Launches 101: How To Bring Your Story To Market

Nov 30, 2021 Laura Garofalo

Soft launching and then hoping for a waterfall of media coverage during a hard launch is often unrealistic. Your launch is a one-time opportunity: don’t squander it to excitement or impatience. 

Your launch story can change the status quo, establish a new market or modernize an old one, and even lead an industry. To get quality, on-message coverage around the launch and in the months to come, you need to: 

Define why this space matters & tie it back to your meta-narrative.

Focus on why this matters now. What problems are you solving? Why should people care? Simply showing up is not enough. And if you start with products, you’ll lose interest. Launches are a chance to tell a broader story about the company. What’s the founder’s background? How did this breakthrough technology come about? 

Add superlatives but drop the jargon.

It helps if you’re the industry's first, best, fastest (as long as you can back it up). Avoid terms like innovative, revolutionary, next-gen as they are meaningless and overused — and turnoffs for reporters.

Pull back the curtain.

Focus on tangible impact and behind-the-scenes access. Expect to share real metrics about your business. “We’re amazing” (take our word for it) doesn’t fly. 

Harness advocates.

Lean on people other than you to validate your space. Evangelists, from customers to investors to partners, will help create a new category or position your brand in a crowded one. It’s not enough to have press release quotes: you need people willing to go on the record with reporters.

Pitch under embargo.

For many launches, broader embargo pitching works well. If it's a B2B product launch, consider pre-briefing industry analysts ahead of time so they can lend their voices. Let reporters know they're available to provide perspectives. Or…

Go exclusive.

In some scenarios, one strong, well-timed story with a truly targeted audience will have the greatest impact. 

Think beyond earned media.

Earned media is important, but you also need to build your own audience. Consider hosting a Clubhouse event to kick off the launch or sharing a special newsletter with key stakeholders. Videos are often important for short attention spans on social media.

Take the long view.

The launch is one way to grab the spotlight, but that doesn’t mean your story should stop there. Lay the groundwork for an ongoing PR drumbeat: post-launch news, rapid response outreach, data and thematic campaigns. Use the launch to build relationships with reporters or other influencers who may not be interested in covering day-of news but who are good candidates for trend pieces and company profiles down the line.

Stick to a timeline. 

Month #1: 

  • Finalize messaging and positioning
  • Build POV and key story elements
  • Identify the right targets to tell our story
  • Build out specific pitches and assets for each target
  • Establish KPIs to measure success 
  • Create supporting content (i.e. website, microsite, video, media kit including an FAQ)

Month #2: 

  • Begin embargoed media outreach
  • Finalize thought leadership platforms
  •  Line up third party spokespeople including investors, customers, partners and industry leaders
  • Prepare spokespeople for briefings, including key messages and tough questions
  • Develop a social media strategy and editorial calendar 

Month #3: 

  • Execute media briefings
  • Finalize launch press release
  • Launch!
  • Measure and learn

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Topics: Product Launch, Public Relations, Storytelling, startups, Launch, tech PR
Laura Garofalo

Laura is the vice president of marketing at Inkhouse.

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