Launch PR strategy: it's not magic, it's science.
The launch of a new product is an exciting time. A huge amount of effort goes into crafting a perfectly timed marketing plan for that big ‘ta-dah’ on launch day; from product research and audience immersion to advertising and promotions. But what about the PR strategy? All too often PR is brought into the conversation too late and is expected to pull a rabbit out of a hat to secure a big media splash on launch day.
But PR isn’t magic, it’s all about the science of timing.
PR strategy paves the way for a successful marketing launch – generating awareness, building brand trust and checking that your messaging resonates with your audience. But why is leaving adequate time for momentum to build ahead of launch day so crucial?
Time to….nurture media relationships.
The better a journalist knows you, the more likely they are to cover you in the press. Achieving a successful media pitch if you don’t have an existing relationship can be a rough road, but long-term relationships aren’t built overnight.
It really does pay to start identifying your core press targets as early as possible and getting to know them as individuals before you have a story to push. Interact with them on social media, find out exactly what articles they’re writing and what they’re interested in – journalists are human after all so speak to them on their level.
Once you’ve established a partnership, then you can talk about your new launch. If you focus on the concept or problem your product or service is solving, rather than the product itself, then that’s what is really going to catch their eye and make you stand out from the competition.
Time to...adapt your approach.
It can be a big PR risk to pin your hopes on a single launch day, getting all the attention focused on your brand only to realise that your product isn’t ready or the quality isn’t up to scratch. Instead, consider a soft launch. It keeps the focus on your initial customers, invites early feedback and gives you enough time to test and adapt your messaging approach if necessary.
You may worry about a soft launch detracting attention from the real launch, but it can offer huge advantages in ensuring you’re better prepared for when launch day arrives. It also keeps your core customers happy as they’ve been part of the initial test, as well as getting the feelers out to journalists with expertise in your field, ahead of time.
Time to….keep the news rolling.
A launch date simply signifies the point from when your product or service is available. The key to a successful PR strategy is constantly providing regular content in the six weeks before your official product launch and maintaining that momentum post-launch (this point has also been touched upon in how to launch around a big event such as the Royal Wedding). Be it providing new ways to use your product or service, customer stories, stunts, white papers, competitions, interviews, funny videos, research or infographics.
It’s all about keeping the communication flowing – unless you’re Apple or Microsoft, expecting all your press coverage to hit on launch day is unrealistic so make sure you increase your visibility by spreading out the coverage. Just by taking the pressure off by removing a hard deadline gives journalists time to cover your launch and makes your goals seem much more achievable.
Launch PR strategy - conclusion.
In summary, when it’s ‘go time’ for your product launch, successful PR, unfortunately, isn’t as easy as flipping on a switch. But, by giving yourself enough time (we recommend a minimum three months) to create a well thought out PR strategy, you’ll be putting your brand in the best possible position come launch day and beyond.
By Fiona Healey