Ship and ship often! That’s what we always say. We’ve seen too many startups holding back their product release and missing out on early feedback that could have saved them years and thousands of pounds.

While we believe in regular product releases, we’re also aware that for most companies, you only get one real shot at a press launch. Eric Ries, pioneer of the lean startup principle agrees…

“You never get a second chance to launch. Unlike a lot of other startup activities, PR is not one where you can try it, iterate, learn, and try again. It’s a one-way event, so you’d better get it right.”

So you’ve been working on your product a little while now. Perhaps you’ve even soft launched a couple versions. How do you know when you’re ready for press?

1. Your product works

A while ago, we wrote about Minimum Viable Products (MVPs). By creating and releasing the most minimal version of your product, you are able to test your market and decide how to grow and develop your business based on feedback from early adopters.

These early releases are invaluable when it comes to developing a product that your customers actually want. However, they are not the time to start seeking press.

Once your product launch has been covered by an editorial, it’s unlikely that editorial will cover any future launches of new versions. An unfavourable piece about your product now could seriously harm your chances of good PR in the future.

2. You’ve identified your niche

If you don’t know what makes your product different from your competitors’, you’re not ready to launch.

Soraya Darabi, Co-Founder of believes you need to know exactly what makes your product unique before you start seeking PR…

“It’s a noisy world out there. Make sure your product can stand out in a crowd, that it serves a need, and comes at a time when people are ready for it. ‘Done’ is no longer better than ‘perfect’, as the old tech adage states. You only launch once, and you must make it count.”

3. You know where your customers hang out

There’s no point going for a press launch if you don’t know who your customers are and where they hang out.

Jeff Raider, founder of shaving goods company Harry’s claims that launching his company in GQ magazine helped his brand gain credibility…

“We had sophisticated grooming editors test the product and having them speak to the benefits of the product was an incredibly strong early signal for the brand and gave us instant credibility in the eyes of early discerning customers.”

4. You know your business model

Your business model is probably going to change a lot in the early days of your startup but you want to really make sure know it before you launch.

Lean startup guru Eric Ries points out the importance of knowing your business model before you launch…

“If the product needs to be tweaked just a little bit in order to convert users into customers, you want to figure that out before the launch… And if your product doesn’t retain customers, what’s the point of driving a bunch of them to use it?”

5. You’re ready to scale

If all goes to plan, you’ll see an influx of new customers following your launch. If you’re not ready to scale to accommodate these new customers, your launch could cause massive damage to your company.

Joan Schneider and Julie Hall of PR company Schneider Associates, cite lack of preparation as the main cause of product launch failure.

In this article for Harvard Business Review, Schneider and Hall recall working with American Biophysics on the launch of their Mosquito Magnet mosquito trap. The product fast became a success and American Biophysics were required to expand manufacturing. When they started mass producing, quality dropped, customers were angry and sales plummeted. American Biophysics dropped from $70 million annual revenue to just $6 million.

How do you decide if you’re ready for a press launch?


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