There are a gazillion different approaches to handling the press launch and along with that, as many different spend levels to go with it.  You might decide to fly a team of journalists/bloggers to the other side of the world to see the very field where the plant was grown and harvested.  You might have them turn left on the plane, stay in five-star luxury and provide the limousine to take them to and from the airport.  Or you might send a photocopy of the press release detailing the ins and outs of your product.  Which is better?   It depends..... What is critical though, is to make the journalists'/bloggers job as easy as possible.  Just imagine being inundated with sackfuls of mail and samples every day. Of course it has its upsides but all that information has to be assessed as being relevant for their core reader or follower.  Make sure you have an attention grabbing headline on your press release and provide all essential information like price, stockists, date available etc. In the run up to launching MERUMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare®, here is what I did to prepare for press... Set the date- it is frightening because at the time, so much could go wrong but a) you have to set a date and b) it can be helpful to have a finite date; a stake in the ground that all suppliers know they are working towards.

Press release or press launch- this depends on your budget, your contacts and the advice you get from your PR aids. I chose both. In the case of MERUMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare® launch, I had some contacts in the press but did not take that for granted as so many changes in editors have occurred since I was last in the corporate world.   Press launch with a printed press book and a press release for those key editors that were unable to attend.  If you are not doing a press event and sending a press release instead, think about presentation really carefully in terms of what will stand out in those sackfuls of mail.  Courier? Branded outer packaging/envelope? Release with product/gift? Follow up call a couple of days after sending it? There are no rules because each journalist responds in different ways to different things.  Be creative though and try not to be crushed if you get no response.

Writing the press release/book - I got the technical information on exactly how the active ingredients work on the skin, from the scientist I retained to help me decipher the 100+page dossiers supplied by each ingredient manufacturer.  I then wrote the press book myself, (despite that I was working with a PR agency) - all 18 Pages of it.  Because no-one knows my product better than me, the intentions and inspirations; no-one has my voice or my tone and to be perceived as genuine, it had to come from me directly.  A caveat is, if you are a hopeless writer, get someone else to do it but work closely with them. Bearing in mind that I wanted to make their jobs as easy as possible, I presented each product in three ways; in a sentence, in a paragraph and in more depth.  This allows the journalist/blogger to select the information they require based on the deadlines, space, position and anything else they have to consider that I am not aware of.

Printing - this can be very confusing.  Digital or litho? What should be the weight of the paper? Four colour, two colour, black and white? Special effects/colour? Loose leaf in a folder or bound?  In the end, I went four colour litho, heavier weight paper for luxury feel, bound for ease.  I worked with Cameron @mayfield and do recommend him but always get at least one other competitive quote.  Your local printer might be good. My local printer was OK in quality of work but not great at delivering on time... critical for work like this.

Venue for press launch - When I was in hospital I watched the West Wing series (all of it!) and was enamored with the press briefings that were held in the Whitehouse. In corporate life I remember clearly the huge lengths and expense to 'theme' the room, find the coolest and newest venue and since I do not have that kind of budget and the 'briefing' was in my mind, I asked three publishing houses if I could present to their magazines in their boardroom and all three said yes.  In addition, I did four sessions in a hotel in London (conveniently located).   I used four pull up banners that I bought on line and can be re-used so very cost-effective, the branded carrier bags, the branded press books and the presentation on the screen, for branding purposes. Think about refreshments, room set up, changeover time between sessions, who is checking people in, who is giving the goody bag at the end, collating the RSVP's, arranging 1:1 meetings for those journalists/bloggers who need it and any individual follow up for indvidual requests etc.

Presentation - I used PowerPoint and we had 33 slides in total. Start this well in advance because you will continue to perfect it right up until the last day. Consider branding the slides with a template; I always do.  I retained a world-renowned scientist to present with me for added credibility and understanding of how the ingredients work and how they have each been clinically tested.

Invitations - who do you invite? that depends on your contacts, budget, target audience, venue size, politics and so much more.




Research, ask around and consider, editors, journalists, bloggers publishers, influencers, makeup artists, celebrities, stylists, retailers etc. We had about 300 on the invite list and while 150+ RSVP'd yes, about 120 attended which is a good turnout; as good if not better, than any I had in the corporate world.  Whether it is hard copy or email, you will almost certainly have to keep chasing for answers on attendance even if you put an RSVP date on the invite. I did invitations by email.  Consider all the critical information as well as branding.

Goody bag - there has to be a take-away. In the case of MEURMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare®, it was clearly going to be the product and I included, Iconic Youth Serum™, Intensely Youthful Eye Cream™ and Melting Cleansing Balm™ and they were packaged in a branded carrier bag with brand coloured tissue paper with a ribbon tie to finish. If you are presenting a car or a huge item of extraordinarily high value, a small gift might be appropriate or a raffle that one attendee might win one of the items being launched if possible. One thing is for sure, unless you have bucket loads to spent on marketing and advertising, it is critical to find an effective way to let the journalists and bloggers in your sector know about your brand.

Lesson: Work with a printer that knows his stuff, is good at explaining options and will provide samples of all versions before you commit.

Lesson: assign someone to chase the RSVP's and it could be several contacts to the same person. Accept it; there is not much else to be done about it.  If you are the invitee please, respond to the invitation within the time frame.

Lesson: Prepare your presentation well in advance and keep re-visiting it to perfect it. Take it to the venue on 2 USB sticks as well as taking a lap top - just in case. You might also want a remote control for changing slides or mouse.

Lesson: Rehearse your presentation in front of the mirror dozens of times and at least once in the venue before you go live.

Lesson: Consider retaining an 'expert' in your field to present with you for added interest, credibility, knowledge.

Recommend: Give some thought to how you might want to retain the memory of the press launch as well as use it to enhance your communication socially and with regional events.  I had someone video two sessions and had my husby photograph all seven press launches.  If nothing else, I will look back one day and think about how it all started.  Here is the link to my five-minute edited press presentation. If you would like to comment, please do on the WordPress comments box (below the Face Book box) first and FB secondly, if you are able.  Thank you.

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