You’ve prepped for days, months, maybe even years. It’s race day and just as the horn blows, you lunge forward and trip over your own laces. Immediately, the other runners take off and you must decide to pick yourself up and keep going or throw in the towel. Likewise, what happens when the product you’ve invested so much time in isn’t garnering the industry interest you know it deserves? The sales you thought you’d get didn’t happen. You have an awesome product but there was no pick-up, no coverage and a few sales – but you know it could do more. So now what? You can’t get back all the time and money invested, so how do you move forward?
Let’s start from the beginning. To be successful in anything, you must take the time to prepare for the big day. After all, luck is just when preparation meets opportunity. To prep for a marathon, you begin running long before race day (and learning to properly tie your laces for marathon running to avoid faceplanting at the starting line). The same is true with garnering earned media coverage. You must prepare; do your research and ‘tie’ your product to a broader industry trend and connect it to how it helps people ahead of pitching. Ask yourself some key questions afterwards so you can pinpoint exactly what was missing if you didn’t get the coverage you wanted from your product launch:
Once you’ve answered the above, remember - the marathon must go on. Now it’s important to identify other strategic avenues to gain coverage for the company even when your product didn’t. Remember – it's not a sprint, these things take time.
Research and connect on a human level
While your original methods may not have panned out, your company can still garner media coverage. To start, audit social media and identify journalists that are talking about your industry. Stay on track and stick with where the buzz is. Assuming you researched your target audiences prior to your product launch, go back and reassess your outreach. Did you create a unique pitch or was this another run-of-the-mill email that sits with 100s of others? Be unique and be sure to customize your pitch to your specific media target. Be human and build a relationship with the person you are targeting that goes beyond a transactional relationship. Don’t let the only time they see your name be in their inbox. Although you should be proud of your product, focus more on how it solves the real pain points of your target audience.
Utilize the experts in your company, especially those with technical insight that results in a unique industry perspective. Not everyone has to speak with the press. Some executives could be great resources for contributed content. This allows not only their name to be seen, but your company’s name as well. At Engage PR, we’ve found that someone with more technical expertise from engineering to solution marketing executives can provide more context on your product and market that could be useful for the press.
Identify the best outlets to position your thought leaders. Podcasts, briefings and contributed content are useful ways to create conversations in your industry. Taking advantage of editorial calendars within your targeted publications is also a great way to create awareness of your product. This process does take time, so it may be wise to leverage an experienced PR agency that does this daily. Again, the goal is to attach your product to a broader industry trend with a human element or need. Answer these questions: How does your product help your buyers in their roles? Does it save time and money?
Get Creative with your social media assets
Engage in social media beyond your product. Our clients have historically experienced the greatest benefit from LinkedIn. Still, don’t ignore Twitter and maybe even consider Instagram, which has become a more powerful tool to recruit younger employees. Often, the unique or clever posts, not product pitches, are the ones that gain the most engagement and reach the right influencers. And it doesn’t take a lot of time. Consider utilizing videos, LinkedIn carousels and images to capture your targeted audience’s attention. Create shareable content to continue spreading your story to other influencers who can reach your potential customers. Most importantly, don’t overdo the sales or focus too much on your product’s technical aspects. Draw people in and have fun with it. Best practices will include specifications on how, when and what you post. You might share information about your product one day and then a clever post about “National Cookie Day” (who doesn’t love a reason to get a treat?) the next. This keeps your site engaging, exciting and human instead of coming across as one long sales pitch.
Whatever you decide to do, do it with intention but take the time to prepare, don’t just blast your story out without doing some thoughtful research. Don’t let an initial fall keep you from tying your laces back up and pressing forward. Get in touch with us today. We are here to help!
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