Best Practices for Your Next Content Launch
3, 2, 1... Liftoff! How to Plan for an Awesome Content Launch
Before a content launch, it is useful to have a system or checklist to make sure people know your new product exists and engages with it. This is a critical part of tour content's early success. This system is more than a tweet or a release—it is a holistic approach to all of it.
Here is my system for a successful content launch…
Know your message.
Whether you are launching a business or a product you need to know what you are trying to say.
Write a release.
Yes, press releases are old school, but they are easy to write and will help define your message early on. This can also help get you press if done right. The key here is to focus on some quotes from you and opinion leaders about why this content launch is important. You can always refine this as you define your audience, but it is good exercise.
Create personas to define your audiences.
Who are the folks you are trying to reach? What makes them tick? How will you get to them? If you can answer these questions, you are on the right track to an awesome content launch!
Reach out to your audience.
Once you have defined the audience, start outreach. What would your audience like to see at your launch? What will get them there? What have other people done in the past that have been successful?
Find media that fits your audience.
Specialty media is a big deal. From bloggers and podcasters to old-line print publications, they all have a role. Find out who covers the space you are interested in.
Build an engagement list.
Who will you talk to about the event? What is the timing?
Engage the media.
Having a press release around your event is a fine start, but it is not enough. Once you define your product, reach out to your media contacts. Have a pitch down about why they should cover you. Know what makes your event special and let them know. Just because they don't cover your release does not mean you fan get coverage from them. Maybe they will interview you or let you submit a piece of content.
Engage your super fans.
Tell your super fans about your event to get them talking and excited. Also, figure out what role your super fans will play. Will they come to the event? Endorse the project on LinkedIn? Write a forward to your ebook? List out who will do what.
Influentials have a significant impact on a launch. There are a small number of people in your network who hold significant influence on the rest of your network. Use social listening tools to identify them and reach out to them early.
Social media is great. It can help you build an audience and create lasting reach by connecting you with new folks, but a panacea it is not.
For one of our most successful content launches, especially for ebooks, four people from my team and I each wrote a guest blog post about a topic related to the ebook. In addition to supporting the book with related content, each book also had a link to the ebook. By planning ahead, we were able to get it done without a big lift. We got five solid back links and some nice contacts and long-term traffic from the posts.
Create other media content.
Don't just blog. Hey, we love the written word but now that you have written it turn that content into video or an infographic. All of these materials can be used in the event the infographic could be a cool flyer you hand out the video could be played at the event. Both could be used long after.
Get your website ready.
Set your site up to engage and convert if folks come to find out about your content launch. Make sure you have a specific place and info to connect with.
Don’t forget email.
Email is boring but incredibly effective. An email strategy done right can be your most effective tool for engagement and conversions around your content launch. One email is not enough—you will need at least three.
An intro email, a follow-up email after your launch and a welcome email if folks sign up.
Have a content launch calendar.
A calendar around the launch is critical to making sure everything gets done on time.
Have a checklist.
Take all your steps and write it out in order and define who owns the task.
Paid ads are an option.
With social and targeted digital, a paid ad to a custom audience on Facebook or an ad in a specialty digital publication could get you further engagement look at the cost but a digital ad strategy you do yourself can be done cheaply.
Hire help if you need it.
Decide if you need PR help or advertising help, but do it early. The closer you hire to your launch the less time the pros will have to help you.
Have an event.
Everyone likes a good party, but sometimes throwing a party overshadow the other steps. A content launch party is a must for many but make sure you have built-in follow-up and engagement into the party.
- Have a theme for the party beyond the product. What are they thinking about what connects them? Make the theme about them, not you.
- Invite the right people and call/text the ones you want to come. Follow-up is key.
- Have a social media strategy around the party. There is a lot you can do with social around an event. Have a hashtag, use different channels, put the video on Instagram, live stream from Facebook, create a Snapchat filter. Make sure you use channels that work for your audience. If your average guest over 60, a Snapchat filter may not be needed.
- Make sure you get folks to sign up for a demo at the party. This is your collection point when people walk in the door ask if they want a demo. Make sure it is written down I have seen folks get an email at the event that lets them pick their time for their demo right there. Get it done as quickly as you can, and then on to the party!
- Collect content from the party. If folks love your product and want to sing its praises make sure you have a system to collect the comments. Be careful: this can come off as heavy-handed if done wrong, but if done right it can give you content for years.
- Create a giveaway. Give away something fun at the party. What will get people there and keep them there? You are already spending money, so make sure you have a draw.
- Make sure you say something. Have you been to an event where a founder spends thousands of dollars on an event and then seems surprised when they have to say something? It is your mic—you own it. Use it. (Then take what you said and put it in a blog post and post the video on YouTube.)
Plan your follow up.
In the words of Yogi Berra, it’s not over till it’s over. You can keep pushing out info, setting up demos doing interviews on your launch for weeks after the event. Content guest posts, thank you notes, demos all need to happen after the launch. The more you plan this, the more successful your launch will be.
And then? Repeat it all for your next launch.