A product launch press release is a key tool in your PR arsenal for getting your company’s activities on the media map. In this blog, we’ll explore how to write a product launch press release that will get journalists to pay attention and give your startup the best coverage possible.
A press release is a short announcement about something your organization is doing or has done. It is distributed to media outlets who can use the material in the press release as the basis for a story?
So why would you want to write a press release?
- It’s cost-effective. Although you can pay to distribute them more widely, when a journalist picks up your press release, they won’t expect to be paid by you for writing about it. In terms of increasing reach, acquiring backlinks and other important PR factors, press releases are very powerful.
- It gives you more control over the story: A press release lets you present your side of the story. This is important for reputation management or when your organization is involved in controversy.
- It helps build relationships with journalists: a steady stream of useful content can help you get on the journalists’ radar, so they will reach out to you for comment.
If your business has a new product to promote, a well-crafted press release to selected media outlets should be at the heart of your PR strategy ?.
To get maximum exposure, there are three major factors you need to take account of:
- How It’s Written
Need help getting your press releases in front of the right people? Check out Pressfarm today!
Product Launch Press Release Part 1: Newsworthiness
Let’s face it. Most of the time, a new product launch is more interesting to you – the producer – than to anyone else. Unless your products generate the kind of excitement associated with Apple or Tesla launches, you are going to have to WORK to make your news into something that will get picked up.
And that means you will have to think like a journalist.
Journalists are looking for any or all of the following features in deciding that a press release is newsworthy:
- Timeliness – Is this new information? Has anyone else covered it?
- Proximity – Is this happening near to the publication or to the audience it serves?
- Prominence – Are people who are well-known involved in the story?
- Bizarre – Is this out of the ordinary, surprising or in some way unique?
- Human Interest – Does this touch upon the lives or imaginations of the likely readers?
- Impact – Does this or is this likely to make a big difference to readers?
The more of these elements you can work into your story, the more of an appealing ANGLE you will be putting into your product launch.
Here is a good example from Magfast. Their new product has a strong potential impact but they’ve given the launch a bizarre or human interest twist by saying the charger is “powerful enough to jump start a car”.
Here’s another one, this time from Shouqi Limousine and Chauffeur. By tying their new driverless car tech in with fighting the coronavirus outbreak in China, the company has “newsjacked” one of the biggest stories of the year.
The angle provides the reason for journalists to cover your announcement as news rather than treating it as an advert.
So, your product launch press release might combine the launch announcement with:
- A special event at your offices (Proximity for local media)
- Invite celebrities to the launch (to generate Prominence)
- Conduct a media stunt (to make it Bizarre)
Another thing journalists look for is the so-called 5 Ws
Your press release needs to give them the key facts about the story. That is:
- WHAT is happening
- WHO is involved
- WHEN it is happening
- WHERE it is happening
- WHY it is important
- HOW this came about
Yes, you are right. That is 6 things. One of them is not a W…Providing this information makes it easy to turn your press release into effective news content, saving busy journalists time and effort.
And now for the bad news: you can’t talk about your business too much.
Press releases that do not have an interesting, newsworthy angle and just aim to put out commercial messages don’t get picked up. It’s that simple. If you want an advert or an advertorial, you’ll have to pay for it. If you want editorial-side coverage, you’ve got to present a real story that you and your business happen to be a part of.
Starting a fundraising campaign rather than launching a new product? Check out our guide to Writing Press Releases for Kickstarter Campaigns!
Product Launch Press Release Part 2: How It’s Written
The Inverted Pyramid structure is one of the first things they teach in journalism school. It’s how news content is written. If you want journalists to read your press releases, then you should use this structure as a guide when you’re writing:
The essence is that you present the most important/most newsworthy information first, followed by less and less important material.
- HEADLINE: Your headline has to make an impact and demonstrate the newsworthiness of the press release. If the headline doesn’t appeal, the journalist won’t even bother reading the rest of it.
- OPENING PARAGRAPHS: The first 20 or 30 words must convey the LEAD – what is happening and what qualifies it as news. Just like the headline, this opening section (which is often displayed in bold type, italics or even capitals or bullet points to make it stand out) has to grab the reader immediately.
- MAIN BODY: The middle section is where you can elaborate a bit more on the 5Ws and the lead presented at the beginning. Here is where you spell out the story, the context, the argument or controversy, etc. It is common practice to include a QUOTE from a key player in the story – as a tech startup founder, that would be you! Journalists like to include “primary source” material such as quotes in full.
- ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The final section of your press release should include contact details, details of the launch event, where more information on your company and your new product can be found, etc. This is often presented under a title such as “Notes for Editors” – making it clear that it provides background material for someone writing a story based on the press release.
Pressfarm has a whole host of tried-and-tested press release templates available for free. Here’s the product launch template:
Now you’ve got the perfect structure, here are five more tips for writing the perfect product launch press release:
- Keep it short: press releases are traditionally about 300-400 words long. They used to be sent out by post and fax, and that’s about one side of A4. Sticking to a familiar format will increase the likelihood of journalists reading your press release.
- Keep it simple: Stick to one key message for your lead. Use short paragraphs to make the text scannable. Highlight the most important elements. Once again, make it easy to read and absorb.
- Write in the third person: If you talk about “us” and “our product launch” the journalists will have to rewrite it for publication. Save them the trouble!
- Tailor your focus to your audience: Think about the end-users – that is, the journalists’ audience. What matters to them? What affects them? You have to appeal not only to the journalists but also to their readers.
- Provide extra media assets: Include photographs from your event, a free trial of the new product, a copy of your Media Pack. Anything that will save journalists time and effort in writing a story that makes your business look great!
Product Launch Press Release Part 3: Distribution
A successful press release is not just about writing. It’s also about distribution. You can have a great product launch and a great press release with a powerful hook, but if you announce it at the wrong time or in the wrong way, you won’t get the coverage you want.
In this final section, we’ll look at six ways to maximize your press release’s impact.
1. Target the right journalists
Journalists receive far more press releases than they can ever hope to cover, so they are intolerant of irrelevant press releases setting up camp in their inboxes!
Before beginning a press campaign, you should identify the media outlets that might be interested in a product launch like yours.
Remember, the threshold for “newsworthiness” differs between publications. For big general publications like Mashable and TechCrunch, your press release needs to score highly on most of the six factors, especially Prominence.
The more niche or local a publication or a journalist’s interests, the less competition there will be for attention. Of course, the flip side of that is the audience is smaller!
Using a database that segments journalists by interest and specialty is a great way to build your target list accurately.
2. Pitch your story first
As we’ve already mentioned, journalists are usually very busy. So prime them for your press release in the same way as if you were presenting a PR pitch.
- Get in touch before the start of your campaign, explaining the story and explaining why it fits their publication.
- Research target journalists’ previous stories and tie your own into an area they have already shown interest in
- If a journalist seems particularly keen, you can offer them exclusivity on covering your product launch.
- You can take this opportunity to find out whether a publication will include Follow links in their online content, which are important for your website’s SEO.
Talking to journalists before sending out your product launch press release can provide you with important feedback about how to improve it before you send it out more widely.
3. Send it out under embargo
The press release template above features the words “For Immediate Release” near the top. That means that journalists are permitted to use any of the information provided right away.
Alternatively, you can forbid the use of the information in your press release until a certain date and time by putting an EMBARGO at the top of the message. The reasons for doing this might include:
- To give the journalists time to prepare coverage and be ready to publish as soon as your news is announced.
- So that you can coordinate and control when and how your campaign progresses
4. Pick your sending time
This infographic sums up a variety of research on the best time to send a press release out to maximize attention.
Of course, every media sector is different and you will need to learn the optimal times in your own target area.
The campaign isn’t over as soon as you’ve sent the press release off. You can help generate more interest by getting in touch with journalists after some time has passed to check whether they are going to cover the story, to offer more information, to find out why they didn’t cover it, etc.
- Don’t make the follow-up call too early and avoid busy times. If you bother a journalist too soon or too much you could put them off.
- At the same time, don’t leave it too late. Remember, journalists receive so many press releases it’s easy to forget the one that came in a few days ago.
- As with the best times to send, you will need to learn the “news cycles” for your target media areas. For print magazines, this is likely to be monthly. For broadcast media and online, it will be more frequent.
6. Share the coverage you get
Make the most of press coverage when you get it!
- Broadcast the press links over your social media channels to increase the product launch’s reach
- Feature media coverage on your own website as a means of boosting social proof