Don’t Forget The PR In Your Product Release
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Ways That Public Relations Can Elevate Your Launch
If a tree falls in the forest, and no one uses public relations tactics to get the word out about it, does it make a sound? When your brand is launching new products or initiatives, you might ask yourself that very odd question. You’ll put the new product on your website or post about it on social media, but then you’ll miss a huge avenue for coverage of your news: the news!
Media outlets provide a great deal of value, especially when you have a big announcement. In these days of 24-hour content and multimedia, there are countless ways to get the word out. When it comes to PR efforts, we’ve got a few creative ways to let the public know that your proverbial tree is falling.
Build Some Anticipation
When you book a vacation, sometimes the weeks and months of anticipation for the trip can be as exciting as the actual trip. The same goes for product launches. Before launch day, get people excited by letting them in on a bit of the secret. First, you can set a launch day to begin with. When people know that you’ll be announcing big news, they’re going to be more likely to pay attention to it.
Next, consider teasing different parts of the launch for certain parts of your audience (e.g., newsletter subscribers). If you want to get really creative, you could “leak” photos or information about it, making it look like an accident, which will get people buzzing.
If you want to get really creative, you can “leak” photos or information about your launch to get people buzzing.
And sometimes, you don’t even have to give them anything more than a date and time. People’s imaginations are often more exciting than reality. So, if you tell them to tune into your Facebook Live next Thursday at 2pm ET, and leave it at that, you’ll likely get a lot of curious cats to check it out.
Give Them Access
Just as “leaks” create a buzz, exclusive access to a product launch is worth its weight in gold, and there are creative ways to use it. Above all else, giving access is a way to make influential people feel like they’re a part of it.
On the journalism side, if you offer up a couple of in-depth story opportunities to media members before the launch, you can give them access and lead time to publish stories right alongside the launch. That will no doubt help strengthen your relationships with key media members, and will help you tell your story with rich editorial content.
By letting influencers use your new product prior to the launch, they can help answer customer questions during the launch, show the product in real-world use, and advocate for it.
And of course, there’s the growing popularity of social media influencers. For a product launch, having a small group of influencers who get to use and promote your product before and during the launch can generate huge engagement on social media. They can also answer customer questions during the launch, show the product in real-world use, and advocate for it. The more people you have in your corner when you flip the switch, the better.
Show Them, Don’t Just Tell Them
Speaking of, “showing the product in the real world,” is a key tactic in a product launch. Anything can look shiny and clean in a studio, but it’s more impactful when you show it in use. For example, if you’re launching a new line of lawnmowers, make sure that you have good photography of the mowers out in the “wild” being used by real-life customers. You can even create a hype video to show them in action.
Going beyond photos and video, why not make it an event? Of course, during a pandemic, events can be tricky, but whether it’s virtual or in person, you can give your audience a live look at your newest product. It can be a live demonstration or even just a walk-around showing key features.
Plus, from a media relations perspective, if they have photos and video, they’ll use that in their coverage of your product, so more people will see it.
Don’t Forget The Press Release
The rumors of the press release’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. For most industries, press releases are still an effective way to get information out to the media. It’s formal, concise, and it often gives time-strapped writers everything they need to cut and paste the story into the publication. It’s not always sexy, but it gets the message out there. Just make sure you have a relevant list of media contacts for your distribution.
That said, being concise doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with a press release. Images and videos—as we mentioned earlier—can catch the attention of the media, and you can also link to launch landing pages on your website. Or, in Taco Bell’s case, you can redact most of your press release in a fun launch campaign.
However you launch your product, it’s dangerous to assume that your customers are going to organically find out about it. As Michael Scott said, “The press is just gonna find out by themselves… not!” In a crowded media landscape, you have to find a way to shine through.