Always Be Launching: How to Pull off an Epic Launch With Continuous Momentum
Humor me for a sec: If you wrote a book, you wouldn’t let it sit and collect dust on your shelf and expect people to take notice when they visit.
You wouldn’t spend months planning an epic party, and then immediately forget about it the next day. Those memories would dominate Facebook and Insta for weeks to come. #tbt
You wouldn’t have a kid, let your friends and family know, then never mention it again. (Unless you’re Harry Potter’s aunt and uncle, who hid him away under a staircase.)
That’s a bit extreme, but you get my point:
Some things are worth not shutting up about.
But, for some reason, when we launch a new podcast, video series, community, campaign, you name it—we tend to shut up way too soon.
Anyone who has run any kind of launch knows: it’s a beast.
They’re so much more than a single day, week, or even a month. Eyeballs are endless but attention spans are short—if you want to grab hold of your audience, it’s going to take a holistic plan and clearly assigned action items that the whole team can execute on.
My proposition to you is this: launch never ends.
In the past two years, I’ve spearheaded some major launches: a podcast, an SKO, a community, an agency.
(I originally wrote “been part of”; Brooklin made me change it to “spearheaded.” He was there and saw what I did, so I’ll trust him over my imposter syndrome.)
Each one brought new learnings, but the essential factors behind each launch remained the same.
Here are my best tips and tricks to pull off an epic launch and create momentum that never stops.
It all starts with the ultimate launch blueprint 📝
Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m fairly positive you’re not building Rome—but this is BIG, ok? Launch blueprints aren’t built in a day either.
You should start creating your blueprint months in advance of your launch.
(I’m sorry or you’re welcome.)
Ideally, you have enough time to flesh out the pre-game. Building excitement before launch will help prime your audience for what’s to come.
Side note: I know things move really fast in startup land. By the time you’ve searched for this article, you might be a week out from launch trying to pull together last minute ideas.
If that’s you:
- It’s ok, you got this!
- Tuck this away for your next launch: it’s worth pushing back on a launch date to make sure there’s enough time to do it right.
While launch never ends, coming out of the gate strong with a solid plan is a special time—and you can’t get that back.
Pick your tool of choice and get a head start
Notebook, Google Doc, Notion, ClickUp—get “pen to paper” as quickly as you can and start brainstorming everything that will go into your launch.
It almost always starts in a Google Doc for me.
- What questions do I need to answer?
- What do I need to research?
- What choices do I need to make?
- Who do I need to talk to to make this successful?
- What am I dying to get started on, but isn’t a priority yet?
Anytime you have an idea, it’ll have a place to live. Document all of it, organize by category and priority, and your brain will thank you.
Here’s what Beam’s list looked like at the very beginning, 3 months before launch:
Docs quickly become limiting, though. You can’t arrange to-dos visually, create subtasks, add timelines, or assign things to teammates.
That’s why our list quickly made it’s way to ClickUp:
Now that you’ve started brainstorming and organizing your ideas into your tool of choice, it’s time to start getting as specific as possible. The real work begins with adding your pre-launch plan to the blueprint.
Build excitement with a creative pre-launch plan
Launch begins long before launch day.
You could come out of the woodwork with your launch, but you’d be missing a unique opportunity to connect with your audience: Give them the “inside scoop” into what you’re working on, let them be excited with you, and have some fun in the process.
If you’ve let your audience in, they’ll understand the context behind your launch and feel personally invested because they were watching every step of the way.
Here’s some ideas to pull off the pre-launch:
Document in public
Be transparent on social media about what you’re working on that week, what you’re most excited about, or what challenges you faced. Even the smallest updates may be enlightening or relatable for your audience.
Create a relevant mini-series
I launched a podcast last summer. Launching a podcast is no small feat, but you don’t have to wait until it’s live to start evangelizing the concept.
To build excitement and give people a taste of what was to come, we set up some interviews on the topic and trickled out the video content across all of our channels (blog, newsletter, YouTube, social).
Get everyone involved to help you promote (and gamify it)
If you’re launching a big event, there’s going to be a lot of folks involved—both speakers and attendees. Having them endorse and get excited about your event on social media will rally more folks than you could ever muster alone. FOMO is a real thing!
Here’s a play to get speakers to promote:
- Ask your speakers to make a short video for you. Make it as easy as possible—give them a script and some ideas for making their video creative (like kicking it off with a silly move or wearing a costume).
- Edit their video and send it back to them so they can promote with something they invested their own time into.
- Compile everything together into a fun teaser video.
- Mix in some competition, too. Add everyone’s posts and the number of engagements to a visible spreadsheet leaderboard. (I recommend working with a virtual assistant on this.) Email all of the speakers updates about who’s moving up on the leaderboard so they’re incentivized to keep spreading the love!
Make use of every channel
Think through all of your channels and how you can use them to spread the word about your upcoming launch.
- Got a webinar? Announce your launch at the beginning and end of every webinar and throw in a couple giveaways too.
- Got a newsletter? Add a recurring segment to your newsletter to talk about launch (it helps if you’ve got new content to point to, like the video series mentioned above or a social post screenshot).
- Got a podcast? Write up a short script for your host to read post-intro or mid-roll.
- Got influencers? Reach out to your internal folks with big followings to make sure they’re talking to their network (through their social channels, newsletter, etc).
- Got a team? Don’t forget internal hype! Consider setting up a slack channel to communicate about everything related to launch.
Now that we’re over 1k words deep, let's talk about launch day itself.
Create your launch day checklist
You know the moments: You don’t get all of your assets back in time from the agency, or the server gets overloaded and the site crashes, or you simply have to fix all the typos that suddenly appear when something goes public.
Prepare all you want; launch day is still chaotic.
You’re pulled in a million different directions and you barely have time to communicate with your team about what they need to do, let alone give any attention to that scheduled email send or the posts going out on every social channel.
Creating a launch day checklist and communicating needs to everyone involved in the days before launch will help bring some zen to the chaos.
Consider adding these items to your launch checklist!
- Send a prepared to-do list to your team so that everyone knows the game plan.
- Do a LinkedIn takeover. It’s helpful to have a list of people you’re going to involve and the messages drafted ahead of launch day.
- Set your outreach plan into motion. Decide who you’ll reach out to in your network (clients, a shortlist of colleagues, 1st degree connections on LinkedIn) and have messages drafted. Again, working with a VA on this task is a big help!
- Schedule a LinkedIn event for the launch and have each of your teammates invite 50+ connections to attend.
- Schedule relevant blogs to go live on launch day.
- Schedule all social media posts to go live on a scheduling app, like Hootsuite.
- Consider live tweeting throughout the day.
- Be prepared to engage with comments and all social love throughout the day. First impressions matter!
- Share your launch in relevant forums, groups, and communities. Have these chosen with messages drafted!
- Make a shortlist of newsletters that can help support your launch. Reach out and prepare the assets in advance.
- Host a launch happy hour! You and the team have done a lot of work to get to this point, don’t forget to celebrate.
- Schedule a post-mortem. Discuss what worked and what didn’t, share your fav moments, and land on how you’ll make the next launch even more epic-er.
Don’t stop, never stop
Sing it with me: This is the launch that never ends.
Oftentimes we get so wrapped up in launch day and launch week that we forget to plan for the weeks and months to come.
For starters, write these 3 reminders down on a sticky note, your hand, your forehead, wherever:
1. Your social following is ever-growing and each post only reaches a small percentage of that following. You WILL reach new eyes with every. single. post.
2. People don’t know who you are, what you’re about, or what you launched. Period. You cannot evangelize something too much.
(How long do you think it took Josh Braun to become a renowned LinkedIn voice on better sales conversations, or Morgan Ingram on modern prospecting techniques? If you don't know those folks, well, point proven. Also, follow them.)
3. Your own team doesn’t even understand. If you come from a company that has a couple hundred people or more, then I can 100% guarantee it.
Oh, we have a podcast?
Wait, we have a community?
What’s this newsletter you speak of?
Said everyone, everywhere.
Don’t forget to champion your newly-launched-whatever internally, and OFTEN.
Now that we’re in the same frame of mind, how do we actually keep the momentum going? You should use the same strategies that helped you create a successful launch on an ongoing basis, plus some other stuff I’ll suggest below.
For the sake of simpler language, let’s pretend you launched a podcast. (But know that these tactics can be used for most any kind of launch.)
- Prepare your content strategy post-launch. Every episode can be uploaded to YouTube, written up as an article, and chopped up and shared on social. Document this cadence and who owns which piece.
- Create a doc template for sharing assets. The doc will contain every asset associated with a given episode. Then share the doc with everyone—literally everyone (hosts, guests, team, super fans, etc).
- Enable your team to share updates. Create a Slack channel with your raving internal fans. Give them ammo (see above ☝️) to share every episode.
- Don’t forget about new employees. Consider adding the podcast to onboarding materials so that everyone is involved from the start.
- Feature your podcast on the website. Ideally you can wrangle a front page spot that's not buried in a hamburger menu under a million other links.
- Get featured on top roundup lists. Source relevant lists, the associated author/editor/Head of Content, and reach out via email and LinkedIn.
- Make a splash with something special every quarter. Think of new ways to get people excited: a roundup episode of greatest moments, a themed episode, a new segment (doesn’t matter if you never do it again—experimentation and novelty is the name of the game).
- Make a big deal out of every milestone. Hit 10 episodes? Hit 1k total listeners? Each episode is getting 500+ listens? You’ve got 50 reviews? Celebrate every step with the team to keep them excited.
- Add swag, giveaways, and anything to delight. You don’t need much of a reason. Take advantage of holidays, special moments you see on social media, or send a coffee to every person who leaves a review just ‘cause.
- Don’t be afraid to announce it like it’s brand new. Get back to the basics and re-announce your show so that new folks better understand what you’re up to!
- Meet regularly to discuss improvements. Get back to your purpose (and why people love the show), review the analytics to-date and talk about what efforts impacted the numbers, identify opportunities for growth, and finally, prioritize and document the path forward so everyone is on the same page.
Bonus: Document the learnings and the love 🕵️♀️
Screenshots are your best friend.
They capture the moments that will inevitably get lost in free Slack feeds or endless social media notifications. They’ll remind you what you’ve learned and show progress through time.
That’s why we’ve got #screenshotsonscreenshots of every fun message, side note, tidbit, discovery, all of the above:
Don’t forget to bottle up all the love, too— it will give you a pool of UGC to use on social media and keep the launch vibes going.
If you want to catch the unfiltered thoughts and emotions of launch, you might even consider getting the team on video. Prompt them with questions like:
- What was the most challenging part of launch?
- What was the most fun part leading up to launch?
- What’s one thing you learned or an area where you’ve seen yourself grow?
It’s a fun time for the team to reflect and can make for good social content, too.
Remember that launch never ends ∞
Whatever you do, don’t shut up about your launch.
Just like the book that deserves to be talked about and the wizard who deserves to see the light of day, your launch deserves attention long after “launch.”
Keep the momentum going with great content and creative experiments.
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth promoting forever-and-ever-amen.