When it’s time to launch your business, it can be a reality check to realize that, despite the energy, devotion and excitement that’s gone into bringing your project to life, not everyone is aware of the business and brand you’ve been working hard to get off the ground. Unless you’re prominently placed in a high traffic area that your specific target audience happens to pass by twice a day, it’s likely going to take some effort to attract their attention.
While we almost always recommend a multi-channel approach to marketing for our clients, we hold PR (aka “earned media”) in particularly high esteem when it comes to achieving meaningful results during a business launch (especially when executed in conjunction with other marketing efforts).
Why should PR be part of your launch strategy?
- A launch is newsworthy. Business reporters are eager for newsworthy content and a new business launch is certainly worthy of an announcement. Be prepared with as much information about your mission, the market you intend to serve, uniqueness or demand for your product or service based upon current trends and how many jobs will be created. Offering as many facts as possible in an initial press release and/or pitch will strengthen your chances of being published.
- Bring in new customers. It’s obvious but every new business needs a customer base. In addition to your existing audience, earned media means you’ll be reaching a whole new realm of people that might benefit from your product or service. The credibility of the media outlet gives you a leg up in earning their trust early on.
- Build brand recognition. As the new name in your industry, you’ll be building your reputation from the ground up if you don’t already have a following. Aligning yourself with key stories and media outlets from the get go helps improve your reputation and gets your name out there.
- Attract the people you want to work with. If you’re a new business and potentially primed for growth, you’ll be thinking about who to bring onto your team as things get busier. Earned media opportunities that show off your brand help to make yours look like an attractive work environment to potential candidates.
1. Consider your audience
Are you launching locally or starting a business with a national reach? Is your ideal customer the general public, or does your client base fall within a specific industry? Are there certain demographics that make the most sense to target? Consider how you might reach your ideal customer, potential investors, and colleagues in the industry who might be interested in your launch.
2. Determine the best outlet to reach your audience.
Once you’ve narrowed down who you’re trying to reach, you can figure out the outlets they’re likely to be tuned into. Focus your efforts on the channels that will have the biggest impact on establishing credibility and get you in front of the audience that will be most receptive to your message. There can be value in diversifying to reach a broader audience down the road, but if you have limited resources, keep things specific to start.
3. Tailor your pitch to your target outlet.
Launch events, product showcases, and other highly visual content can be a great fit for TV or local media that might physically visit your space and be in a position to share visuals. Content that centers more around your expertise and positions you as a thought leader within your industry can be a better fit for trade publications or an interview with a business journalist.
4. Partner with like-minded businesses.
Consider leveraging your relationships with other businesses to raise visibility and help further tell your story. Is there an industry trend you’d like to speak on, and do you have another connection in the industry who can support your pitch and act as an additional source for a media outlet?
This might also mean hosting a neighborhood block party with other businesses in your area, co-presenting a webinar with a potential referral source, or authoring a blog post on a colleague’s website. Don’t neglect these relationships in your social media strategy, either. Liking and sharing content can go a long way in building relationships, and other businesses are likely to reciprocate, giving you additional visibility in front of their established audiences.
5. Continue to build owned content while executing your PR strategy.
Don’t neglect your owned content while focusing on earned media. Ideally, your PR efforts will be driving traffic to your website and social channels. Keep up with them to ensure the content is fresh, engaging, and helping to convert potential leads that wind up on your channels after seeing your earned media coverage.
Fluent IMC is a Maine marketing agency specializing in integrated marketing communications. Our expertise ranges from brand strategy and marketing planning to digital marketing and online advertising to public relations and communications.