This Insights was contributed by Ann Revell-Pechar at Fluent PR
You only get one chance at a first impression…
For startups, launch can be a go/no-go, life-or-death situation. Do it right, and the likelihood of your success multiplies. Do it wrong and, well…
Some companies have different launches for the company and for each product they bring to market. The PR activities vary slightly, primarily because your goals vary if you’re establishing a company brand or driving product sales. But preparing the soil remains much the same.
Introducing: Your Company
To launch a brand-new company, start by taking a little time for navel gazing. Go back and review your messaging document. This will remind you of the reason you’re in business and of the words you so carefully selected to represent who you are.
Then, absorb these few tips that help you lay the groundwork for success.
You’ve set the date you want to “go public” with your business. Usually, it’s a few days after your website is up and has proven to be stable. In a lead-up to the date, make sure you’re ready for the big bang:
- Start a social build. Your website should be prepopulated with at least three to five blog posts that shed light on the uniqueness of your company. But don’t stop there. Know which social media platforms will be most influential for your firm, then set up accounts and start following people, posting, and building a following.
- Know your competitors. Set up a Google News feed for each and follow them. Your primary goal here is to be sure you’re creating a story that is unique and compelling. If your launch focuses on stories that others are already telling, you can be sure it will read as “old news.”
- Know the journalists writing about your competitors and your category of business. Create your press list. If your competitors are getting coverage by two or three journalists/bloggers in particular, they are likely assigned to the beat you fall under. Read these journalists’ writings, find out if they take a particular angle, or if they’ve recently opened the door to the solution you offer -- and at very least determine how your angle can be different and compelling.
- Find out who influences. Outside of press, there are a lot of key influencers in your industry and the industries your company serves. Find out who they are. Get to know what they think, how their influence is ramified, and how other companies get mentioned by these folks.
- Clarify your personality Infographics. Videos. Advertising. Surveys. Podcasts. Your tagline. Find a way to be sure the company personality is clearly established prior to launch.
- Go-live. Usually, a big-bang launch has some sort of event to welcome your potential customers into your fold. Pick a date and figure out what kind of event makes the most sense. For some, it’s a live event – a party. For others it’s a webinar, a social blitz, a special offer or even a contest launch. Think about what will win the hearts and minds of customers and those who will influence your customers.
- Keep it up. Don’t get this movement started then take a nap. Oh, you’ll be exhausted, but it’s critical that you take that momentum you’ve just begun and keep pushing that ball up the hill. Find ways to keep social posts alive and fresh with pre-scheduled posts, continue signing folks up for webinars, and stay in touch with the press to advise of successes and ideas.
This is just the beginning. If you’re interested in building this out further, talk to a professional who has built expertise in company launches. And don’t forget to connect with the CIE
for more ideas on how to make your business launch a big bang.
Diane Durance, MPA, is director of UNC Wilmington's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The CIE is a resource for the start-up and early-stage business community to help diversify the local economy with innovative solutions. For more information, visit www.uncw.edu/cie.