PR doesn't begin and end with a launch.
As a matter of fact, it is in between launches that media and analyst relations become much more critical. As I have said many times, PR is not a finite thing. It is an ongoing relationship building exercise where you build momentum so that when you have launches the media and analysts are more willing to speak with you. Think of you other PR activities as stepping stones or a map and launches are stops on the road. The quality of the trip is tied to the quality of the journey and the road you have paved. So when you don't have a launch, you can pave the way to a successful launch by doing a few other things.
- Revamp your media list - Expand your list to editors that write how-to's, feature stories, conference coverage and wrap ups. Also include your key verticals and find the people that go beyond writing product news to people that write evergreen stories. Reach out to them and offer introductions to your company.
- Write bylines - Many places take contributed articles. But there are three keys. 1. Are you talking about something their readers care about? 2. Are you saying something unique? 3. Is your topic timely? This is a great time to write about leadership, culture, business tactics, your opinions about the industry and answers to some of the tough questions around topics like open source, Apple and the FBI, women in tech and diversity. Your company has opinions. What are they? Give your company a personality.
- Customer case studies - Speaking with customers is the holy grail. Real world examples of people using your technology is what readers want to hear. They want to hear from real users not companies peddling products. Write the case studies, but before you post them, pitch them and see if the media (in your expanded list) are interested in speaking with your customers.
- Survey results - You have 1000 customers? 1M users? Ask them some questions. Tell a story about what is driving the adoption of your products by asking customers questions about their environment, experience, what their top priorities are, what keeps them up at night. Empirical evidence of a trend is something that is very hard to come by and with a well put together infographic and access to the original survey data you have something media-worthy - provided there is an ah ha moment in the the results.
- Meet with media at conferences - Conferences are great for both media and companies. This is captive audience time and a great chance for media to meet face to face with companies. Of course breaking company news is why they are there (as well as to spot trends and cover the event itself). They are in town! You are an attendee! Not exhibiting? Don't let that stop you. Book a quick coffee, lunch or dinner, share a beer at the evening happy hour event and give editors an update, sneak peek of your upcoming announcements or have an academic conversation on the conference and changes in the space.
- Bring in the influencers - Bring in the folks that know your space inside and out. They might not be journalists but they are bloggers, practitioners, even partners with a large voice in the community. Create a chance for them to meet with your teams, get a hands on lab and to ask you all the questions they have. Allow them to comment on your roadmap (under NDA of course) and get a real two-way conversation going.
- Promote your blogs - Got a great blog post? Before you slap it on your website to die, send it out to a few interested journalists. Give them the chance to ask you more questions, speak with customers and hear the meaty story behind your 300 words. Not every journalist cares about this stuff. So choose wisely and don't blow up their inbox (which is why I said to expand your media list first)
These are just an example of the things you can do. I didn't even get into the creative events or meeting with analysts. But my goal is to show you that there is more to PR than a product launch. And usually it is the stuff you do between the launch that makes them pick up the phone when you call for that launch.