach to building a community around Buffer with content, so Robert tracked him down for an exclusive audio interview for Entreproducer.

In this high-value 24-minute interview, you’ll discover:

  • Where the idea for Buffer came from
  • Why Buffer doesn’t rely on the iOS app store for marketing
  • How Leo developed Buffer’s content strategy
  • What 300 articles in 9 months did for their business
  • Why content creation was (and is) essential to their success
  • How to start a content creation strategy from scratch
  • How Leo grew Buffer by writing less about Buffer
  • Why app developers should never rely on Apple for a marketing strategy
  • What Leo would do differently if he could start from day one

Click here to subscribe in iTunes.

Download the mp3 here or listen on the player below.

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Brian Clark is Editor-in-Chief of Entreproducer, a multimedia email publication exploring the business of independent digital media. Get more related content on Twitter.

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  • The business, revenue, staffing, and legal models that move you from content start-up to success.
  • Audio and video profiles of the entrepreneurs and companies that are pushing digital content innovation.
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Comments

  1. Have to say I now use Buffer more than hootsuite or tweet deck. It just works and works well. They built an easy to use dashboard where you don’t get lost in settings and other non related links and tasks.

    After using it for a few days I upgraded to what they now call the awesome plan. It was an easy decision.

    Nice article Brian:)

    Rich

    • Wow, that is such great feedback for our work Rich, thanks a lot for stopping by and letting me know! I have passed on your comment to the entire team! :)

    • Buffer is so easy to use and I agree with you Richard that Tweet Deck and Hootsuite cannot beat Buffer. Its awesome and great to use Buffer via WordPress as Plugin.

  2. Mark Gubuan says:

    Great interview. I think the key takeaway from an entreprenuerial perspective is h hard he worked to get content out. Multiple pieces everyday of week. That’s hardcore work that deserves hardcore success.

    • Cheers Mark, indeed it is hard work. If you want to get started with it, I believe the best thing is always to take it easy though. For the first 3 weeks I only wrote 1 post a week because I couldn’t do more and then I gradually increased that! :)

  3. Awesome interview, I learned what hustling with a great content strategy can do.
    Thank you!

    Brian

  4. I agree with Richard; Buffer has replaced HootSuite and TweetDeck as my social updates publisher of choice. It’s so simple it’s fun. But beyond the ease-of-use, or perhaps because of it, Buffer (to me) significantly reduces the amount of overwhelm that nearly always surfaces when managing/curating the deluge of updates from all corners of the Internet. Buffer, as a company, seems more in-tune to this than others and, most importantly, more responsive to it.

    I wasn’t aware of their content marketing efforts. Thanks for sharing; it really helps fill out the picture of Buffer’s strategic thinking.

    Best,
    Matt

  5. I’ve used Buffer in a roundabout way since they took over the Digg Digg plugin for WordPress. Not long after they did that, I noticed a dramatic improvement in the plugin’s ease of use, customization and management. I thought – if they can do that for a plugin, what else do they do? And I’ve not been disappointed.

    I have a feeling Buffer is going to be the first of many app developers who make “not sucking up to Apple” a core part of their business plan – and thrive because of it.

    • Hi Sherice,

      Awesome to see you here and really amazing you have been with us since the DiggDigg acquisition. Wow, very glad that we could improve the plugin for you, that’s definitely one of our most important things to work on!

      Yep, I completely agree, simply “creating your own marketing” is what needs to be done, getting featured was never an option for us! :)

  6. I’m a huge fan of Buffer and the Digg Digg plugin, so it was great to get a peek behind all the “up front” stuff that we see. The 300 articles was a real eye opener, and kudos to the Buffer team for making it happen. I am happy to have found Buffer a few months ago, and I think it shows how much they care.

    • Thanks so much for the kind words Nathalie, really amazing to have you on board and very cool you like our story! Hit me up @leowid any time if I can help with anything! :)

  7. I’ve just downloaded the interview and am looking forward to listening to it. I wanted to say though that on the Mac running Firefox I couldn’t see the player controls, but I could on Safari. Not sure if that is just me or if it is a known issue with Firefox?

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