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Christmas, Hannukah & Maximizing Your Launch Event Buzz

With only so many opportunities to make a splashy announcement, if you’re not Apple or Google you may not want to tell them everything all at once.

Last week was Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). It is one of several events each year where Apple takes center stage in the tech and business press world and tells everyone what’s coming. In a couple of hours, they announced more news items than a smaller company might announce during an entire year. They have new versions of operating systems, new programming languages, new features and on and on. In its buildup and its wake there have been hundreds of articles and thousands of tweets covering the wide array of news nuggets that Apple released upon the world.

Many of these announcements would have warranted their own event or announcement and press outreach, such as a completely brand new programming language for all of the Apple platforms. And many of the new features that were barely mentioned might, during a different, dedicated news cycle, have very well warranted their own set of breathless coverage.

Apple, a company constantly scrutinized and trying to stay out in front as THE innovators and curators of the user experience, is in a relatively unique position. Even a week later their announcement is generating additional coverage and analysis on tech sites such as TechCrunch. And in their case, if they leave something OUT of their announcement, that in itself becomes news.

But you probably don’t work for Apple and aren’t prepping slides for Google I/O. Your company probably doesn’t have a waiting list for press events or make it onto the front page when they release a new version of a product. Instead, you are clamoring to get any coverage you can and to maximize your opportunities.

Christmas vs. Hannukah

Every December, there is a dual dynamic in this country: Christmas and Hannukah. While there is no theological reason to compare these holidays, they usually fall close together and represent each faith’s holidays best known for presents. But the “implementation” of this gift giving varies significantly:

On Christmas morning, children typically bound downstairs from their bedrooms at first light and are met with overflowing stockings and a tree with a bunch of presents beneath it. They quickly move from one to the next, tearing off the wrapping paper, exclaiming their joy or disappointment and then moving on to the next item. Once the dust, ribbon and tape settles, you will usually find them concentrating on one gift. It is hopefully the gift their parents spent the most time and money on, but it also means there are all of those other items already playing second fiddle to the new doll or tablet or construction set. Some parent or other loved one spent time and money selecting, purchasing and wrapping ALL of those presents, but now most are being ignored.

During Hannukah, things play out a little differently. Each night, people usually receive just one gift. There might be one night’s gift that is the “main event” gift (see my 11-year-old’s iPhone), but on those other seven nights the other gifts take center stage. Although they might be just as neglected as a stocking stuffer on Night #6 of the holiday, at least for one 24-hour cycle it was in the spotlight.

Holding Back Your Inner Santa Claus

It is perfectly natural to want to go the Christmas route, giving out all of the goodies in one big go. But if you are trying to maximize the attention and coverage you’re going to receive, you might want to consider the Hannukah method of gift giving. You’re still going to have a main event, but you can spread out the wealth a bit by doing the following:

Pre-Announcing Some Features – There’s nothing wrong with a little news leak to whet their appetites, and it extends the buzz. It can also reserve the “wow, we didn’t expect that” reaction to a smaller number of items that you want to be the focus their attention.

Tailoring Announcements for Different Audiences – If you have different types of customers, different verticals, different stakholders, etc., think about how to reach them with different, tailored messages. CIOs and SysAdmins probably don’t travel in the same circles or get their news the same ways, so work each news outlet appropriately.

Leaving a Trail – You can tease some items during the main announcement, mentioning that you will be releasing whitepapers and holding webinars and trainings that will provide more details and an additional opportunity for exposure. This allows you to “check the box” to show that you haven’t ignored something important during a big announcement without using up all of your newsworthy content on the same day.

Leveraging Social Media – I think everyone has to say that these days, but think about how you can keep the conversation going by introducing pre- and post-event topics into the appropriate mediums, participating and eking out more nuggets (screenshots, partnership examples, etc.) over time.

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