At TechComms, we’ve had the privilege of working with many great tech companies helping them to build credibility and awareness with PR. Along the way we’ve spearheaded the launch of hundreds of products and services. A product launch can be wildly successful or land with a thud. It all comes down to the planning and preparation before the big day. In our experience, true collaboration across the organisation is necessary along with the input and direction of your PR team. So, let us help you make your next product launch a success with these five tips.
Start early. PR cannot be the last team to be told about an upcoming product/service launch. We need to be in the earliest discussion stages in order to understand what it is, how it’s a ‘first’ and why customers will care about it. We like at least 12 weeks to do a proper launch. Can we work on shorter timelines? Yes, of course. But you risk shortchanging how much media coverage of the launch we can secure. We need enough notice to craft messaging that will resonate with the media and secure customer, analyst, investor or partner quotes.
Buildout messaging/positioning. We need subject matter experts to help with developing the key messages so that we can create a PR plan and identify the right media targets. We’ll need briefings from internal sources and demos, if applicable. The better we understand what’s new and noteworthy about the product or service, the better the story we can tell to the media. Skipping over this step can result in a chaotic launch where spokespeople are unclear about the messaging and could make up their own script as they go, confusing the marketplace and making for a disjointed outcome.
Decide if you’ll do an exclusive or embargo the news. This can be a tricky decision to make. A well-timed exclusive story appearing in one key publication sounds like the right option, but if for some reason things fall through last minute or a journalist changes their mind about reporting on your new product/service, you’ll be left scrambling. Pitching your launch news under embargo (the news release is shared a week or two in advance with journalists who agree to not report your news until your launch date) can be a good way to test your messages and collect feedback from key audiences. It also gives journalists time to write their stories or talk to customers or partners and build a stronger story. On the day of the launch, multiple articles are likely to appear in those key media targets that agreed to the embargo, providing far-reaching awareness about the availability of your new product/service.
Finalise the launch press release. The press release starts everything for the PR team. It becomes our most important messaging tool. The launch release needs to be written and finalised weeks (read: even better, months!) in advance. Pitches are built from it. We drive a lot of our PR planning and outreach from the content of the release. We use the quotes to build credibility and as a vehicle for securing media briefings or coverage of the news.
Conduct analyst and media briefings. Choose your spokespeople wisely and then take the time to media train them. Provide talking points and soundbites for them to use during media interviews and ensure they know the two most important messages to share. Doing media and analyst interviews prior to the launch can also help you finetune the messaging. This is especially true with analysts as they can help you tweak your value proposition to resonate with your target audiences and the industry at large. Your PR team plays a huge role in this final step. We handle the outreach, secure the briefings and do the follow up.
Have a product or service that’s ready to launch? We’d love the opportunity to get it the media attention it deserves. Contact us on 00 44 (0) 203 322 8928.