I've got your back with this epic list of pre-launch content ideas

Pre-Launch. It's when things get real. It's also the most important phase of your entire launch sequence.

From the outside looking in, your pre-launch won’t seem that significant.

However, for you and your launch team, pre-launch = crunch time.

The better prepared you are and the more value you offer, the less people will peg you as being in “launch mode.”

Launch Sequence Revisited

Before I get carried away, let's go over what we know so far about a typical launch timeline.

Here's a handy-dandy image to help you visualize the launch sequence:

Typical Launch Sequence

In my last article, I covered the “teaser” period — those few weeks before pre-launch.

I outlined the best activities to concentrate on during that time — launch prep, making connections and, well, teasing.

Once the teaser period is up, pre-launch officially goes into effect.

Pre-launch is the time immediately before you release your product and start accepting orders, and generally lasts anywhere from 5 to 10 days.

It's where the rubber hits the road and all the planning and hard work you've done during the teaser period comes to life.

It’s Time

I once said that the teaser period is not the time to spill the beans on your upcoming launch? Now that you're in pre-launch phase, it's time to drop all subtlety and “go public!”

When you boil it down, pre-launch activities serves 2 main purposes:

  1. Gather leads (ideal buyers) to your launch interest email list;
  2. Create buzz about your upcoming launch.

The ultimate dream goal is having your pre-launch content “go viral”, naturally.

It's more likely to happen if you publish epic content so that:

  1. Ideal clients will enthusiastically join your list, stay, and voraciously consume said content;
  2. Leads and partners will actively share said content with others.

Once you've created your epic content, go full out, publishing it to all marketing channels possible, where your ideal prospects will see, consume and share.

Did She Just Say “Epic”?

Yes, I said it — EPIC content.

Content of epic proportions doesn't happen overnight (not for the vast majority of us).

That's why you want to create a content plan well in advance, and have as much pre-launch content as possible (if not all) ready and scheduled.

How do you make your content epic?

  • Use humour.
  • Include elements of surprise.
  • Be entertaining.
  • Be creative.
  • Be different.
  • Make it fun.

Thorn in Your Side

Content creation is where many entrepreneurs get hit with launchplegia (launch paralysis). They either give up or “modify” their launch plan (usually by cutting content).

To help prevent launchplegia, I've dedicated this article to pre-launch content.

You'll find a list of content ideas to help you plan your pre-launch campaign. (Check back often, I'll be adding to this list.)

Plan your pre-launch well in advance so you can implement a cohesive strategy Click To Tweet

Nothing New Here

Sorry, you won't find anything new here. My goal is to give you a list of ideas from which to create your pre-launch content plan.

Decide where you want to stretch yourself, what content types you want to avoid, and which time-honoured classics you want to stick with.

Caveat: The responsibility of creating epic content is entirely on you (or your team). This list is of no use if you’re going to create mediocre content. Just sayin'.

List of Content Ideas For Your Next Pre-Launch

The list is divided in four, based on the goals you want to achieve during your pre-launch campaign.

  1. Lead Gathering
  2. Buzzworthy
  3. Shameless Promo
  4. Responsive

Each type is explained below, as well as content ideas.

Prevent launch paralysis with this compilation of pre-launch content Click To Tweet

Take a pen and paper (or open an Evernote Note) to mark the ones you'd like to try.

1. Lead Gathering Content

IMNSVHO* this is THE most important area to focus on during pre-launch.

Lead gathering content serves to build your launch interest email list by requiring some form of opt-in, sign up or registration.

List-building content is offered for free or at very low cost (e.g., $1 trial) in exchange for contact information (usually an email address).

Here are some lead gathering content ideas to consider for your next pre-launch:

  • advance access (pre-release, beta test, review copy, etc.)
  • content upgrades (supporting or supplemental material)
  • chance to win (contest, limited giveaway, sweepstake, top prize, etc.)
  • dripped training (5-day challenge, email course, mini-lesson, tutorial, video series, etc.)
  • gifts (giveaway, prize, swag bag, etc.)
  • give your opinion (questionnaire, quiz, survey, test, etc.)
  • inner circle (loyalty program, limited edition, waitlist, etc.)
  • live training (webinar, teleconference, Skype, Zoom, etc.)
  • on-demand training (replay, audio recording, telesummit, online summit, etc.)
  • one-on-one time (discovery, free session, phone call, teleconference, Skype, Zoom, etc.)
  • printables (checklist, ebook, planner, poster, report, workbook, worksheet, etc.)
  • resources (links, list, report, swipe file, templates, whitepaper, etc.)
  • small taste (free chapter, trial, sample, etc.)

2. Buzzworthy Content

This type of content has, as it should, no (or low) “barrier to entry” — it's available to everyone at any time, without having to give anything in return (like an email address).

Buzzworthy content needs to be easily accessible, quickly consumed and deserving of mass shares.

Recall what I said above:
The ultimate dream goal is having your pre-launch content “go viral.”

The important part is the word I added at the end of that sentence:
Naturally.

You can't really predict what will go viral and what won't.

Increase your chances and include viral-worthy content in your pre-launch plan; Just don't try to force or manipulate it.

If it happens, it happens and you can ride the wave. If it doesn't, it doesn't and you can try again next time.

Think of your target audience and what they resonate most with. Create your buzzworthy content to rouse those deep feelings and be compelled to share.

If you want to take this further, click the toggle buttons (+) for a few brainstorming prompts.

Buzz-inducing elements

Which of these buzz-inducing elements resonates most with you and your target audience (or come up with your own):

  • exaggeration
  • limiting beliefs
  • opinions
  • polarity
  • puns
  • regrets
  • self-deprecation
  • shame
  • stereotypes
  • traditions
  • transparency
  • trending topics

Buzzable attributes

Which is most likely to be shared by your audience?

  • adorable
  • adventurous
  • annoying
  • arrogant
  • beautiful
  • bold
  • clean
  • clever
  • colorful
  • courageous
  • dark
  • defiant
  • direct
  • dynamic
  • feisty
  • glamorous
  • honest
  • humorous
  • intelligent
  • magical
  • mysterious
  • nasty
  • obnoxious
  • old-fashioned
  • patriotic
  • perceptive
  • positive
  • powerful
  • real
  • reflective
  • respectful
  • rich
  • sharp
  • spiritual
  • strange
  • stupid
  • unique
  • upbeat
  • witty
  • youthful
  • [insert your own powerful adjective here]

Here are some buzzworthy content ideas to consider for your next pre-launch:

  • collaboration (quotes or tips from others)
  • crowdfunding campaign
  • digital broadcast (online radio, podcast, etc.)
  • get social (social media posts, social media connections, hashtags, etc.)
  • go-to classics (blogging, case study, top 10 list, etc.)
  • guest appearances (blog interview, guest blog article, podcast interview, etc.)
  • how it's coming along (articles, picture, video, interview, screen share, etc.)
  • live streaming (Periscope, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, etc.)
  • name-dropping (before and after, celebrity endorsement, glowing review, selfie with ____, success story, etc.)
  • share the moment (hidden camera, makeover, unboxing, unveiling, etc.)
  • share-to-try (share first to get content)
  • sound bites (Adobe Spark, Clammr, Instagram stories, etc.)
  • traditional media (magazine, newspaper, press release, radio, TV, etc.)
  • worth a thousand words (funny picture, gif, infographic, meme, pull quote image, Slideshare, etc.)

Keep in mind that what makes content buzzworthy is less about the what, and more about the how.

3. Shameless Promo Content

This one's pretty straightforward. It's the content you publish to endorse, plug, advertize or pitch your product, usually leading directly to a sales page.

For this strategy to work, you’ll need a purchasing process or sales funnel in place.

Here are some shameless promo content ideas to consider for your next pre-launch:

  • come to my party (countdown, launch party, etc.)
  • digital advertising (banner ad, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, promo video, sponsorship, YouTube Ads, etc.)
  • don't take my word for it (endorsements, reviews, testimonials, etc.)
  • here's how to use my product (live demo, screenshots, tour, tutorial, walkthrough, etc.)
  • non-intrusive (author bio, author byline, chat group bios, email signature, product tagline, P.S. in newsletter, etc.)
  • say it loud and proud (networking intro, public speaking, webinar pitch, etc.)
  • social media (biz profile details, cover & header images, personal account details, product-specific accounts/pages, etc.)
  • traditional advertising (direct mail, flyers, mailers, posters, print, radio, TV, etc.)

4. Responsive Content

Last but not least is the content you publish to increase your KLT factor, credibility, visibility and authority.

Content which serves to initiate, renew and deepen connections is highly engaging. It helps to bring out your personality and human-ness. It makes people react and incites them to reach out.

Here are a few responsive content ideas to consider for your next pre-launch:

  • personal follow up (instant messaging, personal email, personal card or letter, phone call, texting, etc.)
  • automated follow up (email welcome sequence, heart-felt newsletter, etc.)
  • user groups (Facebook Group, Google+ Communities, etc.)
  • social media (engage, ask, answer, offer helpful advice, tag others, Twitter chats, etc.)
  • live stream support (attend & engage other's live stream)
  • blog support (read, comment and share other's blog posts)
  • [more to be added soon]

The main goals is to be as personal as possible. Cookie-cutter, templated, automated content doesn't work so well in this area (even automated email sequences need to be as personal as possible).

This is a high-touch approach, so you won't be able to spend too much pre-launch energy on responsive content. Even so, it's important enough to give it some attention and forethought.

Make time during the pre-launch phase to engage and nurture connections daily.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments what I missed, in which area so I can add it to the list. 

There you have it!

There it is! Your go-to list of pre-launch content ideas.

Of course there may be overlap from one category to another.

Notice how most ideas can be applied to a different area, even used across all four, depending on your pre-launch goals? (HINT: Those will give you the biggest bang for your buck!)

In the interest of time and readability, I tried to place just one type of content per category.

Get the biggest bang for your buck when you use one piece of pre-launch content to fill many roles! Click To Tweet

What Do I Do Now?

It's all well and good to have a list of pre-launch content ideas.

But what do you do with it?

Here are the steps I recommend you take.

Click the toggle buttons (+) to expand each point.

1. Choose Your Faves

If you haven’t already done so, mark all of your favorite content ideas.

Don't commit to anything right now, just pick the ones you like best.

2. Filter Them Through

Once you've come up with an initial list of pre-launch content, filter your results through the following questions to see which ones win out:

  • which of the four areas do you need to focus on most during your next pre-launch?
  • what are you launching? (a business, a service, a digital product, an online program, etc.)
  • what price range is your product? (low-end, high-end, luxury, etc.)
  • how long is the sales cycle for this launch? (short, average, long, etc.)
  • is this the first time you launch online, ever?
  • is this the first time you are launching this thing?
  • what pre-launch content do you already have?
  • where do your ideal prospects hang out?
  • how do your ideal prospects prefer to consume content?
  • how do you communicate most powerfully?
  • what pre-launch content will help you reach your launch goals?
  • what kind(s) of content are you (or your team) not ready, equipped or qualified to produce?
  • what is/are your go-to marketing/communication channel(s)?
  • how will you deliver the thing you're launching?
  • what is the most easily shareable content?

Which content ideas are still on your list?

Optional: Select at least one more in the area you need to focus on the most.

How do your selections fit in your launch timeline? Can you realistically implement this plan? Does it seem doable? Is it enough?

3. Get More Mileage

Now that you have your list of pre-launch content, think of ways to get the most mileage out of each piece of content your produce.

Can you repurpose one piece of content into another? Can you reuse some of your past content?

For example:

  1. Write an epic blog post about a specific problem you solve. Be sure to include lots of images and quotables. (Buzzworthy)
  2. Create a content upgrade to supplement or enhance your blog post. (Lead Generation)
  3. Later that week, start a Facebook Live stream to discuss your topic in more detail and answer questions. (Responsive)
  4. At the end of your broadcast, pitch your upcoming program. (Shameless Promo)

This is just one example. Your options are limited only by your imagination! Come up with a unique pre-launch plan that works for you.

Release dates for each piece of pre-launch content need to be added to your launch calendar.

Get the most mileage out of your pre-launch content by repurposing each piece you produce Click To Tweet

4. Get Crackin'

My business coach, Nadia Finer, likes to use this expression. I can hear her little voice in my head each time I read it.

And it's very fitting.

You can do all the launch planning in the world, but it'll get you nowhere unless you take action.

I've said it before: Content creation is the reason why most launches flop. 99.9% of the time it's caused by lack of advanced prep.

If you wait until the last minute to get your pre-launch content produced, you'll drown in overwhelm with all the other moving pieces that go into play during the pre-launch phase.

*cough* Tech *cough*

Use your launch calendar to reverse engineer your content creation strategy. Block off time in your schedule for brainstorming, completing a first draft, editing, designing, finalizing, testing and scheduling.

Content creation is the reason why most launches flop Click To Tweet

Pre-Launch Recap

Remember, pre-launch is a time to:

  • build your launch interest list (you don't want to aggravate your regular list with the barrage of launch emails)
  • create curiosity, anticipation, and interest for what's coming
  • improve keyword rank, so those who need what you're launching will find it
  • demonstrate social proof
  • promote media appearances
  • establish authority on your topic
  • increase KLT factor by being visible, consistent and approachable
  • interact, engage, connect with your community
  • apply scarcity principle (ethically) by rewarding fast action-takers (i.e., early bird)
  • test your purchase sequence before the cart opens

You may feel a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of possible options.

Remember to stay focused on which choices are the best fit for your strengths, resources, product and target clients.

Once your pre-launch content is figured out, it’s time to tackle the critical open cart/close cart strategy.

In the next article I’ll answer these common open/close cart email questions:

  • What emails do I send?
  • How many emails should I send?
  • Do I really need to send that many emails?
  • When should I send emails?
  • How do I avoid aggravating my email subscribers?

(Do you see a theme there?)

 

* In my not-so-very humble opinion

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Cristina Favreau, Launch Geek

Hi there! I’m Cristina Favreau (aka the Launch Geek), and I’m in the business of launching stuff online. I specialize in guiding “IndiePreneurs” through the stressful, overwhelming and confusing product launch phase—all the way from planning, to pre-launch, to closing the cart, and delivery. Ready to rock your next launch? Let me help!

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