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How PR Sets the Stage for Marketing Product Launches

PC World articleWhen it comes to product launches, marketing solutions companies usually have their acts together. They conduct market research, build detailed buyer personas, create a positioning statement with clear messaging, and develop a promotional campaign that pushes all the right buttons.

After all, these are marketers selling to marketers. They understand the importance of a solid go-to-market product launch strategy.

Unfortunately, the same level of planning doesn’t always go into the public relations strategy. After investing so much time, money and energy into development, many marketers think their product will sell itself. So they drop a new product into the lap of the PR team and expect to make a huge splash in the media. Tomorrow.

Unless you’re a heavyweight like Apple, most reporters aren’t going to drop everything and cover your product announcement. They’re looking for a good story for their readers, so you have to create a newsworthy narrative around your product.

Here are three ways you can make sure an otherwise well-planned marketing solutions product launch doesn’t fall flat in the media:

Create a market buzz

Months before a product launch, you should establish a market need in the press by identifying the marketing pain points you’re trying to solve. This should come long before you even start talking about the product itself. One of most effective ways to accomplish this is through the release of market research, survey results or internal data that creates a buzz around your key messages and relevant topics. By starting an early discussion about the problems your product will solve, you lay the groundwork and give the media more reason to pay attention to your launch. It’s also a great way to build relationships with reporters who might eventually cover your product.

Develop timely content

After you’ve planted a few seeds in the media, it’s time to hammer home your messages with meatier thought leadership content in advance of your launch such as white papers, contributed articles and blog posts. This continues the conversation on the subjects related to your pending new product, establishes your expertise and gives a longer shelf life to your market insights. Downloadable reports based on timely data or survey findings on trending topics can also generate hundreds of leads and get prospects into the funnel just in time for your product launch.

Prove the value over time

Now that you’ve created a compelling storyline, you’re ready for a PR campaign around the product itself – with an emphasis on the word “campaign.” While sexy tech and consumer product launches can make a big media splash, new or updated B2B marketing solutions tend to have softer landings with coverage mostly in trade publications. So “launch” day should be considered a starting point for telling your product’s story over an extended period of time, not the climax of your PR efforts. In addition to developing case studies, look for ways to tie your product to hot trends and come up with creative ways to demonstrate what it does.

After spending months developing a great marketing solutions product, don’t expect overnight PR success. By taking the time to develop a story ahead of your launch, you’ll ensure it gets the media attention you already think it deserves.