You've spent months and years of your life on it, and you're finally ready. You're ready to launch your new company, product or service to the world. But how do you ensure that the right people notice? Many ingredients make a successful PR launch – a generous dose of time, a sprinkle of creativity, and most of all, intense preparation on all fronts.
Here are 5 Considerations for Your PR Launch:
1. Define Your Objectives
The launch that sizzles catches the right attention, especially journalists’ attention. But prior to getting the limelight, you must define your goals – do you want to showcase your industry leadership? Or highlight the company’s new product? Drive sales? Your objectives will determine and shape the strategy and tactics used in your launch, whether it is via media/analyst briefings, special events, press conferences, tradeshows or more.
Here's an example from an SKC client: in 2021, one of the largest air purification solutions providers, AirQuality Technology (AQT), made its first foray into the North American market. Already well-established as a leader in China, the company’s goals for its North American launch were two-fold: 1) to build product awareness and 2) to set up a distributor network quickly and efficiently. These top priorities were the “North Star” that guided the launch at all stages, from planning and strategy to tactics and execution.
2. Define Your News
What is the “so what?” factor? Is your launch impactful and timely? Is it compelling enough on its own, or should you wait for customer and third-party validation? Know the larger picture – are there happenings in the world you can leverage? Is what you’re doing pushing the industry forward? Plan your next news entree – will there be a partnership or new big-name customer that may sign with your company soon? Sometimes it’s helpful to meet with analysts before any media outreach to get feedback and information about your company and its industry.
Developing a news hook is easier said than done – so let’s return to our AQT example for guidance. When we launched AQT in early 2021, the company had developed a proven product tailored-made for a pandemic-stricken world. We positioned them as “COVID-killing air purifiers” that were poised to help businesses fight COVID effectively. Talk about a splashy headline! It’s important to note that this claim, while newsy and eye-catching, was also factually based on the company’s proprietary technology, which is proven to kill 99.99% of the virus. In short: make sure your launch is timely and truthful.
3. Define Your Audience
You can't reach out to every journalist. Though we all want TechCrunch and Wall Street Journal, don't forget other audiences. Where does your story make the most sense? If your company is launching a new breakthrough software for your industry, you can’t ignore the business and technology media outlets. There are different ways of engaging journalists to pay attention to you, like offering pre-briefings before you launch or exclusives to a few of your top-tier media contacts.
AQT understood the importance of targeting the right audience. Although top-tier coverage is nice, it wouldn’t necessarily help the company develop a distributor network. Instead, we built a media list to target HVAC distributors and businesses looking to ensure clean air in their offices. Then, we took our news hook and upgraded it to one key message: businesses are re-opening and developing health and safety plans to curb COVID-19, with many prioritizing HVAC systems as a safety mechanism. With our strategic message and media list in hand, the launch officially began.
4. Define Your Spokesperson
Your spokesperson should be someone who is comfortable with the media and can clearly articulate your company's vision, what it does and where it stands in the industry. Know your company messages and be prepared to answer tough and controversial questions. The spokespeople must give value to the launch. If you are launching a new technology to the higher education community, make sure he or she understands the market. Utilize your PR team if you need additional media training.
5. Clear Your Schedule!
Be available, even at short notice. Like you, journalists have busy schedules and are on numerous deadlines. You want to be the industry expert that the reporter can count on as a story resource. At tradeshows, set up one-to-one meetings with your target media way in advance, and let them know that you’re available after your meeting for follow-up.
With these five considerations in mind, you’re probably wondering if our launch worked for AQT. And the answer is… yes, absolutely! SKC secured a slew of strategic coverage in the company’s target outlets, such as Architectural Record, HVAC Insider, Commercial Construction & Renovation, and more. But most importantly, AQT also had multiple distributors contact the company within days of launch. Both of the company’s goals were achieved, and AQT successfully established a foothold in the North American market.
A launch is a process. But by following these steps, and with some solid planning, you can make it a success. You want to keep your audience interested long after your big unveiling. So let’s throw in more time, dress it up with solid news hooks, and plan another launch, soon!
For a complimentary consultation on how best to plan your PR launch, our team at SKC is happy to chat!