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Press Releases for Software Developers
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Software Marketing - Don't say "shareware" in your press release

from Al Harberg's archive of software marketing ideas, designed to increase your software sales

A "shareware" press release isn't going to impress the editors. Don't use the term "shareware" in your news releases. Good software marketing demands that you say "software" and not "shareware".

Avoid using the term "shareware"

shareware press release Every magazine and newspaper claims to have an impenetrable wall between their editorial and advertising departments. My experience is that these publications try to not let advertising dollars affect the press coverage that they give. But there are exceptions.

How publications make money

Computer magazines have two major sources of income: subscriber money and advertiser money. Editors can increase their subscriber base by telling their readers about neat new software. Like yours. But the magazines would like to turn you into an advertiser. If they can demonstrate that, by their printing your press release you'll get a lot of inquiries from their readers, then they might talk you into buying ad space.

shareware and software microISVs Shareware authors, however, are not known for buying lots of magazine ads. So, given two equally intriguing press releases, one for a shareware product and one for a shelfware product, it's in the magazine's interest to give ink to the shelfware. While all editors would insist that there's a solid wall between their editorial and advertising departments, the editors are, after all, human, and interested in the financial success of their employers. So, it's best not to mention your being a shareware author.

Selling other computer gear

Businesses that sell computer books, training, supplies, peripherals, and accessories don't have this problem. It's unique to software developers and the "try before you buy" standard that has emerged in the industry.

The mystery of shareware

Not everybody knows what the term "shareware" means. Some people associate it with second-tier software, and view it as having lower quality than the shrink-wrapped software that they find in stores. Others simply aren't familiar with the term. You can lose sales by using terms that people don't understand. And you can lose sales by defining terms like "shareware". These definitions take prospects' attention away from your company and its software, and will cost you sales. It's bad software marketing.

Shareware and your press release

Don't say "shareware" in your press release. Simply talk about the availability of a free, fully-functional 30-day trial version.


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