When working in PR, one of your biggest jobs is educating clients or stakeholders on what’s newsworthy and what isn’t.
New products often tread this line. Unless it affects the wider industry you’re in (or you’re a big cheese in your sector), there’s a good chance a journalist won’t care. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t write a press release about it, you might just need to work a little harder to make it more interesting.
Here’s a few tips:
- The ‘why’ is sometimes more interesting than the ‘what’
If the new product you’re writing about isn’t exactly groundbreaking, sometimes the reason why you’re launching it can be.
If you’re offering a new product because of growing demand, that growing demand may hold more weight, especially if it suggests a shift in the industry.
- Include stats
If you’ve got stats to back up the above then even better. You may have carried out some market research to help you develop your new product. This is the kind of stuff journalists love to get their hands on, and if you can weave it into your product announcement you can get coverage for both.
Even if you haven’t carried out any specific research, you may still have data that can help you tell a story. For example, if your new product is due to a growth in demand, share a percentage increase in enquiries or sales. You could even use Google Trends data to show patterns of interest.
- Prioritise what is genuinely different about it
This is the tricky part. When a colleague or client is really passionate about what they do, and they’re proud of what they’ve created, it’s easy to get swept up in the hype, but it’s important to separate benefits from genuine USPs, and prioritise accordingly in your release. Similarly, if it genuinely doesn’t have anything that separates it from the rest of the market, don’t pretend it has – a good journalist will see through it.
- Consider the ‘so what’ factor
Don’t assume the impact of your product is obvious, and think about what impact is interesting to each different audience. For example, if I was approaching local press with a release of a client offering a new service, I might ask my client whether that’s likely to open up any new job opportunities in the local area, and that would be what I would lead with when approaching local press.
- Don’t be tempted to pad it out
When you’re struggling to identify what sets your new product apart it can be tempting to pad out your press release with other information and ‘fluff’. Don’t. This doesn’t fool anyone, and if anything it undermines the elements of your release that might have been of interest.
- Give journalists a free trial or sample
Offering a free trial or sample makes your news release into a two way conversation rather than just a forgotten email in their overcrowded inbox. It can help them to truly understand what’s different about your product, and helps build a longer relationship.
- Consider round-up columns
If you’ve read through the above points and know that realistically, it’s not big news, then why not consider aiming for inclusion in a larger round-up article instead. Get familiar with your sector’s main publications and check for these regular round-up columns. Look for when they usually get published, and contact them in enough time to be included.
- The usual rules still apply
Just as with any other press release, give yourself the best chance of coverage by thinking about what subject line is going to get opened, what the best time or day to send your release is, and what images you have available. If a journalist is on the fence but you catch them at the right time and present them with everything they need, sometimes it can tip the balance.
And finally, remember that sending a press release isn’t always about securing coverage, it’s about keeping journalists updated with your company’s news and growth, and staying front of mind!