How Dell Launches Products on Direct2Dell

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Dell being a product company, it kinda makes sense that some of our most popular blog posts are the ones where we share details on upcoming products. A few years ago, after we launched several Dell blogs after Direct2Dell, many readers complained that it was too difficult to find blog posts about our new products. In response, we made the decision to centralize all product launch posts here on Direct2Dell. No matter if we’re talking about a desktop or laptop designed for home users or a new server and storage products we introduced last week at Dell Storage Forum in Boston, if we’re making it official and sharing details the first time, you can find posts about it here.

Beyond clarifying the blog product launch strategy, I thought it might make sense to outline more of the process here in advance of additional launches we’ve got coming near-term, and as we prepare for more complex topics like Windows 8 down the road.

Since the early days of Direct2Dell, it was always my goal to produce product launch posts that provided a deeper insight than what we provide in traditional vehicles like press releases or elsewhere on Dell.com. That’s still the case today. Most times this means for important products that we’ll feature a mix of text, images and videos to hopefully give you a good idea of who the product is meant for, a clear understanding of the best features and insight into what those features mean to you as a user.

To make these posts a bit easier to find, we’ve done a couple of things:

  • We highlight these product launch posts in the Featured section of Direct2Dell. 
  • We group them by high-level categories to help you find what product types are most important to you more easily.

The Featured section of Direct2Dell is the section that highlights four posts above the main post area that you see in the middle of the page on Direct2Dell. Featuring a post means that post will be more prominently visible as we continue to publish other types of posts on Direct2Dell. You can subscribe to the Featured Posts RSS feed via that link.The high-level categories I mentioned in point #2 are: Desktops and PCs, Laptops and Mobile Devices, Servers and Storage. Clicking on those categories will show you the latest posts related to that category. You can also subscribe to RSS feeds for any of those respective topics.

Beyond this, we’ve started to group launch posts where it makes sense. As a recent example, I’ve tagged all Ivy Bridge-related product posts with #IvyBridge. Clicking on that link will show you all Ivy Bridge-related posts on Direct2Dell. Beyond that, I made John Blain’s heads up post a centralized place to list all Ivy Bridge-related product posts shortly after they are posted.

Beyond working to write insightful blog posts, it’s clear that product images are important when you’re thinking about buying a new machine. Starting with the XPS 13 Ultrabook, we’ve been posting albums of new product images in the Photo Section of Dell’s Google+ page. We did it for a couple of reasons: 1) by making all product albums Public, any person with basic Internet access can view the images 2) we liked the way Google+ shows off images that are part of a collective album. In these albums, we try to include decent size images that will clearly show off elements of a system. We try to include close-up shots of ports on the sides of our laptops so you can see details like which ports are USB ports, video output ports on laptops, interior shots of open desktops, etc. so that you can get a good sense for the kind of expandability options a machine has to offer. For more examples, take a look at albums like the Latitude business laptops, the new Dell Precision workstation tower systems, the XPS One 27 All-in-One desktop and more.

Here’s an example of one of the XPS 8500 desktop pictures:

Dell XPS 8500 desktop with side panel removed

One other thing regarding these product images that we post on Google+… we hope that you use them in your posts. Everyone from sites like The Verge, Engadget, CNET or Crave that typically posts their own to the vocal and awesome group of customers and enthusiasts on NotebookReview.com, or those of you who blog about a product after you become a customer. We definitely still expect all of you to post your own pictures if you have one of these units in your hands, but when you don't, I hope you'll look on our Google+ page photo section. All we ask is that you either link to a specific image, or the whole album itself with a simple attribution to Dell (images from Dell, courtesy of Dell, etc.).

As many of you know, I’ve been a Dell employee for a number of years. Like I mentioned in a blog post last week, I think we’re shipping the best professional workstations we’ve ever built. The new XPS machines machines are top notch and there’s more coming. We’ll work to answer your questions regarding any new system we blog about in other places as well, so if you have a question on our Google+ page ask us there, or on on @Dell or @Direct2Dell Twitter, one of Dell’s Facebook pages or our LinkedIn groups  or of course in the comments of a given blog post. If you've got ideas on how to make an existing (or a future product) better, we welcome that kind of feedback on IdeaStorm. Beyond that, we’ll be listening for your questions or concerns in other places around the web soon after we make a product official and perhaps more importantly, after you have that new product in your hands long enough to know what you like about it or what you think needs to be improved.

If you have an opinion on how we can make a product launch approach better on Direct2Dell, would welcome your comments here or via @LionelatDell on Twitter.

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