Whether you are a new startup or a household name, a product launch is one of the most exciting times for your company. After months or even years of development, you’re finally ready for your big debut… Right?

 

The product launch is about announcing “your new baby” to the world, including influential media who have the power to sway consumer behavior. So how do you make sure your product launch announcement is newsworthy?

 

  1. Make sure your product works and solves a problem

This may seem basic. Just remember that when you’ve spent the past year consumed by the development of your product, it’s nearly impossible to have an unbiased perception of your creation. It is vital to have people unconnected to you (this means no friends and family who will sugarcoat things) test and experience the product to provide final feedback that will help you understand any areas for improvement, or even features to highlight that you may not have thought of as being notable. There are many ways to do this. Try a focus group or sites like usertesting.com. Hire a freelance journalist who is a professional product reviewer and specialist in your company category to test the product under NDA. To maximize coverage of your announcement, you will likely send product samples to journalists for published reviews. Be sure to complete under-NDA third-party testing before you take this step. You want to get the honest, brutal feedback now, rather than in a click-baiting article with a nasty headline that calls “your baby” ugly.

 

  1. Define messaging that matters

Let’s go back to school. In Journalism 101 classes across the country, budding reporters learn about the “elements of newsworthiness.” These are the values that make a story something worth sharing. When you are crafting your product announcement, you want to make sure your messaging aligns with your target audience of course, but you also want to make sure that you communicate why your announcement matters.

  • Proximity: People care about things that happen close to home. If you are launching a smart home security system, you may want to look at the latest FBI crime statistics report to define which cities have the highest or fastest growing burglary rates, and create targeted announcements to those regions to generate media coverage.
  • Human Interest: These are stories that appeal to emotions. Did the founder of the company have a painful personal experience that led to the creation of this product? Does your backstory evoke an emotional response like nostalgia, amusement or sadness?
  • The Bizarre: “If a dog bites a man, it’s not news, but if a man bites a dog, you’ve got a story.”
  • Conflict: The New vs. the Old, David & Goliath, Hamilton vs. Burr, Red Sox vs. Yankees, Republicans vs. Democrats. Rivalries elicit excitement, engagement and sharing. Using conflict to your benefit is an approach best suited for risk takers. Could your startups solution take down one of the Fearsome Five in a specific category?
  • Impact: What is the significance of the announcement? How many people will be affected? Are there statistics that help show the potential impact of your product? For example, if you are launching a new sleep tracker, how many people suffer from sleep issues in the U.S., and how do their sleep issues impact the broader population?
  • Timeliness: You have an app that tracks Santa by GPS. You launch it in August. No one cares. Launch that thing in the holiday season, maybe you’ll get some media coverage, but there are more than five companies, including Google, that launched a similar app years ago. This story doesn’t have a strong timely hook. It’s still possible to bring a new angle to the table that may entice media, but what is new now is an important deciding factor in what gets media coverage or not.
  • Prominence: People care about celebrities. This is why you know that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were roasting a chicken at home when he proposed. Sad, but true.

 

  1. Build strong visual assets

Photography and video are a must for strong storytelling. Think of your visual assets as the first impression you make with media members. Do the visuals make your product look exciting, sleek, cheap or traditional? Ultimately, the quality of your visual assets can determine whether you are included in a story, how prominently you are featured in a story and how you are perceived by the influencers and consumers who read that story. When planning your product launch budget, include a healthy spend for photography and videography to make sure your story gets the media attention it deserves.

 

Looking for help on your next product launch? Reach out to bizdev@maxborgesagency.com.