May 24th, 2013
What’s the toughest part of putting together an online launch?
According to the survey I sent out to many of you a few months ago, you said you needed help creating your pre-launch content.
And I totally get it – because it’s one of those pieces in a typical product launch formula style launch where you think you need to do it a certain way.
You’ve been taught that your PLC needs to:
Tell your launch story
Give people results in advance
Build up to the sales page or sales video
And the thought of creating this content is often overwhelming and nearly paralyzing to someone who is launching for the first time.
You see the well shot videos, professional launch sites, thousands of people flocking and leaving their facebook comments.
And it’s not just the content itself but putting together the content, the backend setup, the emails, the “who” it should go to — It’s enough to make anyone give up on the whole process.
But I discovered something interesting on my last launch that I think you’re going to want to hear.
It’s not a quick fix and it will require you to put in the time, do the work, and still create that ramping up excitement for your launch, but it will NOT be by doing the typical pre-launch content.
Are you with me?
What is pre-launch content?
First – let’s go over what pre-launch content is by breaking it down.
Your pre-launch simply means a specific period of time before you open your sales cart where you focus in and start sharing a higher volume of messages about your coming soon offer!
Pre-launch content then can include any combination or formats of content from social media messages to videos, blog posts, emails, special events like tele-seminars.
Usually this content features a series of written, video, audio, or otherwise specially created content that gets people excited and ready to buy from you as soon as your product or offer is ready to “buy”.
A recent great example of pre-launch video content is Marie Forleo’s B-school. Go to that link and you’ll sign up for the program interest list.
Another example would be a series of emails written and sent from David Siteman Garland for his recent launch Create Awesome Products.
Another example is a contest Laura Simms recent launch and scholarship contest for her program:
Finally – even I did a month long series of blog posts that led to a webinar for my first launch of Fearless Launching (fearlesslaunching.com).
Why I Took A Different Approach (don’t laugh)
But for the 3rd round of Fearless Launching, I knew I had to do something different.
Nothing about doing a webinar, more blog posts, or even a contest was doing it for me.
For a hot minute – I thought I was going to do a google hangout… and I even dropped that idea like a hot potato the week before I intended to announce it.
Let me take a brief interlude here to tell you what was going on in other areas of my life – well, namely work.
I had recently told LKR that I planned to leave the company to pursue my business full time. I was working feverishly with Laura Roeder to make sure we found the right person, that everything I knew was downloaded, that the company continued to move along even though I had given notice.
I simply had no time to do anything fancy – like my trip to the Space Needle during the 2nd round of FL.
So – I asked myself… What if I don’t have pre launch content? What if I just use the content I’ve spent the last year hammering away at – all on the topic of launching? What if I leverage all the guest posting I’ve done?
So – perhaps a little lazy, perhaps a little unconventional (mostly lazy)… I decided to open the doors and then start re-releasing my best content. The work that I knew would help people make the right decision for joining Fearless Launching or not.
Bottom line: I made a choice to create absolutely NO special pre-launch content.
Here’s Why It Worked
Leverage existing blog posts
You’ve done the hard work of staying consistent, writing every single week – and you’ve proven to your audience that you know what you know. If creating even more content feels like overkill, it just might be!
In addition to hand-picking my own content to highlight during the pre-launch phase – I also use a plugin called Twitterly that allows me to adjust the frequency of automatic tweets. I cut down the number of posts through this tool and focused on more engagement style posts where I asked questions.
Guest post round up
So you’re post on problogger went live more than a month ago – link to it! Make sure people know that you were there – keep sharing it!
A full year of consistent monthly guest posting that I picked based on the success of those posts and the sites they were on. I was very careful to choose the highest traffic sites as well as posts I was proud of.
I scheduled social media sharing/newsletter mentions of these posts a few weeks before my early enrollment pricing ended to share some of the best posts. Even though I was sending people away from my site, a large number did come back.
One more piece to the puzzle that was intended but I wasn’t sure how it would all line up – I schedule some pretty sweet interviews and one summit that managed to go live before and during the launch. I made sure I included these in my “guest post round up” too!
Getting people to know you fast
By looking at all the content I’ve ever done over the past year, I was able to pull together the best examples of working with me – share it with people and bring new people up to speed fast.
Several people came into this round of Fearless Launching letting me know they’d heard me on a podcast the day before they'd signed up for the course! I thought that was so cool.
Do you need pre-launch content?
So I kind of tricked you a little.
You do need to release content before a launch. So – yes you do in fact need pre-launch content.
You need to make sure – people are able to get to know you, believe that you have the answer to their question, and believe that you will solve their problem.
You need to build trust.
You need to entertain.
Successful pre-launch content has the exact right mix of instruction and inspiration.
Before you use this strategy, ask yourself these questions!
Have you spent 6 months to a year developing content, sharing concepts, fully covering your topic or industry?
Do you have a somewhat established audience – even if it’s small – that comments, emails, and inquiries when you send new content out?
Have you done the work to be featured on many other sites – consistently?
Does your content tell enough of the story of your product or service or are there any holes in what you’ve published over the past year?
You don’t necessarily need a year of content to pull from – this was my criteria for choosing.
Leave your answers in the comments below or talk them out with a friend or business partner.
You may just find that your PLC is sitting in your back pocket, already created, looking for a little spotlight!