On Wednesday, April 27th, I sat in on my first startup talk at the Bootup Garage. Dave Olson, Director of Marketing at Hootsuite, came in to do his third talk in a series aptly named Social Marketing Kung Fu (#smkf).
Dave is always a joy to listen to – I’ve seen him speak at a few different conferences – so I was eager to hear what he had to say in session number three: Social Marketing Kung Fu, Purple Belt – Release Day. His talks are always full of interesting tidbits and useful information, and this one was definitely no different.
I jotted down a few notes to share with you, but you can also find Dave’s notes on getting your Purple Belt here.
What to Release
Should be something substantial, or a few things bundled together and released around the same time.
Code names for product releases are always smart, as they’re memorable.
Know Your Coverers
Reach out to the media that you want to cover your story: RT them, comment on their stories, add them to twitter lists, etc.
Get to know them, and what they write about.
Personally invite them to join your media e-mail list.
When you send them info, make their life easy. Respect their time.
Spoon feed them the story, but never be condescending.
Take 3 important talking points, and craft them into different forms.
Tell them why your story matters!
Get quotes from your customers, not your CEO (unless it’s a special circumstance, where a quote from the CEO is appropriate).
Putting a boiler plate “About” section at the bottom of a press release is unnecessary and a waste of space. Link to your website/blog instead.
Tune your vocab. Make it active, not passive. Lose the buzz words, and keep your vocab as consistent as possible.
Include image(s) to support your story, so they use your image and not their own.
Line up Dominoes &/or House of Cards
Constantly keep your media kit up to date. If you have one page on your website, this should be it.
Thursday before the release: Send an internal memo to your team to share the master plan. Include your 3 main talking points, who you’re telling, and why it matters.
Monday 1PM: Local press release, & media preview e-mail. Include assets, like an infographic, if possible. Make them feel like they are getting the story first.
You can also send a preview e-mail to your key clients, to keep them in the loop, and ultimately, make them feel special.
Tuesday 5AM: Scheduled blog post. Make everything point here, so it answers any questions people may have. This way you are controlling the conversation.
Next comes Twitter & Facebook updates, a general e-mail to clients, and a wire release (with links, tags, etc.) Keep the Facebook update light and airy. You don’t want it to become your main feedback channel.
Tuesday 9AM: Make sure your dominoes have fallen into place! You can also update any LinkedIn groups, Forums, Q & A sites like Quora, Formspring, etc.
Tuesday 11AM: Optionally, you can host a webinar, an hour at most, to go over any details that go along with the release.
Schedule any interviews requested by the media.
Prepare for the haters
If you comment on articles right away and thank the author for sharing your story, you may prevent a good portion of negative comments, because they know you’re there listening.
Prepare some stock comment copy for the trolls, so that you don’t take their criticism personally.
Thursday: Send a News Round-up. Share your favourite coverage from the release. If someone has created a video tutorial on your product, make sure to include that. Don’t forget to trackback to those articles.