How-to: Build a product launch timeline


Launching a product normally results in plenty of gray hairs for everyone involved in the process.  That’s because launch time is always crunch time for engineers, copywriters, illustrators, and marketing folks.

That pressure can lead to a lackluster product launch for one simple fact: timing means everything for getting media attention for your product at launch time.

Why timing matters

Timing public relations activities can be deceptively difficult. Most people are shocked to hear that prepping for public relations around a product launch needs at least a MONTH’s time.  Why do you need so much time?  Let’s look at some of the things that need to be accomplished:

Writing press release(s)
Creating product images
Creating a media pitch
Creating a list of media contacts
Securing 3rd party quotes about your product
Pitching the press
Creating press presentations
Conducting interviews
Providing follow-up information to reporters

Of course, this is all in addition to the time it will take a reporter to write his/her own story about your awesome product after the interview.

The most important part of any product launch is choosing an announcement date.  It’s also one of the most challenging aspects of launching a product.  It will ultimately be determined by the product development process, but once you choose a date, it is crucial that you stick with it for public relations purposes.  That way, you can map back all public relations activities.

It’s a lot of work, especially if you’re going it alone.  Here’s a look at what a typical product launch timeline would look for a product that’s being launched on Halloween (Oct 31).

Week of Oct 3rd

  • Creating product messaging
  • Creating product images
  • Researching media contacts

Week of Oct 10th

  • Drafting a press release
  • Securing legal and executive approval on content
  • Securing 3rd party quotes (customers/analysts)
  • Creating media pitch

Week of Oct 17th

  • Pitching the press
  • Pitching analysts
  • Creating media presentation
  • Creating analyst presentation
  • Conducting media interviews

Week of Oct 24th

  • Conducting media interviews
  • Providing follow-up information to reporters
  • Prepping social media (Facebook/Twitter)
  • Reporters write their stories

Week of Oct 31

  • Tracking media coverage
  • Pushing social media
  • Managing inbound requests for information