Product launches are exciting. Whether it is your first offer to the market, or a new addition to your portfolio, a product launch is the perfect time to leverage your PR capabilities to generate some buzz. After all, the “If you build it, they will come,” model only works in old baseball movies. In real life, you have to make sure the market knows what you’ve got. Here’s how PR can help.
#1 - Earned Media
It is ideal if the journalists and publications that cover your market have glowing things to say about your product and its power to benefit customers. You can’t just sit back and count on this, however.
If you want your launch to be covered, it is essential to have a highly targeted list of media contacts who might take note. You should build relationships with them long before you send out the press release. A lot of time and thought should go into crafting a pitch that explains exactly why the journalist’s audience will care. Don’t just offer a list of features and benefits. Tie the launch to a larger story of what is happening in the market.
You may consider previews, free trials, or demonstrations. It will also help if you have customers who have used the product before launch that are willing to be quoted or speak to reporters.
#2 - Surveys and Studies
Depending on the nature of the product you are launching, it may be worth the investment to commission, conduct, or sponsor a study or survey that supports the market need for a product like yours. It might focus on the problem that your offer solves. This is a very powerful way to get potential buyers focused on the pain, creating a soft landing for your message.
#3 – Industry Awards
In most industries, there are organizations that offer the opportunity to earn awards. Some are very competitive with strict qualifications required, while others fall more into the pay-to-play category. In either case, submissions can often be done before the product has officially launched or very soon thereafter. Awards from even the most obscure organizations can go a long way to give your audience confidence that your product is worth consideration.
#4 - Success Stories and Case Studies
We mentioned before that early adopting customers can be useful for earned media. They can also help with your other PR and marketing efforts. You might be noticing that building trust is an important current that underlines your PR efforts early in the life of your product. Hearing from those who have enjoyed it will give the rest of your market piece of mind. We recommend that brands do whatever it takes to get some clients who are willing to share their experience, even if it means giving away products for free or greatly reducing the price.
#5 – Influencer Outreach
Aside from journalists, there are likely others in your space who have earned the trust and attention of your audience. They can be the key to getting the word out about your new product. This is why Kim Kardashian and other celebs get so much free stuff. One Instagram pic can change the trajectory of a product. There may not be a Kim Kardashian in your world, but if you dig into the data, you’ll find people who are followed by many of your potential buyers. Reach out to them and get them excited about your launch.
A product launch deserves a strategy that includes all of your owned, paid, and earned channels. A carefully executed PR plan can make the difference between a product launch that is a success and one that is a dud.