The Product Announcement Isn’t Dead, and It Isn’t Dying Anytime Soon

Feb 14, 2018 Tracey Workman

A few years ago, the product announcement was a staple of any tech PR program. Every couple of months, sometimes even weeks, teams would receive details on the latest version of a product, a press release would be drafted highlighting the newest features and capabilities, and a few days later, coverage in all the major tech outlets would appear.

Today, that type of coverage for a B2B tech company is almost nonexistent, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The media landscape differs drastically than the one of five to ten years ago, with shorter news cycles, shrinking budgets, reductions in headcount, and the fact that there has been a general erosion of trust in the media since the 2016 Presidential election.

But to any skeptics who believe product coverage has to stay in the past, I’m here to prove you wrong.

For starters, instead of focusing on product features and functionality, think bigger and broader. Identify the impact the product will have on customers, partners and competitors. As we recently learned, stories that fail to demonstrate impact won’t get the attention they may otherwise deserve.

To identify impact, consider asking yourself these four questions:

  • What problem does this product solve? I work with several cybersecurity companies, and there’s a wealth of challenges facing the industry these days. For example, in addition to a talent shortage and constantly evolving threats, security analysts often suffer from alert fatigue. So, a best practice would be to position a new data visualization capability in the realm of said alert fatigue. If data visualization can help security analysts better parse through alerts, then they will likely have more free time to focus on solving larger, and much more important, security problems.
  • What’s the larger trend? To provide another example, data transparency is at the top of everyone’s list in the digital advertising industry. From making the case for better data transparency to ensuring credible data partners, there are a host of companies discussing the topic. So, if you’re issuing product news in this space, one way to establish relevance would be to connect that product to this larger trend. For example, does your product help bring more transparency to the industry? How might it intersect with the conversations already taking place in the market?
  • Why should your key audiences care? To be honest, this isn’t a question you should be asking yourself just for product announcements, but really for any PR campaign you have in the works. More often than not, if you can answer this question, you can easily answer questions #1 and #2 above.
  • Why now? There are multiple reasons why you might want to announce a product at a specific date and time -- maybe you have a sales objective to meet, maybe there’s an important industry conference coming up, and you want the chance to share this new product with prospects and attendees. Don’t only think about internal reasons, however. It’s also important to identify what’s happening externally, especially in the media, which will help you identify which reporters might be interested in the product news, and how to approach them.

At the end of the day, turn your focus away from what a product does and think about what problem it solves. Tie your product news to a larger trend or issue in your particular industry, and if you can, get the support of a customer or partner who can help paint a real world example of how a product saved the day.

 

Topics: Media Relations, Product Launch, Enterprise Tech, Technology PR

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