3.0 Release Campaign: Debrief
GNOME 3.0 was released on 6th April 2011. We ran a marketing campaign for the release. This page is a reflection on what worked and what we would do differently next time.
The press release was extremely successful. Its contents were reproduced in a large number of articles and news reports. The quotations were particularly effective and got a lot of attention. This is probably because they were well-written, substantial, and from well-chosen figures.
Talking Points & Press Contacts
We had a gnome-press-contacts alias that we used to receive questions from reporters and discuss responses. We also added our responses to the Talking Points page for later reuse. We responded to journalists ASAP, usually within minutes for the initial contact.
JasonClinton's GNOME 3 videos were a highlight of the campaign. Not only did they introduce the product in an extremely professional manner, but they also put a human face to the project. The videos received a high number of views, and were also embedded in external reviews and articles. And marketing folks subtitled the videos to enable accessibility and localization.
The large number of parties that were organised for the release made it much more of an event, and helped to involve many of GNOME's supporters. It was great to be able to talk about release events in the run up to and aftermath of the release.
What we didn't do
- Online events on release day. It would have been great to have organised something that our users could have participated in.
- Had release day banners that people could have put on their blogs and websites.
- Join Help A Reporter Out (HARO) months before the launch, build reporter database
- Target and build relationships with key journalists ahead of time
- Have a real press kit set up: press release, infographics, screencasts, photos of developers, potted history
- Include links to digital media in the press release
- Include numbers (such as lines of code) in the press release
- Put a long-term contact phone number on the press release
- Spread out the video-making effort over more people
- Track tasks in a more systematic way
- Prepare key developers as spokespeople and arrange interviews with press
- Build enough burst capacity into *.gnome.org and gnome3.org websites (sites got taken down by traffic on launch day)
- Ensure that press release URL from old site remained reachable on new site
- Update and clarify our talking points before the launch
- Run a rapid-response team to fight misinformation in blog, forum, Reddit comments
GNOME 3 articles and press
Some of the press received by the release: