Restaurant grand openings, facility ribbon cuttings, the unveiling of a new brand and the start of a capital campaign all aim to raise awareness, maximize exposure and grow an organization’s bottom line.
Here are 10 simple ways to prepare for launching a new product, service, company initiative or special event to streamline efforts, ensure a smooth execution and pave the way for sustained, positive company exposure:
1. Get ready, get set
First, gather your team to establish the ultimate goal of your launch, whether it is product sales, event attendance or increased web traffic (or all three). Assess your past efforts related to announcements or launches, and determine areas in which your company was successful or fell short. Identify your target audience as well as any charity or community partners that would be useful for added support.
Preparation is key when launching a brand or initiative. Host a brainstorm session with team members, company leadership, and select investors and stakeholders to flesh out ideas related to the launch. Discuss key messaging and any issues or concerns before developing a clear path for execution. Following the period of ideation, draft any necessary materials to be used as part of your event or announcement: fact sheet, themes and messaging, news releases, editorial calendar, etc.
3. Build the pieces
A series of high-quality, professional photos can prove to be useful in branding efforts, including on social media, on a company website, in print materials and in media coverage. Schedule a professional photo shoot and/or video shoot to build a suite of visual materials for your company, then pair the visuals with quotes of commendation, customer testimonials or staff biographical information in graphics. Also, research priority news outlets and reporters, relevant social media handles and upcoming events where your attendance would be valuable following your launch.
4. Fill your toolbox
Develop physical materials and merchandise that reinforce your company’s new initiative including brochures, banners, tablecloths, T-shirts, water bottles, etc. Send these “swag” items to your customers and partners, distribute them at public meetings and events, and consider hand delivery to select reporters.
5. Refresh your look
Update the profile and background imagery on each of your social media platforms with appropriately sized graphics in preparation for your announcement. The visuals included on your company’s website should also reflect the new look. Content posted following the refresh of your online identity should be on-message and tease the upcoming launch.
6. Blast off!
Launch your product or initiative by hosting a press conference, open house or seminar. Following your launch, proactively attend relevant events, discussions and networking events to maximize visibility and promote your company’s news. Regularly engage with your investors, sponsors, community partners and elected officials. Supply your key partners, employees and social media influencers with the tools to assist with your promotion including copy and imagery.
7. Content, content, content
To maximize exposure for your launch or unveiling, develop original content for your company. Enlist team members to write blog posts expounding on your key messaging or begin a regular email blast campaign to engage your customers and investors. Regularly draft materials for submission to media, including news releases and opinion pieces. Most importantly, promote your original content through consistent, varied posts. Consider using scheduling tools as a way to improve the efficiency of your posting by saving time, such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social.
To give the launch a little extra “oomph” following your initial announcement, consider paid advertising. In addition to advertising via traditional paid media, boosting social media posts promotes the addition of new followers by ensuring that your content appears prominently in news feeds. Boosts on Facebook and Twitter are most effective when implemented for high performing posts and tweets, such as news coverage.
9. Now what?
After officially getting your product or initiative off the ground, it’s important to track media coverage and analytics. As mentioned, when planning for your company’s next launch, you’ll be evaluating what has worked or hasn’t worked in the past.
10. Keep it going
A launch is most successful if its public exposure is sustained. Engage industry influencers to develop content on your behalf and ask for their endorsement on social media through shares, likes, favorites, retweets, etc. Continuously develop your relationships with reporters and media. Finally, evaluate your outcome and – if necessary – adjust your approach.
Now that you know the ways to make your launch more successful, share the “It’s not rocket science” guide with your team to help keep things on track.