PR Essentials for Pre-Launch & Post-Launch of Your Startup

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From Pre-Launch to Post-Launch

The first query that I received from my first post on Yourstory.in was about what one should do in the pre-launch and post-launch phases of a startup. A Startup which was in its inception mode, wanted my suggestion on whether the founder should go ahead with PR/Marketing or wait for the product to take pace. My suggestions form today’s blog post

Tips for the pre-launch phase of a startup:

Reason: Why are you working on a new product? Is it because you really think it will add value, or let’s be open with ourselves, is it just because we like the idea of being an entrepreneur! (Come on, you can trust yourself ;) )Still if you think you want to, then I would suggest Do Not Look Back.

Name Counts: Something familiar or let’s say naming your product just because you were in a hurry won’t work. Avoid using generic words as far as possible. For e.g, if I open a social media agency, I personally will stay away from names starting with Social/ Blog. Why? Since there are already aplenty and I do not want to confuse my prospective clients.

Beta Version: In case of a technical product, are you planning on rolling out a Beta version? If not, then go for one and give it out to users and prospective influencers to try on. One advice - if you are still not confident about it, you can wait and so should the invite. The best beta version invite which I received was from Glitch. While these people were updating the game, they made it a point to keep us informed. Now, this is what I call the right approach. Even though, I am not a gamer but I still remember them! Need some help in managing the sign-ups and giving beta access to influential users? Would suggest you to use this tool

Pen Down the deliverables and Goals: Setup goals and a marketing timeline for things to get done. Even though working in a startup is one of the most dynamic industries to be in, you should never expect things to happen. Set metrics and goals and crush them each month.

An exhaustive Influencer/ Pitch list: How are you at mapping your influencers? Do you have an exhaustive list of journalists and bloggers who can help you out later? Have you even tried using ripples on Google+ which helps you to map influencers? Please remember, influencers outreach can be extremely helpful. It’s one of the single most important tactics almost any business should leverage. Also, just remember, the influencers are an amazing set of people, really helpful and forthright too.

Tips for Post Launch 

Monitor and respond to what people are saying. I did talk about listening and monitoring. You are a start-up so more than likely you don’t have an overwhelming number of mentions to read through. Still, it’s the best time to pay attention to keep up-to-date with feedback, comments and other issues people might be exhibiting in the social sphere. Also, it gives you an opportunity to realize, what you may be doing wrong. So, this makes it a win-win situation without having to take on board a mentor!

Content is king: Do not forget the importance of content. The person in-charge should be adept at modulating the content to pass on the right message. Also, the content manager should know what kind of language their target audience wants. Have a look at the difference between the content of MTV India from Capgemini India Careers!

We need to keep the buzz flowing with constant marketing efforts. (Now will be the right time to find the marketing timeline and content schedule which was formulated in the pre-launch stage.) If you don’t nail yourself down to it, you will find it very easy to get lazy with your efforts. Just a warning: you are still going to encounter situations where the requirements change, so you would need to rework the content over and over again.

Homebase Identity VS Social Media assets: I am a social media consultant and yes I still think paying more attention to your own website is imperative. I realize, that, we have to spend money to get the expected Target Audience/User base on to our social platforms. Unfortunately, on the way, we forget to take care of our own website! If you are doing so, it’s time to pull up your socks. 1) Use WordPress if you must - and the best part, it’s for free. 2) Try to create an awesome blog. People want a place to find info and you can create that place. 3) Since most of you here will be from the technical side, I would not even mention what and why SEO is important!

Before I press Ctrl +S and be done with this post, I would suggest you to think more on the following lines:

  • · What about Android, BlackBerry and iPhone apps?
  • · Think about utilizing videos. Remember, it allows you to convey your message in a literal sense that can strike a chord with audience. Hey, why not show the world how a startup actually works!
  • · Meetups/ TweetUps and yes Blogger Meets: If you do not have anything exciting or specific to share, you can also think about sponsoring such events
  • · Let’s get wild and promote but in a systematic way . Still no harm in having a method to losing one’s sanity though ;)

About the Author

A career which started by molding international associations to suit to Indian psyche, took a leap when the world’s biggest PR firm, Edelman offered her a job via Twitter. With an experience of handling multiple International Corporates, Shaakun realized the importance of what a single first hand interaction can do to create the right Brand Image.

Presently, Shaakun consults various startups and associations, along with being an active trainer in the field of Social Media and Traditional Media.

You can contact her via her Twitter handle @shaakunsethi or mail her at shknsethi@gmail.com