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10 things you need to know about product PR
You’ve done the market research, product testing, updated your Amazon selling page and secured retail partners – and now it’s time to unleash your latest brand innovation! But, how do you create a successful launch for a new beauty, health or wellness product? The marketing options can be overwhelming, and with social media and in particular Tik Tok – do you still need PR for a NPD launch?
Well, you’re asking an experienced Agency here – so yes, PR plays a crucial role in every successful product launch! It can help to deliver media coverage in sought-after media platforms, national press and magazines, encourage product trial from new customers in key target audiences, and dial up the excitement and noise around your new “cult beauty” release in the making.
So, what do you need to consider for your product PR launch? Here are our Ten Top Tips:
This is crucial to any good Marketers’ planning. It sounds obvious, but everything needs to be in place before you go out to media and the public with your “new news.” So, for example, make sure your plans for distribution e.g. online / via retailers are secured, the product pipeline is on track and the packaging is on point. Journalists will want to know where and when your product is available, as well as the RRP – so you can’t launch without these details included in your press materials and resulting editorial.
Also, consider, is there a seasonal element that you could capitalise on to engage with your target audience? For example, summer-themed launches can be fun and popular with media, as well as tying in with well-worn editorial themes. However, if you want coverage to land in a particular season, you need to move early! Journalists start thinking about and writing features for Spring/Summer in February!
Big or small (or somewhere in between!) – you need to know this before you approach a PR agency to get the most from their time and have the biggest impact on launch. Campaigns can range from editorial focused launches with a “scaled down” budget (potentially suitable for start-ups) to more elaborate projects – including media spend for broadcast campaigns, media partnerships, influencers, Brand Ambassadors etc for established products with NPD.
- Launch event
Do you want to celebrate your new launch with an event? Leverage for brand events is huge now, an opportunity to showcase your brand IRL, delivering organic social media content, SoMe shares and influencer and top-flight journalist attendance. Think through the basics first – who would you invite, where would you hold it, what are the implications in terms of costs, what would you gain from it?
The options for events are endless – the sky’s the limit. Think about the most suitable format – expert Q&As, fireside chats, lunch at the latest “go to” venues and drinks are all popular. Plus, is there any activity that you could incorporate for to make your event invite stand out from the crowd? Depending on your product benefits, try a Brand Ambassador-led yoga class, sound bath, make-over, pedicure, blow dry etc.
And, don’t forget the essential take home goody bag – a beautifully presented showcase for your new baby!
- Product sampling / trial
It’s vital to get your products into journalists’ and influencer hands so they can trial the product themselves and give an honest (and hopefully glowing review). Think carefully about how will you sample your product. Options include a creative mailer with bespoke branding packaging or a gift mailer created in-house. In terms of capacity, will you need to outsource distribution or could it be handled via existing channels?
Thorough research into the right journalists is vital to reduce any wastage and ensure a targeted approach. So, a specialist PR agency team will spend time reaching out to contacts to ascertain interest before the mailer. This is essential to find out if people are WFH or in the office – this has changed so much post-pandemic! Follow-up is also fundamental to check that the mailer arrived, get journalists’ reaction, check if they need anything else (e.g. expert comment, images, more product samples?) and confirm coverage and editorial opportunities.
Yes, everyone’s attention span has shrunk, but it’s still important to communicate key messages about your product! Shout about; the key ingredients, how does it work, what are the benefits, what do experts and customers say about its efficacy, what’s the customer experience, how does it differ from competitors, what’s the USP? Options for product launch assets include; a launch press release or news announcement, expert “top tips” style feature, short films with demos, social media content (Reels, Stories, Posts) infographics, a product guide etc.
Product credentials are more important than ever to journalists and consumers – so consider these points and your positioning on; is the packing recyclable, are your ingredients natural, is it halal, suitable for vegetarians and vegans etc? Also, consider your outreach carefully to avoid wastage with unwanted items – sometimes a clever or thoughtful item which sits well besides your product works well. For example, at Trinity PR, we often chose a small gift that fits well with the overall theme of the launch campaign e.g. a resistance band and unique foam roller water bottle for the launch of super supplement, Joint Complex or a quick-dry 100% recyclable Dock & Bay beach towel made from plastic bottles for a “Dreaming of Summer” mailer for the Karo footcare range to help journalists prep for Summer with CCS Foot Cream and Footner Exfoliating Socks.
You need good quality, high-res, professionally-shot images for editorial of both products and packing – available in PNG or JPEG format. Lifestyle shots, using a diverse range of models, can also be used across editorial, paid-media and social media. Also think – can you be more creative or playful with the brand imagery? For editorial, try to emulate current trends featured in the magazines or online.
Be clear about where the PR Agency can help you. Consider who will manage each element of the marketing plan – will social media be handled in-house or do you want the Agency to do a launch take-over? What assets do you have available for the Agency to use – product directory, images, website, product offers, products for reader give-aways etc. Do you have a marketing spend – i.e. can the Agency leverage relationships with your advertising partners to increase editorial opps? Do you have a roster of influencers or spokespeople that the Agency could use for the product launch – e.g. to speak at an event, be quoted on a press release, give exclusive content to journalists etc
Here are some points to ponder to ensure you can measure success?
- Make sure you and the Agency set and agree KPIs (key performance indicators) at the outset. What do you want the campaign to achieve or change?
- How will the Agency communicate with and report to you?
- Do you have media monitoring (this is vital to ensure editorial is picked up) – but may require additional budget for an external system, as well as to cover media licenses.
- Have you maximised the results e.g. shared coverage internally with the salesforce and retailer partners, as well as posted on social media / your website?
- Maintaining momentum
So, you’ve had a fantastic launch, but when the buzz of the event has died down and the coverage is slowing, what’s your next step? Do you have budget to continue with the PR Agency on a retainer for ongoing support? How do you keep that dialogue open with journalists and influencers? Do you have any more NPD in the pipeline? Or is there a creative angle / campaign you could develop? Are there any Awards that you can enter to celebrate the new product e.g. Best New Beauty Products in 2024
If you want to have a chat about your product launch, contact Caroline at Trinity PR on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0770 948 7960