If you’re a B2B tech marketer, you’ll know it’s tough to get the media to write news stories about your new products. Unless you’re Microsoft, Google, SAP etc – or your new product is a ‘world’s first’ (or involves a genuine step up in innovation) – corporate IT publications are unlikely to want to cover your launch. It’s frustrating. So what are the options for generating product PR?
First, for those who doubt what I’m saying, just take a look at UK business computing sites such as Computing, Computer Weekly or Computer Business Review. Not much (if any) space focused on new products is there? Big launches and initiatives by the major tech brands aside, these titles are mostly looking at the challenges and trends impacting enterprise IT departments and how they respond to them.
Similarly, while marketing and other line-of-business depts are now big spenders on IT, marketing titles such as Marketing Week and Campaign do not cover marketing tech software and products – although they’ll look at how brands are using digital technology as part of their marketing and advertising strategies.
If you’re a startup, sites such TechCrunch may cover your product news – if it’s genuinely different and you give it to them as an exclusive. But obviously not everyone’s a hot startup.
Given the above, what else can you do about providing PR to support your new product launch? Here are seven things to consider:
1) Make sure you’ve exhausted all potential news angles
While I’ve said it’s tough, it’s not impossible. So it’s probably worth spending some time ensuring you’ve exhausted all avenues for finding a news hook or angle to get tech journalists interested in writing about your product. Is there something quirky about where the product idea came from? Is it using old tech in a new way? Is it targeting an emerging niche? Is there a strong image or visual angle that might get media attention?
2) Create some news around a major beta customer
If you’ve managed to seed the product in advance with a beta customer that is well known, will they be willing to provide the media with user quotes and background (ideally by taking journalist interviews)? That could work.
3) Attach some research to it
If you can gather some primary data related to the launch, such as running a survey that highlights the potential pain points your new product addresses, this might help you create an interesting angle. You might be able to run a survey of your own customer and prospect database. Or you could pay to get a few questions included in an omnibus survey of B2B IT decision makers.
4) Blog about it on your own and your partners’ blogs (or a get a customer to blog about it)
In addition to writing about your new product on your company’s corporate blog, you could ask a beta customer to write a post about their experience of using the product (a customer’s words will always be more credible than your own). And if you sell via the IT channel, perhaps you can reach a wider audience by offer guest posts to appear on your channel partners’ blogs.
5) Use a newswire to get it indexed by Google news
Posting a press release on a newswire service will help your story get indexed by Google news to help drive some initial online visibility around searches for your company name and related keywords. There are a variety of free and paid newswire services. In my experience you get what you pay for.
6) Get your sales team to share your news via social channels
As well as sharing your product news via your corporate social profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook), make sure you encourage your sales team to share it with their networks (they’re most likely to be well connected with customers and potential customers).
7) Consider social advertising to reach a wider audience
It’s worth considering the options for advertising via the likes of LinkedIn and Twitter to get your product content in front of business target audiences. You can pay to drive additional views of your posts/content or clicks (or other types of engagement) so this can be quite cost effective. And Linkedin has some great targeting options for B2B marketers. Generally though, dry information about you new product features and benefits won’t work well on social, so you’ll need to create something with a bit more added value.