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The Foundation:
 Bring in your PR team. The more time your PR team has, the better they’ll do. Notify
them as you approac...
First Things First:
 Bring in your PR team. Time is your most valuable asset. It’s better to alert your PR team
too early...
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Checklist: Ready for Launch

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Too often, companies with incredible forward momentum fall utterly flat when launching a new product or announcing a round of funding. Why? Because they missed a crucial step in announcement prep or execution. Securing strategic coverage about your major milestone takes careful planning and creative communication. That's why we created a detailed launch checklist to help guide your next announcement and drive real business results. Bookmark it, print it out, save it to your desktop -- make sure it's handy for your upcoming launch.

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Checklist: Ready for Launch

  1. 1. The Foundation:  Bring in your PR team. The more time your PR team has, the better they’ll do. Notify them as you approach the closing date (even if you’re still technically in fundraising mode) for best results.    Define success. Goals should always drive strategy. What does a successful announcement look like? Define the PR objectives before you get started.   Gather data. The more data you can provide to fuel storylines, the better. Consider stats like the number of jobs created, the community impact, etc.   Determine the narrative. The funding is the news hook, but it’s really an opportunity to convey a broader narrative. What’s the story you want to tell?  Build in approval time. The review and revision process takes time, especially when legal is involved. Make room for that back and forth in the initial timeline.  Create the media strategy. Are you offering an exclusive? Pre-pitching under embargo? Connecting with analysts? How about industry influencers? Shape the media strategy to match your goals and the specific details of your announcement.   Draft media assets. Write a news release and/or blog post, collect headshots and have your company logo on file.   Identify media targets. Research relevant reporters, analysts and influencers to build a comprehensive media list before outreach.  Consider all scenarios. Significant funding is good for business, but in some cases it could lead to more questions (e.g., Will you be relocating? Adding new board members? Pivoting? Creating jobs?). Think through all scenarios and have pre-approved responses at the ready.  Confirm with legal. Double check the final details and timing for communication with your legal team before starting outreach. Start Talking:  Pick your spokespeople. Both the CEO and lead investor should lend their voices to the story. If possible, coordinate interview availability in advance.   Pre-pitch. The days between the funding’s close and the filing with the SEC are gold for PR. Use this time to pre-pitch the story under embargo with media and secure any potential exclusives.   Prep the team. Craft talking points and media briefs for interviewees and clarify to whom media interview requests should be directed.  Notify analysts. If necessary, reach out to analysts in advance and set up briefings. Go Time:  Announce internally. Funding is the worst kept secret in the office. Get ahead of rumors by sending an official, confidential update to your team.    Pitch the broader media list. Once the paperwork is filed and the embargo lifts, reach out to the full list of media and follow up with anyone who didn’t respond to the initial pre-pitching.   Self distribute. Utilize your existing company channels -- email list, company blog, social media, etc. - to share the announcement with your audience.  Send the news release over the wire. If it makes sense for your business and budget, distribute the news release over the wire to alert media and potentially garner additional coverage.   Monitor coverage. Keep a running list of all media placements in one spot, then showcase the launch success with investors and leadership. Track engagement, comments and traffic to the website to show value.   Amplify the story. Got the perfect placement? Amplify its reach with paid social advertising targeted to your ideal audience. What’s Next?  Debrief. What worked? What didn’t? Review the analytics, compare them to your initial goals and pull together a holistic project debriefing.   Keep momentum moving. The funding announcement is only one newsworthy moment in time. Have a bank of pitch angles ready to go to capitalize on momentum and continue telling your larger story. Checklist: Ready for Launch Created by Geben Communication Product created? Check. Funding raised? Check. Strategic media coverage about your major milestone that directly impacts your business goals? That’s where we come in. A successful funding announcement and product launch takes careful planning, strategic thought and creative communication, so we’ve created a detailed checklist to make sure you don’t miss a step, whether you’re talking millions or merchandise.  Funding Announcement
  2. 2. First Things First:  Bring in your PR team. Time is your most valuable asset. It’s better to alert your PR team too early rather than too late.  Finalize the launch date. Identify any potential roadblocks, holidays, or outside factors that may affect the success of the launch and adjust accordingly – e.g., Christmas, events, other product launches, competitor announcements, etc.  Determine your objective. What’s the business problem you want to solve? Figure out how PR can help you achieve your goal and drive business results.  Define metrics. Don’t measure successes solely by number of placements. Consider placement quality, traffic to the website and launch day sentiment as better metrics.  Draft key messages. Focus on the core purpose of the product and how it fits into the overall company goals and mission.  Set the media strategy. Do you want the launch to build momentum over a long period of time or create an immediate, quick spike in interest? Decide the approach early.  Find the story. What problem does your product solve? Why should your audience care? Why is it timely now? Use these answers to hook media attention.   Identify relevant media. Research who covers your industry within key publications and find influencers who align with your mission.   Gather product assets. Collect photography, product shots and approved product descriptions.   Send early samples. If possible, get your product to key media before the launch to test, analyze and potentially review.  Think bigger. Content marketing initiatives can create an additional touch point with media. Consider video series, infographics, ebooks, original research, etc.  Add Some Social To It:  Define your goal. Sales, downloads, website traffic, new users – what are you tracking?  Create a social strategy. Do you need a teaser campaign? Influencer outreach? Video content? Let your goal guide your content strategy.   Pick a hashtag. Make sure it’s unique, short and relatable to your business and product.   Prepare to monitor. Most monitoring tools need set up in advance. Install conversion pixels, sign up for hashtag tracking and double check your analytics before launch day. Launch Day:  Create a moment. Consider launching your product at a conference, in the community, during a virtual webcast, etc. to amplify the announcement.   Pitch, please. After any exclusives hit, send personalized, strategic pitches to your predetermined list on launch day.  Integrate social. Track keywords and hashtag usage and interact with social media chatter to extend the conversation.  Monitor coverage. Keep a running list of all media placements in one spot, then showcase the launch success.  Amplify the story. Make sure your top placements reach your audience through targeted paid social advertising. What’s Next?   Recap. What worked? What didn’t? Review the analytics, compare them to your initial goals and pull all media and social coverage into a final recap report.   Keep momentum moving. The product launch is only one newsworthy moment in time. Have a bank of pitch angles ready to go to capitalize on momentum and continue telling your larger story.  ProductLaunch Need help? Bring in the pros. Get in touch with Geben’s founder CEO Heather Whaling at heather@gebencommunication.com.

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