Launching a new project is overwhelming: You need to think about so many things at a time that most people get seriously stressed. I always do.
There’s no way to make a project launch easy. After all, the more you do prior and at the launch, the more chances your project has to succeed. So this guide is not about making your life easy. It aims at helping you organize your pre-launch content marketing activities so that you know what to expect and what other things to plan.
Content marketing strategy is one of the most important components of a digital launch. You need to plan your time and budget to be able to create all your content assets in time for your launch.
Here are some tips and steps:
Plan Your Content Marketing Assets (+Examples)
Here are a few ideas for you to start working on prior to launch:
Set up a Mini-Site to Sell Your Book
The easiest way to manage the reputation of your future project is to create a separate site for it. Everything else you do will be consolidated around that dedicated presence that you can control.
Setting up a site is not that hard these days. You can take the safest and the most popular route and have your mini-site run on WordPress which comes with most hosting packages as a one-click installation option. After that, it is mostly about choosing and customizing a theme and creating some initial content. You should be able to handle both in-house.
If you don’t have much to say about your project yet or you want its features to be a surprise, you can set up a lead generation form and publish your content later after the launch. This step requires no preparation: Simply search WordPress plugin repository for something like “Pre-launch page” and choose a plugin that fits your needs best. Here are great WordPress themes that let you easily create landing pages.
Things to do prior to launch:
- Find a good domain
- Set up a landing page to start collecting emails to announce your launch to
- Think about an easy referral program, e.g. promise earlier access to subscribers who’ll bring at least three friends to sign up!
Guest Post and Use That Author Bio
Guess what remains one of my greatest form of promotion and SEO? You guessed it, guest blogging. And I’m not the only one. This form of reaching audiences by forming mutually beneficial guest posting relationships has continued to be a boon for those who have something real to offer the masses.
Your author bio is a great place to talk about your future product, linking to a landing page to drive sign-ups. Don’t try to sell anything in the bio though: Let your content speak for the quality of what you are offering.
It’s the best idea to talk to all your editors in advance and make it clear that you are preparing for a launch and will be talking about your future project either in the bio or in the content itself. You’ll be surprised how many of those editors will want to help you and even offer more opportunities once they see you are totally honest with them and not trying to sneak in promotional links.
Being honest and authentic goes a long way when it comes to (guest blogging) relationships.
Things to do prior to launch:
- Identify blogs you’ll contribute to
- Connect to editors and discuss your launch and how you can use your columns without breaking any guest post policies
Podcast or Vlog About It
I, like so many others, see podcasts and videos as the media of the now, and the future. If you can get on one from another series or channel to promote (which is usually as simple as an email), do it.
You don’t have to be a well-known influencer to be interviewed: You just need to be an expert in something really specific (like launching, for example) to be able to tell your story.
Otherwise, consider starting your own podcast to promote this work, future works, and your brand. With the software out today, it is far simpler than you would expect. And it will become a valuable brand awareness driving channel over time too, so you’ll be able to grow your list and engage new influencers over and over again.
Things to do prior to launch:
- Identify podcasts and video channels you’d like to be interviewed for
- Find your unique angle you want to discuss
- Connect to podcasters and bloggers to offer your story to become their featured guest
Hold a Twitter Party
People still love Twitter, and if you promote a chat with your project as the center focus, they will attend.
After all, they are on Twitter anyway. Just give a week’s notice, and make the connecting hashtag easy to remember. Also get on a day before and link to a Tweet chat service that creates chatboxes out of hashtags; it will help followers who have never participated in a Twitter chat before to keep up.
Things to do prior to launch:
- Set up a date and time of your chat, find a good hashtag
- Connect to niche Twitter influencers and invite them to be featured guests to support your launch. It’s obvious that your best bet is to reach out to those influencers you already have some relationship first, so relationship building should come first.
Pre-Launch Content Marketing Checklist
Here is a list of essential tasks before you move forward with your launch.
- Adequately research your market. This seems like a no-brainer but you would be amazed by the number of founders who launch a startup or a product without a realistic view of the market. Some may not even have a firm grasp of their audience, which impacts every other step. Start with question research I was talking about previously.
- Create your tone and messaging. You want to know not only what you want to say, but also how you want to say it. The biggest factor in being successful here is using the information gathered from your comprehensive research to understand how your audience will respond to that message/tone.
- Make sure the right people know your messaging strategy. That means your marketing and sales teams, you stakeholders and anyone who is going to be a part of the promotional aspect, even in a less direct manner. Everyone should be on the same page and ready to work within that message framework.
- Put together a list of all potential launch activities from each stage, pre-, during and post. You want to follow by an organized schedule based off of your goals, and follow through on each one. Others working with you also need this reference.
- Create and gather all promotional, marketing and launching materials and get them ready. Whether they are social media posts, newsletters, drip campaigns, blog posts, etc, start scheduling them to make sure everything is in place.
- Do a last inventory. Go over all materials, do some last product testing, double check scheduling and get your whole team up to speed and on the same page.
Tools You’ll Need
Launching is overwhelming, here are a few tools you’ll need to get more organized and efficient:
This multi-functional business dashboard is your launching Swiss knife. You can use it to organize everything, from invoicing and customer support team to monitoring your growth and user sentiment. To put it simply. Cyfe allows you to use widgets to put together dashboards that will give you quick stats and access to more tools from a single place.
Here are a few widgets you’ll find useful for your launch:
- Twitter monitoring widget for tracking your project name mentions
- Zendesk highlights for keeping an eye on your customer support team
- Social media scheduling widget for scheduling tweets and Facebook updates announcing your launch activities
- Data Mashups widget to analyze impact on your growth and overlay different stats to spot important correlations
One of the most important steps to figure out at pre-launch is how to effectively collect and organize leads. These will form your initial userbase who’ll spread the word about your launch.
Salesmate is a great lead generation and management platform which I use for all sorts of tasks, including email list management and influencer outreach. It’s a great way to improve your sales team productivity too because it lets you see exactly which step of sales process each of your employees performs best at, so you can optimize the process and make sure everyone is at the right place.
Salesmate easily integrates with WordPress allowing you to:
- Capture leads from your WordPress website and organize them in your Salesmate dashboard
- Automate follow-ups to efficiently engage with those leads
- Assign tasks for different team members to do what they are best at
- Store the contact info and communication history with all of your leads
Launching Can Be Tricky, This List Can Help
Don’t leave yourself flailing in the dark come launch time. You need to be making that list and checking it twice before you go through with your digital product release.