This week, our team put together a product launch event at our client, Brain Corp’s headquarters here in San Diego. The Qualcomm-backed startup launched its first product, a brain for self-driving vehicles for indoor use. Pretty neat, right?
Let me fill you in on a little secret, many startups are under the impression that after investing so much time, money and energy into developing a product, they believe the product will speak for itself. This is so far from the truth it makes my stomach hurt. Unless you’re a company with a logo of an Apple or a letter ‘U’ reporters are not going to trail behind you waiting for your every announcement.
What your company and its product needs is a good story, sure, but an even better storyteller. There’s a specific skill that is required to create a newsworthy narrative around a product, and while we can’t dish out our secret sauce, here are three ways you can make sure your product launch doesn’t fall flat:
1. Identify your target media audience. Months before your big unveiling, you should put together what we like to refer to as a target media list. The various reporters and journalists should be appropriate to your business’ objective. One tip is to not get carried away with the popular, ‘brand name’ media outlets. Design your target media list so that it gives you both reach and frequency, but don’t assume less weight should be given to publications with a small circulation because the readers of that publication could be more advantageous to your business than a brand name publication’s reach.
2. Develop a stellar press kit. If you don’t already know, a press kit is key to product launches and other company events and initiatives. A press kit includes a fact sheet, contact information and a corporate history of the company. This vital kit serves a great resource of supplementary information to provide to reporters pre and post launch, as well as a one-stop resource for any information an editor may need before including your news in the press.
3. Do a product demo. A demo on the launch day can help a company validate the product, as well as educate and create awareness and buzz with your target media. A product demo is so sexy to reporters because it’s a live viewing of the solution in action. It’s a win-win for your business because it also spurs engagement and drives discussion to social media platforms. Remember to test the product again and again on the day to make sure it doesn’t fail under the spotlights.
4. Monitor for coverage. So you had a successful day and some reporters showed up (thumbs up!). Not really. It’s important to constantly monitor for coverage and keep your eye on not only the publications you reached out to, but others who may have repurposed the content to write their own story. When enjoying the several articles that were released, make sure to dive deep and analyze who deep your company’s core messages and value props were integrated into the broader story and conversation. Were you successful in communicating the company’s messages and vision to the reporter?
A lot of investment goes behind making and marketing your product/service that is solving a larger problem at hand. You only get one chance to launch so plan ahead and make it a newsworthy one!