Your company has invested the time, money and resources to develop an innovative product. Theoretically, all the hard work is done. Now all you need to do is generate big-time media coverage and have the sales roll in.
Well, even the best products can stumble down that home stretch, and having the right media relations strategy and plan are the keys to a successful product launch. Your planning should start with a solid understanding of what reviewers and editors are looking for.
We sat down with Airfoil media strategist Tim Moynihan, who reviewed a whole lot of products in his 20 years as a tech journalist. Here are his top five pro tips for a successful product launch.
1. Make Sure the Product is Ready for Review
If your product isn’t ready for the spotlight, landing a review with a major influencer can backfire. There is such a thing as bad publicity: Many companies offer prototype review units to big-name reviewers to build pre-release buzz, but a bad review -- especially from a major outlet -- can be difficult to overcome. Imagine a restaurant where the dishes weren’t fully cooked or were missing key ingredients: If your team is still fixing bugs or adding features, your product just isn’t ready. A reviewer must consider whether the product is worth its price, and they’ll expect the full user experience during a review.
2. Make Great Launch Content -- Especially Video
You need much more than a press release and a spec sheet. A variety of great-looking product images is a must, and high-quality product videos are now essential. Video is one of the fastest-growing content types online. A great video -- one that shows off the product’s coolest design traits and unique features -- can really boost the product’s buzz. And this may sound like a no-brainer, but making those videos easy to find, share and view on popular streaming platforms is extremely important.
3. Create Unique Media Experiences
“Unique” doesn’t mean “expensive.” If you’re a small company, launching your product at a huge trade show like CES may not be the best idea. Instead, find creative ways to provide relevant and intimate experiences for the media to see, hold and test your product. That might mean hosting your own signature event before or after a trade show so you aren’t competing for attention with every other tech company. There are also smaller and more-focused events at CES, such as Eureka Park and the Smart Cities exhibit space, that will help you connect with relevant journalists more efficiently.
4. Provide Product FAQs and Various Interview Opportunities
Before you begin media outreach, anticipate the questions reporters will ask. Yes, even the tough ones. Creating a FAQ that covers all the bases is crucial, and overlooking the FAQ leads to inconsistent messaging and a lot of “let me get back to you on that” answers. Beta testers and competitive analysis can help build out that FAQ. When it comes to media interviews, line up experts in several areas of your organization. Depending on the media outlet, each reporter may have questions spanning technical details, product design, competitive advantages and big-picture business strategies
5. Don’t Hurry Your Product Launch Planning
Start the research and planning for the launch as far in advance as possible. In order to get the right media exposure, launches take a lot of time and effort to execute correctly. Testing the product, creating all the launch content, targeting the right outlets for coverage, developing unique storylines, planning exclusive opportunities and coming up with a “Plan B” for each step… none of those things should be an afterthought. Don’t be afraid to bring in marketing, PR and media-strategy experts to supplement your team’s resources. After all, your product only has one chance to make a great first impression.
Having the best possible launch goes far beyond unveiling your product. To find out how Airfoil Group can help you research, plan, develop content for your launch and execute everything successfully, please drop us a line and be sure to download our product launch checklist.