As PR pros know, driving a campaign around a product launch can be tricky. Product launches are incredibly common and, unfortunately, don’t typically result in significant news coverage. While your company is thrilled about the new product it’s bringing to market, the media response is often tepid given the many competing news announcements vying for attention.

So how can you highlight important product news and get the results your company craves? That’s where we come in. Below, we’ll walk through five essential elements (including a successful use case) that will help set your product launch campaign up for success.

1.     A pre-launch strategy with advance time and notice
The sooner a journalist knows of your product news, the greater your chances of securing coverage. Journalists juggle many news stories and writing projects with competing deadlines and need time to prepare. If you give enough notice, they’re well-positioned to build the time into their schedule to cover your news (assuming there is interest).

To start strong, ensure your PR campaign has a sound pre-launch strategy. Account for the time needed to notify the media of what your company has in the pipeline. That way, interested media members can plan and ask any initial questions while time is on their side, which makes their job easier and avoids putting them in a time crunch.

Alternatively, if the PR plan lacks room for notifying journalists in advance and you’re scrambling to notify media just before launch, you make it easier for journalists to decline coverage. They simply won’t have time.

2.     A focused target list and audience
It is often said and bears repeating: Know your audience, their needs, and why they should care about your news. Understanding the appropriate audience will inform your ideal media targets and influence your success rate in garnering coverage.

Before reaching out to media, invest time into building a deeper understanding of your targets and their coverage. In doing so, you will be able to deliver customized messaging that your media contacts find useful and relevant to their audience, outlet, and platform, increasing the likelihood of coverage.

While this may seem obvious, there’s much room for improvement in the PR industry. Cision’s 2023 Global State of the Media report found only 7% of journalists say the majority of pitches they get are relevant to their audience. Having a strong grasp of your audience will help establish a focused list of media targets and avoid this problem.

3.     A timely and consistent outreach cadence
In some instances, successful PR is “training” journalists to expect to hear from you. If you reach out to your target media contacts regularly, those journalists can expect to receive your company’s news, which prepares them for updates, even if they don’t cover everything that’s sent their way.

When launching a new product, there’s an unwritten rule for the outreach cadence: It should include a combination of proactive pre-pitching, day-of outreach, and post-launch PR activities. This can also be a balancing act, as it’s important not to overdo it with outreach and follow-ups.

Landing coverage also hinges on promptly responding to media inquiries and requests. In instances where interviews are secured, this includes providing deliverables in a timely manner. If a journalist requests a customer contact or quote that you’re unable to provide quickly, it only hurts your chances of securing coverage.

4.     A product story featuring data
Data is important for effective storytelling and factors greatly into securing coverage. Cision’s 2023 Global State of the Media report shows 37% of journalists won’t consider covering a product unless the pitch includes data showing the trends and problems the product is solving for readers. The report also found that, when asked specifically what communications professionals can do to make their jobs easier, 66% of journalists responded with “provide data and expert sources.”

Many PR pros already know the importance of building a compelling narrative around a product launch; Cision’s findings illustrate the importance of introducing data into this storytelling, as it can serve as the difference in whether your product news lands. As stated in the report, “the currency of data is increasing in value.” Leverage data to illustrate the importance of your new product.

5.     Campaign in action: A celebrity use case
When seeking examples of a successful product launch, look no further than Taylor Swift.

Yes, Ms. Swift has a devoted global audience that most brands can’t match, which influences her success rate. But even for Tay-Tay, a strategic communications campaign is a critical component of bringing her products to market successfully. Case in point: The release of her 2022 album “Midnights,” which relied on a combination of paid promotions and earned, shared, and owned channels.

Swift embarked on a seven-week lead-up to the album’s release, cannily teasing the album during public appearances and on social media to drive excitement. She shared product details with her fanbase and delivered calls to action around pre-ordering her album and related merchandise. In the six days following the album’s release, Swift hinted at an upcoming tour and released the video for the song “Bejeweled” via multiple social channels.

The results of her carefully crafted launch campaign? Swift became the first recording artist to capture all spots on the Billboard Top 10, “Midnights” went double-platinum, and she became the most streamed female artist on Spotify.

Sadly, not all of us can be Taylor Swift. And not all product news will land your company in The New York Times or Wall Street Journal. But having a strong product launch campaign (like Ms. Swift) and establishing and adhering to a well-crafted PR plan will help you generate results around your company’s product news. And ultimately, it will help you bring the product to market like a rock star. Still not sure where to start? Let’s chat.