When it comes to physical products in the media, there is so much opportunity right now through public relations to share the news of your new launch. Reporters and media outlets are excited to feature new brands that consumers want to buy. Whether it is a holiday gift list or a round-up of trendy products, journalists are always keeping a pulse of the hot new product launches to share with their audience.
But, when it comes to product PR, you need to ensure that your brand is set up for success prior to your launch. As you gear up for your launch, take note of my road-tested rules on generating interest.
Add to your initial online persona
Even months ahead of your brand launch before you are even ready to announce it, start to build up your own social media presence. Additionally, you should start to promote yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field. For example: if you are planning to roll out a new skincare/face wash or makeup line, build up your reputation in the media as an expert on all things beauty-related. Offer yourself as a source to journalists on related topics, write contributed pieces in relevant media outlets, share your unique experience and expertise with as many people as possible. Then, when you are ready to share the news about your launch, you’ll already be an established expert in your field
Set your product up for success
A press release and media kit are nice to have, but in reality these items are not 100% necessary to launch. These tools can be a great way for your brand to clarify product details but, in reality, you need to ensure that you give journalists what they want. They’re going to need the main details laid out in a succinct way.
Ask yourself: Who does this help? What issue or problem is this product going to solve? What’s unique about the product? Along with this, they’ll want professional, high resolution photography. Make sure to get some lifestyle shots along with some product-specific imagery.
Last, and most important, are affiliate networks and programs. In the last few years, media outlets have been starting to require affiliate programs to feature products in gift guides, shopping lists, trend reports and more. Do your research and set your product up so it is media-ready!
Related: How to Build an Authentic Brand
Parse your partnerships
Prior to your launch, it may be beneficial to align your brand with any relevant public personas such as influencers, celebrities or on-air experts. Their buy-in will help to establish your credibility and give journalists a reason to consider your brand. They may also have connections in the media and make introductions to support your launch. If these are out of reach, look at what other partnerships may support your launch, (i.e., a like-minded business or local non-profits). Whether it’s an established relationship you have already or you seek out a like-minded person or brand to connect with? These partnerships can really go a long way .
Suss up your sampling strategy
Most editorial contacts want to physically see, feel and test out a product before they put their name behind it. For brands, this can add up in extra unplanned expenses unless they budget accordingly.
Prior to launch, develop your sampling strategy and answer questions like: How many samples do you want to send? Do you have a threshold for the size of various media outlets or influencers in order to send samples? Will you require the samples to be returned? Generally we recommend you don’t send out unsolicited samples without first reaching out and determining interest levels.
Another disclaimer: out of all of the samples you send out, not all will result in media coverage. For the most part, the majority of the requested samples that are sent out will generate media coverage at some point down the line, but it’s important to have net loss expectations in advance.
It’s important to keep an eye on the trends that journalists are writing about, watching stories, keeping a pulse on the writers that you want to target and reaching out to them in the way they want to be pitched. Follow them on social and start to engage with them in an authentic way. Provide them with helpful information so that they can do their job as efficiently as possible. This will help to establish your brand as the go-to for media coverage down the line.
Utilizing PR as part of your product launch strategy will be invaluable to the growth of your business.