Unless you’re Amazon, a new product or business idea probably doesn’t start with a press release. And it probably shouldn’t. When it comes to a product or business launch or announcing the business itself, a more methodological approach is more likely to ensure that the offering and messaging are solid and ready for market.
With a public launch as your end goal, you should start by focusing on some behind-the-scenes work.
Create a Go-to-Market Strategy
Once you’ve established the need for a new offering and have developed a prototype, the first step towards a public launch is creating a go-to-market (GTM) strategy. TechTarget defines a GTM strategy as:
A go-to-market strategy (GTM strategy) is an action plan that specifies how a company will reach target customers and achieve competitive advantage. The purpose of a GTM strategy is to provide a blueprint for delivering a product or service to the end customer, taking into account such factors as pricing and distribution. A GTM strategy is somewhat similar to a business plan, although the latter is broader in scope and considers additional factors like funding.
A GTM strategy outlines:
- A market definition
- Target customers
- Your distribution model
- Product messaging and positioning
With these five components established, you’re ready to move to the next phase of a public launch.
Vet Your Strategy and Messaging
Now that you have a GTM strategy in place, it’s time to vet it with third-party experts. First, review it with your outside PR agency. They can help you tweak your messaging and understand how each key audience will receive it before it’s put under any further scrutiny.
Once you feel your strategy and messaging are solid, turn to the analyst community. If you’re in a position to pay for some additional outside advice, we recommend doing a full messaging review with an analyst.
If not, a round of analyst briefings will do the trick. While analysts are not able to provide robust advice during a complimentary briefing, many will still provide candid feedback. Pay close attention to the questions analysts ask during these briefings, as prospects and customers will likely have the same questions.
Finalize Messaging and Draft a Release
Now that you have spoken with key third parties, use any feedback to refine and finalize your messaging. Once you’ve done so, you’ll be in a good place to draft a press release announcing your offering.
To really strengthen your announcement, we always recommend including a use case from a beta customer. At the very least, source a forward-looking quote from a customer about why they selected the solution.
With strong messaging and a customer testimonial, you have the baseline for a strong release.
Pre-brief Key Media
When you’ve drafted a release, it’s time to begin media outreach. When launching a new product or company, we always recommend that you brief key media contacts ahead of the announcement. You’ll want to start this process the a week or two before your target PR launch date. By pre-briefing the media, you’ll ensure you have coverage the day of your announcement. To prepare for media briefings, review our best practices.
There are two options when it comes to pre-briefing the media:
1. An exclusive
In this scenario, you’re offering the story to just a single high-profile media contact. This approach works best if you have a strong customer use case and the customer is willing to speak with the media.
Remember: With an exclusive, you’re at the mercy of the reporter and any breaking news. That means you might have to be flexible with your launch date and be ready to announce your news as soon as the story publishes.
2. Pre-pitch a wider range of media contacts
A good number of targets is around 10-12; you don’t want to pre-pitch EVERYONE, rather focus on key contacts.
Remember: Make sure that all of your contacts agree to your embargo date. You don’t want the news to leak before your launch.
It’s Launch Day
Finally, it’s launch day! Today, you’ll distribute your product or business launch press release over the wire and conduct day of outreach to media contacts you didn’t pre-brief. You’ll also want to follow up with any media contacts you previously reached out to who haven’t yet covered the news.
During launch day, and throughout the following week, ensure key spokespeople are available to speak with media. If needed, block some time on calendars in anticipation of these requests.
As coverage appears, be sure to post to your website and share on your social media channels.
Once you’ve successfully launched your product or business, there’s still a ton of work to be done. Your broader marketing strategy, from social media to email campaigns, should also support your new product or business launch and continue to reiterate the key advantages you provide by tying them into ongoing conversations.
If you’re planning a product or business launch but don’t know where to begin, reach out. Ketner Group has decades of experience doing just that. We’re here to help.