The months, weeks and days leading up to a major product launch are very exciting – and very critical. At BLASTmedia, our clients put their confidence in us to make a big impact on launch day, and we do a number of things behind the scenes to ensure that people both online and offline are talking about their product.
What do you need for a successful product launch? Here are key elements that should be considered in the months leading up to the launch:
Press Materials: It is critical that you create the key messages surrounding your company and the new product. These messages should be incorporated in all media materials, including:
- Press release – A press release outlines all of the important details of a new product – including pricing, retailers, key features and benefits and a quote from a company executive on the industry impact of the new product. Be sure to incorporate keywords for search engine optimization as well, especially if you’re planning to distribute via a wire service where it will get posted across multiple sites. Keep in mind that a press release should never be relied upon to get your product media coverage – your one-on-one communication via phone, email and in-person meetings is what will drive the interest – the press release is used for supporting information once a member of the media expresses interest. A press release that is distributed over a national wires service like BusinessWire or PRNewswire will get hundreds of online news sites to re-post the release, which is great for SEO, but you will rarely have your phone ringing off the hook from a wire release – you must make personal outreach to get press results.
- Fact Sheet – Another great source of supplementary information is a fact sheet. When preparing a fact sheet for a new product, heed Joe Friday’s advice and stick to “just the facts, ma’am.” A fact sheet should be limited to one page whenever possible and should possess the most important key features and facts to serve as a quick, one-stop resource for any information an editor may need before including your client in an article or review.
- Reviewer’s Guide – If the product requires explanation, or is particularly complicated, another option is to draft a reviewer’s guide. This goes beyond the fact sheet and the included user’s manual to give reviewers an idea of possible user scenarios, ways in which the product could/should be tested and any other information that may not be explained in as much necessary detail in the press release.
Product Samples – When launching a new product, one of the most important things to consider is the timing and availability of the product samples. For short lead media coverage, it’s ideal to have samples available a few weeks before the launch. This gives you time to send samples, under embargo, to key media. This allows for hands-on reviews to run as close to the announcement day as possible, generating further buzz for the client. If samples won’t be available before the launch, be sure you know when to expect them, and how many you’ll have, so that you can offer them to select media on launch day.
Exclusive? – If you will have product samples before the launch, you will need to decide whether or not to offer an exclusive to a select member of press. After determining your top choice for the exclusive, and if they accept the exclusive, you’ll need to ensure that person receives the sample and/or interview – again, under embargo – with enough time to have the review ready for posting on announcement day. If you offer an exclusive – that means only one person is reviewing the product – so don’t go offering exclusives to 10 people. If you are identifying 10 people as the top influencers, you instead offer them all a “first look” at the product, meaning that all 10 people (if interested) receive a sample in advance and have the opportunity to post a hands-on review any time after launch day.
Product images – You must have images of the product ready before the launch date. Product-only shots on a white background are the most ideal, as they are versatile and can be used for a variety of media layouts. Lifestyle images, typically with people using the product, are also useful to have on-hand, but the straightforward product images are what most editors prefer. The images should be high-resolution – at least 300 dpi – so that they can be used in print or online.
Press list – As the announcement day gets near, be prepared with a list of the top media that you want to target for launch coverage. Include the key influencers in the various areas where your client’s product is relevant (like Mac, mobile, cloud, etc.) as well as the general consumer press (if applicable.) The goal on launch day is to generate immediate coverage, so short-lead outlets – online outlets, blogs, weeklies and daily newspapers – are the best to focus on the first week.
You only get one chance to launch a product/service. The earlier you can plan and get organized, the more successful your launch will be. If you’re looking for help from the experts, please contact us. The entire BLASTmedia team lives for the excitement of a successful launch!
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