Building a communications plan to support a go-to-market launch requires more than distributing a press release and sending a few pitches to media. It should firmly entrench your brand in the market and provide a narrative that convinces customers to buy your products and reporters to jump on the phone with a spokesperson for an interview.
When done well, all the behind-the-scenes activity—messaging reviews, media training and outreach, website alterations, copywriting, internal process improvements and communications—should go entirely unnoticed. The result should be the perception that your brand and executives have it all figured out—even if you don’t.
While the majority of go-to-market launches are best served through PR retainers, given the long runway and tail needed to properly support a launch, some brands may not be able to financially commit to a nine- or 12-month relationship with a PR firm. With that in mind, we’ve provided a bit of guidance on what you should expect from your PR firm for a project-based fee.
The best wire services for press release distribution aren’t cheap. Plan on spending anywhere between $1,000 and $1,500, depending on word count. You should already have an account with a leading wire service well ahead of your announcement so you’re not scrambling last-minute;
If you hired a PR firm, reserve a few hours to review your existing messaging and marketing collateral, make changes to web copy, boilerplate language, etc.
PR and marketing should be working together to develop FAQ documents and messaging triangles to align departments internally as well as spokespeople. They should also work with any existing customers you have through pilot programs or beta testing to determine if any are a good fit to speak to press.
A good PR firm will charge you between $3,000 and $4,000 for the media relations component alone. This is because a good PR firm doesn’t relegate your announcement to interns who blast 500 reporters with the same email. Instead, a few experienced media relations pros are researching the best outlets and reporters to pitch, what they’ll likely cover based on their interests and what other opportunities there may be to capitalize on your announcement with, for instance, a couple of in-person interviews or phone calls.
Pitching takes time. If you want success to be determined by something other than ethereal “impressions” numbers or the number of times a release appeared as-is on a website straight from 1995, you have to be willing to allocate hours before, during and after an announcement hits the wire to ensure quality press coverage.
Depending on your industry, launches are great opportunities to brief industry analysts. Allocate about $1,000 for your PR team to research firms and analysts and schedule briefings and demos.
Your marketing department should have already put the time into developing basic messaging and differentiators that can be sprinkled throughout the release. This is your first chance to speak to customers in a public forum.
Allocate time for your PR and marketing departments to talk to your sales team. One of the biggest mistakes we see is a lack of communication between sales and marketing. At such an early stage, it’s crucial that the feedback loop between these departments is kept open.
Your spokesperson listed on the announcement should go out of his or her way to be available for the first couple of days following an announcement distribution. The last thing anyone wants is a reporter at your favorite industry magazine calling to speak to the CEO only to hear that he or she isn’t available for another three days.