Who doesn't like a good product announcement? Done well, announcements add color to an otherwise static month. They give us something to look forward to, and something to gossip about. They can also catapult a company to a larger stage. Here are a few ideas for planning out your next product launch or other company announcements.
Draw Out the Suspense
Make sure your announcement warrants it. There’s nothing more deflating than a big build up for a little announcement. Use the suspense tactic to lead into a major product announcement, new partnerships, or big events.
Get the timing right. Don’t give too much lead time to your announcement, or your supporters will lose interest. Increase the frequency of hints and sneak peaks as you draw closer to the announcement.
Leverage social media. One of the best ways to drop hints is through your social media channels. There’s nothing more intriguing than a tweet like, “Something big is in the works… can’t wait for the world to see!”
Tell Your Most Loyal Supporters First
For announcements that aren’t as highly secretive, seek out a small group of your best customers and brand advocates and provide them with advanced notice. If you’re launching a product or service, let them be the first to try it out and provide feedback. If you are throwing an event, host them for an exclusive dinner or give them a space to interact with each other. Fans are your best assets and should be empowered to help shape your product and speak on your behalf.
Pick the Right Channel for the Initial Announcement
Choosing the right channel to make the initial announcement is of critical importance. In doing so, think about the priorities of your particular launch. If there is a visual element to your announcement, think about holding an in-person event, a webinar, or creating an online video. If the speed at which the news spreads is the most important thing, think about announcing it on Twitter, your blog, or Facebook. This year, for example, we’ve seen an increase in political candidates talking to Twitter to announce their candidacies. If you care most about media exposure, reach out to a journalist you respect and offer them an exclusive. Finally, if the announcement will have a direct impact on your existing customers, make sure that your first step is to connect with them through email or some other personal outreach.
You never know how announcements are going to go until you are smack in the middle of them. Be prepared to handle any surprises that could come your way, and react to them. A few plan Bs to have:
If the Story Leaks: Try as you might to prevent leaks, sometimes news gets out ahead of time (we’re looking at you BostInno :-) ) When this happens, move quickly beyond the surprise and make the most of the occasion. Correct any inaccuracies and prioritize getting a communication out to your customers as soon as possible. Then run with the story. Make yourself available to answer any questions and invite bloggers or journalists in. If you had a launch event planned, turn that event into a celebration.
If the Announcement Doesn’t Go Over Well: Particularly if you are dealing with a new product or service, there’s always a small risk that the public won’t like what you’ve released. If this happens, try not to have a knee jerk reaction. Listen to the concerns you’re hearing, and open up more channels for feedback. Communicate any changes you are making in response.
If Your Site Goes Down: If you run into technical problems on the day you've released your news, don’t panic. Designate a core team to be ready and responsive if there is any trouble with your website. Use every other channel possible to communicate the announcement and the work being done to fix the technical problem. Don’t forget to breathe!
The most important element in getting announcements right is to let your genuine enthusiasm shine through. You should be passionate about the work you do (If you're not -- we've got a solution for that too). Make sure your audience is able to feed off of that excitement.
By the way, speaking of announcements, HubSpot might a few more left up its orange sleeves yet... but you'll have to stay tuned.
How else can you make your product launches and company announcements truly memorable?
Originally published Oct 14, 2011 3:35:00 PM, updated August 29 2017