Before your startup launches there is a lot of groundwork to be done. Here we’re diving into the essentials of drafting your PR launch plan.
Simply put, your launch plan is the thing that will help you tell your brand story to the marketplace.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the idea of a launch plan, especially if you don’t have any experience in PR, but you don’t have to lay out a 100-page document of detailed strategies and tactics for it to be effective. Like anything else in the startup world, you have to start somewhere to go anywhere.
Here are 4 steps to help you get started.
1. Identify your goals
Before you create a PR plan of action, you need to know what you want to accomplish.
- Who do you want to reach?
- Do you want your story to get picked up by certain key publications?
- Maybe you want to drive more traffic to your website?
- Or score an interview with a leading journalist?
It might sound elementary, or even obvious, but make sure you have a clear understanding of your goals before you build your launch plan. This will help you craft a strategy that’s designed to help you achieve them.
And remember: a million views of your story won't mean anything if they're from the wrong audience. Targeting is everything.
2. Decide how to tell your story
PR is all about storytelling. If it isn't a good story, no one cares... which means you don't get published. You started your company for a reason, so you do have at least one story to tell.
Think about this: Why would anyone talk about your company unprompted?
Brainstorming from that simple question can help you land on something newsworthy.
Here's a starting point: instead of telling the world about your product, say something interesting about the problem it's trying to solve. Talk about the issue, not the tool. Make that the focus. Then namedrop your business into the story in a way that doesn't appear forced, for example, with an expert quote from your brand rep (usually the CEO).
And it doesn't have to only be about your product. For example, at Prezly we got a lot of press about how we were a bootstrapped startup.
After you have your story you need to first, articulate it in a compelling, cohesive way. Think about how good stories are told – you need an emotional hook, a plot narrative that invites people to keep listening, and ultimately, a way to demonstrate value to your audience.
Second, identify the various channels such as email, press releases, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and paid advertising that you can use to tell it, and lay out which elements of the story you’ll tell with which channels. This becomes quite easy once you identify who your target audience is and find out where they spend their time consuming media.
3. Set dates and milestones
Working back from your launch date, identify the key milestones you will need to hit in your launch plan.
For example, when do you need to have your key messaging finished? When do all your pitches to influencers need to be ready? When does your launch video need to be finalized? What activities do you want to do immediately following your launch, and what deliverables are associated with them?
Think about all the different components that will go into your launch, when they need to be ready, and which items are interdependent. Build a schedule, and manage it like you would any other project.
4. Leave room for serendipity
While it’s important to have a launch plan for your startup, it’s equally important to remain open to opportunities as they arise, which they will, often from places you’d never anticipate.
Don’t get so focused on your launch plan that you become blind to unexpected serendipity. Build some flexibility into your plan so that when favorable opportunities come up, you’ll be able to respond.
Bonus: How To Write Your Email Pitch
You've got news to share with the world. That means at some point, you're going to need to pitch a journalist, an influencer or some other content creator to help get your story seen by a wider audience.
You're going to need the email pitch.
Social media and events are all well and good, but external comms still runs on email. We've put together this free PDF guide on how to pitch, including a strategy framework planner and insights from nearly 16million pitches. Check it out.
Have you ever built a PR launch plan for a startup, or are you in the process of building one? What lessons can you share? Tell us on Twitter.
In the increasingly complex world of modern PR, Prezly seeks to create simplicity by arming brands with the tools to tell authentic stories. Prezly's software brings together contact management, newsroom publishing, distribution, analytics and coverage reporting to give you and your team full control over your comms.
In their spare time, the Prezly team enjoys building open-source resources to help comms professionals share their experience and build something better, together :)