In the past, the way a product launch worked was by hiring a PR agency, meeting with reporters during a press tour, and watching the articles pile up on launch day. The media no longer plays such a big role in product releases due to the vast technological advancements and cultural shifts toward the Internet. News becomes perceived as “old news” quicker than it used to as well. The world has become more fast-paced, and it is harder to hold a person’s attention with so many distractions surrounding him/her.
Publish News About Your Upcoming Product 6-8 Weeks Before Its Official Launch.
One of the worst things you could do in PR is only start talking about your new product once it launches or a week before. You need to begin publishing news and sparking anticipation for your upcoming product 6-8 weeks before its official launch date. Don’t announce the launch date too early because people will lose their excitement by the time it arrives. Anticipation only lasts so long before an individual becomes bored from nothing happening or has their expectation fulfilled.
Reach Out to Influencers in Your Industry.
Influencers should be part of your PR strategy for a product launch because it boosts exposure for your new product. Reach out to influencers before your new product releases. The more people who know of your upcoming launch, the more buzz it will generate. An influencer is someone in your industry who is viewed as an expert and has a large following on social media. Examples of influencers include PewDiePie from YouTube, Manny Khoshbin from Instagram, and Ginicanbreathe from Snapchat.
Note that follower count isn’t the only factor that determines who’s an influencer. They must be well-known in their niche, have high engagement rates, and be perceived as an expert by people in their niche. As you know, there are some social media users who have a lot of followers but their posts don’t receive any likes or retweets. These are not influencers.
Do Something Fun or Creative During the Release Cycle.
During the release cycle, your business should do something fun or creative, such as uploading a funny video, creating an infographic, executing a stunt around an industry event, and publishing a survey. An example of a good PR stunt is Coca-Cola’s drinkable billboard for Coke Zero. They set up the billboard during the final four NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis. The billboard dispensed Coke Zero through the giant straw into a drinking fountain where people could help themselves to a drink. It was fun, creative, and had people talking.
Continue Providing News About Your Product After It Launches.
Your marketing for the new product doesn’t end after it releases. You should continue providing news about it after launch to encourage people to discuss it, reach people who didn’t know about it pre-launch, milk the most out of your pre-launch efforts, sustain your momentum as long as possible, and provide customers with interesting information about the product. Ideas include sharing customer stories, introducing novel ways to use your product, and the benefits it provides for customers.
Listen to What Customers Say about Your New Product.
During a product launch, it’s natural to boast about it left and right. It’s necessary to keep the articles coming. However, you shouldn’t forget to listen to what customers say about your new product. Pay attention during the pre-launch stage as well to gain insight on your target audience. Are they excited about the new product? Or do they not care? Why are they pumped up? Or why do they not care? You’ll find valuable information to improve your product launch through social listening.
According to Shapiro Negotiations, “True listening is active. It’s a dynamic process that involves acknowledgement, inquiry, and restatement. It’s not static listening while your potential client talks.” Interact with and acknowledge your customers as much as possible. 53% of Twitter users expect a response within an hour when they tweet a brand with a complaint and 75% of consumers use social media in the buying process. As a small business, that might not be feasible, so reply as quickly as possible depending on the resources available to you.
Developing a PR strategy for your small business’s product launch is easier when you know the four aspects of a good PR strategy listed above. Regardless of your niche or business size, you should publish news about your product launch 6-8 weeks in advance, reach out to influencers in your industry, do something fun or creative during the release cycle, and continue providing news about your product after it launches. Put a lot of thought into your PR strategy to get the most out of your new product.
Cameron Johnson is a business consultant and social media expert. Over the course of his career he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international marketing conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.