Launching can be intimidating. A billion to do’s, a list a mile long, and endless deadlines. There’s no doubt about it it can be scary… but I actually think that people make it out to be worse than it really is. We build up launches in our head as the be all end all, when in reality, you’ve done much of the hard work in launching (or should have, at least!) even before launch week officially arrives! Over my years as a communications strategist & in my previous career at working in as a public relations person & social media strategist for an agency I’ve been a part of many a launch. And regardless of what you’re launching, there are 3 things I recommend making sure are always on your launch communications strategy.
And then work backwards from there. All too often people inquire with me to work together for coaching when they are only a couple weeks out from their launch. They want the final touches & to ensure all of their ducks are in row & their messaging is consistent. However, what happens when you’re 2 weeks out from a launch & start thinking about all of those elements? They don’t happen, that’s what. Instead of waiting until the last minute, start early (I recommend at least 3 months of official launch planning & strategy, but you can begin dreaming, teasing, & planning long before that!), and then start with the end in mind.
Plan out timing for key touchpoints & elements of your launch by working backwards from 1 week prior to your launch date. Aka: give yourself a week of wiggle room. You’ll need it. Whether things go awry, or you just are wrapping up final details, that wiggle room will help make sure you’re not pulling all nighters like your college days.
From there, with each touchpoint/element, break those down into approachable to do’s and assign each a deadline. I learned a long time ago from Reina of Reina + Co that if a to do can’t be finished in 30 minutes, it needs to be broken down further. In launching, this is key… or else you’ll get easily overwhelmed by to do’s like “create course” that could take a billion 30 minute chunks.
Remember the rule of writing essays in middle school? (woof, sorry I just reminded you of middle school. my deepest apologies, friend. that was wrong of me to do at such a time as this.) But… there was one good thing we gained from those dreaded years. And it applies to launch communications these days:
The essay breakdown (aka the pre-launch communications breakdown)
Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em
Tell ’em what you told ’em
As you’re working toward the end game, nurture your clients along the way. Drop hints about what’s to come, start serving as the expert in the field through education and content sharing, and even incorporate bits and pieces of your copy and visual storytelling into your strategy leading up to the big launch day.
Your goal? Build anticipation by teasing out what’s to come… and gauge reactions about what gets the most traction. Here is also where you can start asking questions about your launch topic & swiping the copy right from the mouths of your people to use in later launch & sales copy.
Regardless, the “Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em” stage gets people excited about what you’re sending their way, and also shows them that you’ve been thoughtful in your preparation and can provide them with exactly what they need. Once you tell ’em… make sure you tell ’em what you told ’em… which leads to:
Once you officially reach launch day – your sharing isn’t over. In fact, your relationship has only just begun. You have to consistently tell and sell. I mean we have the attention spans of goldfish so you have to… wait… what were we walking about again??
Oh riiiight: share, sell, storytell, add value, share more, more value, sell more, get over the awkwardness of self-promotion, more value, wine, value, stories.
Post-launch strategy is just as important as pre-launch. Don’t invite your people to the party, only to forget the booze and serve crummy appetizers you bought in the frozen section at BiLo. You have a captive audience you’ve been nurturing, so treat them like the special guests they are.
This is about the long-term relationship, so ensure your launch communications strategy includes details beyond your launch day. Plus, here is when to continue evaluating and reevaluating. Is your strategy working? Are people buying? What are your buyers saying? How can you improve? All of these questions can lead you to tweaking your strategy & connecting with your audience beyond launch day, getting more qualified leads, and getting profitable.
And remember, a no now doesn’t mean a no always… so make sure you’re nurturing the long-term relationship for people who can’t quite take the plunge yet on your product or service. They could be your best bets for your next launch once you apply all you learned from the results of your first launch!
Also, don’t forget to take some time to CELEBRATE the wins (and write down what went well so you can make use of it in the future!)
So there you have it, in all my days of launching organizations, companies, products, website, & services, those 3 tips are crucial to a successful launch communications strategy!
What are your top tips for preparing for a launch? How do you ensure your messaging is clear & doesn’t fall through the cracks? And that it ultimately helps you sell? I’d love to hear!
PS: a variation of this content was first shared in my newsletter in early 2017 right after the launch of Natalie Franke‘s new website I lead the communications/launch charge on. If you want to get access to all the best & most up to date content, make sure to hop on my newsletter & get your free Brand Voice Guide here!
And if you’re ready to sell whatever you’re launching, you might love this blog post on 6 Psychological Principles You Can Use to Influence & Sell.