Recently, I facilitated this activity with a client remotely and needed to find an alternative way to achieve the same results.
But First, the Purpose
A Future Press Release serves many purposes, but my favorite is the alignment that it builds amongst the team. At the end of it, we have a very structured format that allows us to talk about what the product is, why some decisions we made, and, most importantly, when the product launches.
The format is fun as well, as it becomes a unique artifact that feels “complete.” It is an idealized state of the product that, in all intents and purposes, is completely achievable.
Breaking Down the Exercise
A press release has a distinct writing style and cadence. It is a unique combination of “here is the information” and marketing “fluff.” But not everyone may be comfortable writing in that style.
Instead, I needed to find a way to gather all of the same information in a more accessible manner.
Because we were doing this remotely, we used Miro. But this can be done during an in-person meeting just as easily. The whiteboard walks the participants through, step by step, all of the information that would typically be found in a press release. Each participant works through each column writing sticky notes. Nothing has to be polished.
Parts of a Press Release
- What day did it launch? The first part of any press release is the release date. This is important since it sets a major milestone in place.
- What is the product called? Whether it is consumer-facing or not, giving a “brand” to a product or project gives it life.
- What pains are we targeting? We are building this product for a reason. Why are we doing it, and who does it help?
- Why did we make this product? This is the opportunity to talk about who the maker of the product is and what’s special about what we bring to the product.
- How do major features solve user pains? I strive for three unique features of the product and how they specifically solve the user pains that have been identified. This may be one area of the exercise where participants give wildly different answers, and that is okay. It is important to understand where different stakeholders see the value.
- What makes this product extraordinary? This is the opportunity to talk about why these features, combined with who made the product, solve the user pains in the absolute best way possible. It’s all about salesmanship here — be proud of what you are going to make!
- How can people get this product? Can it be downloaded from the app store, or is it available from major retailers? Talk about how people are going to buy or access the product.
Finishing Your Future Press Release
Give about 15 minutes to complete the exercise, and then have everyone share their thoughts. It’s best to let everyone present all of their cards in order before moving on to the next participant. Make note of the areas where answers vary a lot, as these will need the most alignment-setting throughout the project.