August 9, 2012
Most startup founders know all too well that you only get one chance at a launch. The media blitz that follows can do wonders for customer acquisition and lend credibility to your venture in the eyes of potential partners and investors.
Startup after startup has launched to much fanfare (remember Color?), only to plummet back to Earth and fail spectacularly. A successful public launch, at least in terms of media relations, requires several components at the ready. So before you reveal your company to the world, make sure you have these items in place:
A viable product. This one seems obvious, right? A soft launch to introduce the brand to early adopters can be a valuable tactic if executed correctly. But some startups, eager for press, make the mistake of showing all their cards before their product is ready.
Marketing collateral. Pitching your company’s story to the right reporters at the right outlets is only half the battle. You also need to follow through with interviews and provide the right collateral, which can mean anything from screenshots to a brief demo video, which often makes the difference when it comes to landing that coveted TV spot.
Website with a call to action. A dedicated website with your own domain name is extremely important. When you decide to open the PR floodgates, you’ll want to earn valuable links back to your site.
Consistent messaging and branding elements. Another no-brainer, consistency among all web properties is hugely important, especially considering the reach your brand can have via social media channels. Sure, you might position the company slightly differently on your AngelList profile than on your Facebook page, but the core branding elements need to remain intact.
Product roadmap. For today’s startups, the pivot almost seems like a rite of passage. Developing a roadmap allows you to make shifts to the product while remaining cognizant of the end goal.
Basic media training. There’s no better way to learn to talk to the media than by talking to the media. That said, it certainly helps to have a go-to elevator pitch in your back pocket (at least figuratively, if not literally).
In your experience, what else has proved useful to have on hand when launching a startup?
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