How to Prepare for a Big News Announcement

Whether it’s a new product, a big new hire or an IPO, there’s a lot that goes into a successful communications strategy for an announcement.

Building a comprehensive plan – that covers all your stakeholders and the channels by which you’ll reach them – will ensure you make the most of your valuable news event. So where do you start and what should you make sure is included in your strategy? Here’s a quick rundown that will help you cover all your bases.

  • Plan, plan, plan. Before launching into anything, gain insight to help you understand the who, what, where and when. Data about your customer journey, what topics your customers care about and where they spend their time will help you map out a strategy. Once you have these insights, you can get creative with narrative and messaging, content, media relations and other marketing tactics to get attention. This phase includes creating a plan for big items (like the ones you’ll see in the following points) as well as a timeline for each individual project. Having a full picture what needs to be done and when will keep everyone on task and save your team from any last minute scrambles (barring any of those last minute changes to the announcement itself of course).
  • Create your collateral … all of it. The collateral that will be paired alongside your news can include anything from a press release, to product sheets, landing pages, graphics or video. Think about what will serve as pieces of content that your audience can turn to for more information about the announcement. Once you have a list of the items you want created, get started. Having all of these things ready to go on the day of launch will be ready to flipped on, set up and sent out. As soon as the announcement hits, people can immediately turn to these things.
  • Get your spokespeople in order. With big news comes media interviews. Who will be speaking on behalf of your company? Are they media trained? Are they prepared for any questions that come at them on social media? Help your spokespeople feel comfortable by providing them examples of questions most likely to be asked, including how to respond to some of the stickier ones that could pop up. Encourage them to set aside blocks of time on their calendars the day of the big news if possible so that they aren’t trying to squeeze in interviews between meetings and appointments.
  • Be ready to meet the press. Media outreach will undoubtedly be a part of your announcement strategy. Have a clear picture of what the media relations portion of your plan will look like. Will you be offering an exclusive to a publication? Compile a list of your media targets, how they will be split between your team and whether or not you’ll be pre-pitching or doing most of your outreach on the day of. Personally, I like to have the pitches drafted in advance so that I’m ready to hit send as soon as we get the green light. Building on top of the point mentioned above, make sure you have availability from your spokespeople to easily present to media who are interested in an interview. That eliminates wasted time digging through calendars.
  • Get social. Another piece of the puzzle is the social media component of your announcement. Big news means you’ll undoubtedly receive feedback and questions on your social channels. Not only should you have social posts drafted beforehand, but you should also have one person (or a team, depending on the size of the announcement) on hand to monitor and respond to tweets and comments in real time. This will let your audience know you’re available and listening.
  • Incorporate digital advertising components. In traditional PR plans, digital advertising often falls to the wayside. After all, it often falls into the marketing bucket. However, digital ads can provide a boost to your news – especially if you’re launching a new product. Set a budget for your advertising, and based on where your audience spends the most time, pick the channels to advertise on – whether it’s AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – or all four! It’s another tool that will help you reach beyond your audience and grab the eyes of potential new customers. Draft your ad copy for each channel ahead of time so you’re able to launch your ads in tandem with the actual announcement.

This might seem like a long list to take in, but having all of this prepared in advance of your announcement will allow you to breathe a little easier when the big day finally comes.

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