There’s nothing better than a solid template, and what better company than Amazon.com to copy from when you’re a product-driven business? The other day on Quora, I read a response to a product development question by Ian McAllister, Senior Manager of Traffic at Amazon.com.
He writes, “We try to work backwards from the customer, rather than starting with an idea for a product and trying to bolt customers onto it. While working backwards can be applied to any specific product decision, using this approach is especially important when developing new products or features.”
When developing a new product, McAllister says that internal press releases are written and focused around the problem of the customer, explaining how the new product will “blow away existing solutions”. So what if a product manager writes a press release, and the benefits just aren’t there? It’s probably time to fix the product. “Iterating on a press release is a lot less expensive than iterating on the product itself (and quicker!),” says McAllister.
Thankfully, I was so excited to see that McAllister shared the press release template that Amazon’s product managers use when coming up with a thoughtful and inspiring press release for a new product. See if you can apply this to one of your own products:
- Heading – Name the product in a way the reader (i.e. your target customers) will understand.
- Sub-Heading – Describe who the market for the product is and what benefit they get. One sentence only underneath the title.
- Summary – Give a summary of the product and the benefit. Assume the reader will not read anything else so make this paragraph good.
- Problem – Describe the problem your product solves.
- Solution – Describe how your product elegantly solves the problem.
- Quote from You – A quote from a spokesperson in your company.
- How to Get Started – Describe how easy it is to get started.
- Customer Quote – Provide a quote from a hypothetical customer that describes how they experienced the benefit.
- Closing and Call to Action – Wrap it up and give pointers where the reader should go next.
A few more pointers from McAllister includes keeping the press release short and attaching a FAQ sheet if necessary. My favorite though, is his recommendation for staying away from jargon. “Imagine you’re sitting on Oprah’s couch and have just explained the product to her,” writes McAllister, “and then you listen as she explains it to her audience. That’s “Oprah-speak”, not “Geek-speak”.”