New products are the lifeblood of many companies. They can provide the bulk of the revenue, and give the company the opportunity to become better known.
Yet getting media attention for new products is difficult, if only because so many new products are announced each year.
Even given the product “noise,” however, it is possible to effectively publicize new products. Here are eight approaches to publicizing a new product.
Note: I’m assuming you’ve already done your homework. You’ve studied the competition and market. You have set your goals for the announcement, and developed your positioning statement and messages.
So now you’re considering the importance of the product, the size of your budget, your timeframe, and other priorities as you decide on your announcement method.
Here are five approaches you might consider, arranged in the approximate order of difficulty. I’ll give three more approaches in my next post.
#1: Blog Announcement
Probably the simplest approach is to just make your announcement in your blog. Companies like Tesla and Netflix have been doing this very successfully. Of course, this only works if you have a large enough following to make an impact, which probably means your company is big enough (or interesting enough) to “make waves” whenever you announce something. And, if you are a public company, you need to abide by all SEC rulings regarding disclosure. But that is another topic.
#2: Specialized Group Announcement
Another approach is to simply make the announcement to a special-interest group. For example, a software company could announce a new version to the user groups devoted to its software.
This is certainly simple and probably can stimulate sales quickly. However, it has the disadvantage of “preaching to the choir.” The approach decidedly limits the scope and reach of the announcement.
#3: Barebones Announcement
For the barebones announcement, you would write a good release and distribute it over a wire service and individually to the media who are particularly important to you.
If your news is newsworthy and your release well-written, this may all you need to do. This is all I did years ago when I was announcing a new online service. Within 24 hours, Fidelity Investments had called my client and signed up for a trial.
#4: Minimalist Announcement
One simple way to augment the barebones announcement is by doing some telephone and local media interviews. For this to work, you need to contact the reporters before the announcement. (Don’t be like the company that, after it had made an announcement, contacted me to see if I would pitch the story to “my friends in the media.” Too late.)
If you are going to do interviews, make sure you train your spokesperson. Plan how you’ll approach the announcement. Think about the questions the media might ask and decide how you would answer them.
#5: Web conference
Web conferences are relatively inexpensive, provide a way to pace people through a presentation or demo, and enable people to interact in real time. They also let you reach people in different areas easily and cost-effectively.
However, it’s important that the web conference go smoothly. Incorporate as many visual elements as possible. Do not commit “death by Powerpoint” and subject your audience to word slide after word slide.
Include as many interactive elements (e.g., surveys) as possible. Encourage people to send in questions, and explain up front when they will be answered (e.g., as they come in, at the end of the presentation). Also encourage people to contact you afterwards, and follow up with the attendees after the fact.
These five are some of the simplest and least-expensive ways to announce a product. I’ll discuss three other, more complex ways in my next post.