It's not your father's PR anymore. Start up & Web 2.0 launches:
1) Interactive press kit - Beside hard copy needs online elements . ie ; Corporate Blog/s
2)YouTube videos both product demo & viral / fun campaigns (*think Superbowl ads on a start up budget).
3) PR Blitz to industry/product specific bloggers (*must be done prior to general press)
4) Podcast from both a corporate & product perspective
5) Website SEM/SEO
6) Launch via high visibility events ie- Demo / Showstoppers / etc
7) Gotta have a widget and ties to social networks when possible
8) Share functionality for viral effect
9) Beta launch invites need be limited at first ala google email launch
**Updated in response to a question someone asked on whether PR should be run in or outside:
I have dealt with, and there are many agencies that will work with you on a "per hit" pricing scheme. I do not recommend this however and I am a big believer that you get what you pay for. PR is NOT and should not be practiced how it was even ten years ago (though it is not that far off).
You can get a very competent PR (outside) team for as little as $5-$6k per month. To be done properly however, I would strongly suggest that they be managed by someone in house. This is for a few different reasons. No one will know your product as well as you do, nor will they be able to pitch your product with the passion you will have. An outside agency should be used for their contacts and introductions... Most of the time saying only what they need to walk you in.
Another reason it is important to manage this resource internally is that if you let them simply run loose, they do not necessarily know your needs/what's available outside of basic media contacts. For example, when I managed PR for a consumer software company, not only were media hits (newspaper,wire,Tv,radio,blog) important - but equally important was getting the company in front of, and entered into different "award" offerings (download.com Best Software of the Year, Crunchies, SIA awards,etc). Regarding an outside agency working 100% on a per hit basis only, I would turn the question back on you... As a sales person do you work for 100% commission only, or do you (as most) have a salary, benefits as well as a *bonus* kicker commission?