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Ready, Set, Launch: Winning PR Strategies for Startups

When you set off to launch your product, you should first consider your goals. A goal such as attracting investors will have different messaging than driving visibility. In this post, we’ll look at objectives that can clarify your launch, how to plan your PR as well as review some essentials to writing about your product in a compelling way.

Formulating your objectives

The process of defining goals for your release begins with asking who you want to reach (investors, customers, media outlets, etc.). Next, contemplate on where your audience is most likely to hear your announcement. We all like to rely on trusted sources of knowledge, so connecting to those venues where your audience consumes information should be your top priority prior to launch.

The sooner you are you able to create trust that alleviates uncertainty among your target audience the better. When you launch, the more your PR ties to an accomplishment of quantifiable business goals the better. Objectives that merit such attention include an impressive number downloads or a large number of users. Other PR that could be relevant but less quantifiable includes backing from well-known companies, collaboration with a selective company and an interesting founding story.

Setting the stage

Getting good news coverage relies not only on knowing the outlets but also, and even more importantly, the writers. Well in advance of your launch you should be following “sources of authority” on Twitter and subscribing to their Facebook updates. Set specific timeframes in your weekly schedule to retweet good content and comment on what’s being written. This demonstrates your interest and knowledge in your industry. Look for opportunities to offer advice on a topic you relevant to your startup’s understood expertise. In the same vein, posting valuable content on social media will increase the likelihood for positive buzz for your new product.

The next stage is reaching out. Find writers that are knowledgeable but young and do not receive hundreds of emails daily. Now that you’ve got a great accomplishment to brag about, it’s time to learn the ins and outs of spreading the word.

Reaching Out

Journalists receive many pitches. Before you write yours, you may want to set the groundwork by sending a very concise email asking whether they are accepting pitches at the moment, mentioning your product in 1-2 sentences and finishing with a request to send 2-3 bullet points about it.[1]

If you get a yes, you can send your bullet points and the next step is a pitch. It comes as no surprise that the pitch should start off with a paragraph discussing your product. In a few sentences just describe what it does without telling us how it will change the world. Next, discuss your product value for your audience. What is the problem you are solving? This is a good place to provide successful use cases. Then, you may want to invite the writer to review it as well as offer a sample. Keep in mind that expert bloggers may sometimes be a better venue for this type of approach. If you are seeking out larger publications, timing can be an important issue. Go to their sites and look into their editorial calendar which outlines the themes and stories about which they are soon to publish. The editorial calendar may be found at the bottom of the site under “Media Kit” or “Advertise with Us.” Here you will find more information regarding the best time to pitch your product so as to coincide with the publication’s future topics.

Whether you launch with the intention to create awareness or drive demand, understanding who and how to connect to in your industry is a process that requires careful planning and building a presence well in advance of the actual launch. Some additional aspects worth delving deeper into include establishing strong web branding, email campaigns, and considering a soft launch. Look for our future posts, where we will go into these in more detail.

[1] Your Official 5-Step Approach to Getting Media Coverage/Kissmetrics