Before the launch: start the online brand story
8 months before the launch: build credibility
- When launch day comes, the media and target audience will explore your social media, get to know the brand history, get to know your brand values. That is why it is important to work on your online presence well in advance. In practice, you will create a content plan for all channels that will deliver a credible and consistent story of the overarching brand over those months. The website, blog, social media, press room… they all need to be aligned.
- You define your value proposition and USP that must come back in every message so that your target audience already knows what you stand for.
- You also show the media that you are a reliable source for requesting comment. A company that has not communicated before and suddenly becomes very active one month before the launch, is not authentic and inspiring.
7 months before the launch: define the role of PR
- What other marketing activities are planned and what is their timing. Align these and determine the budget for the PR campaign.
- Which assets need to be created for PR (images, texts…) and which can be used for content marketing?
- Define the PR moments in the social media plan to reinforce each other.
- What is the purpose of PR at brand and product level: raise brand awareness, build thought leadership, image, make new products known, build a positive image of the product, broaden target groups, …
- Fix the exact date of the launch. Ideally, communication should take place on a Tuesday or Thursday, in the morning.
- What is the exact message to the press (max. 3 arguments).
- Define concrete measurable KPIs for PR: e.g. x-number of articles in that type of press, key message must appear in the articles, reach in a specific media target group e.g. specialized media, …
6 months before launch: competition analysis
- Check what PR activities have been developed for similar products, check what has been said on social media and in the media (media monitoring), what is the time window of your launch and which competitors will be launching a product at that time? Also go wider: are there big events or well-known events in the news are taking press attention away from your PR momentum?
5 months before launch: define PR target group
- Based on market research and consumer target group information, choose the key media you want to reach.
- Create or update a media mailing list with the right journalists.
- Establish the basic PR tools: e.g. press release, interviews, teasers, media assets distribution, press conferences, demonstrations, events…
- Brainstorm for a PR launch activity.
- Check which sources journalists use most for their news gathering: press releases, social media and adjust the PR tools accordingly.
- For influencer marketing: identify the right influencers or ambassadors, the concept and the timing of the review process.
3 months before launch: an announcement
- Send out an announcement press release announcing the release date, possibly the price or the appearance (with photo/video materials). Simultaneously adapted announcements on social media, blog.
- There can also be opted for a linkedIn or other social media post/video alone or 1 interview in a specific medium to make the tension curve extra tight. Keep enough mystery around the product.
- Start media monitoring (does not submit permanently throughout the year): you want to know what appears about it so you can adjust
2 months before the launch: teasing
- The launch is now really close and now is the time to build up the suspense. You send out a teaser, let people know on social media that something is coming, you start dropping content to give a hint. This can be done through trailers, a reveal of the release date, etc.
- Communicate information about pre-orders.
- Start storytelling on social media and PR: people love fun, personal stories like testimonials, brand stories, anecdotes and facts about the product.
- Pitch 1-1 stories tailored to specific (long lead) media.
1 month before the launch: start the review process
- Key is now to let people test the new product. Invite a select group of media for a demo or preview of the product, send a test model, let some influencers post a review or set up a creative teasing/reveal collab with key influencers.
- If possible, offer interviews with the CEO in some targeted media introducing the product and especially what role it plays in the company’s strategy. Time the interviews so they appear around release.
- Asset distribution – on social media: demo video, product shots, countdown timers, boost enthusiasm of target audience, ask for feedback and input from target audience.
2 weeks before the launch: a big splash, the heart of the campaign
- Time for an event if you have big news, PR stunt, a trade fair, PR activation, product showcase, creative action or mailing, an influencer concept, something original,… Timing: around 10 days before the product launch.
- If necessary, work with press information under embargo or scoops.
- Send a media kit.
- Appeal to opinion leaders and experts and share their opinion.
Week of release and release day
- Send press releases tailored to various media target groups.
- Depending on the product, the complete release press information is sent the day before or the day of the release early in the morning. If you have held a press event, the press information at release day is more likely to be limited to a reminder press release with new images or a new angle.
- Call to action info on social media to support advertising.
- On the day itself : spokesperson, CEO and product manager available for the press and Q&A at hand.
After release: keep providing news and collect data
- Stay in the spotlight by spreading the review programme to different target groups in the weeks after release.
- An influencer programme can run for a month after release
- Collect opinions from the press and community, data from media monitoring and reporting.
- Provide regular news for the community, confirm them in their choice, and invite them to contribute to your content (product test posts with # etc).