You’ve set your launch date. Your landing page is up, you’ve chosen your email service provider, and you’ve created the perfect opt-in offer. You’re working on driving high-converting traffic to your website. And that’s all you have to do, right? You’re so busy doing these things that you can’t imagine piling more on your plate. But you might be surprised that you’ll be busier before your launch than after. And what you’ve done so far is just the very important tip of the iceberg. There are a few things that you should be doing every day to build up to an amazing launch:
- Start creating content
- Build valuable connections with industry leaders
- Make it your job to learn.
Everything You Need to Know About Pre-Launch ContentIf you’re starting a blog, you’ve probably wondered how many posts you should launch with. You may have heard advice that you should have 3-6 months worth of content ready to go before launch day. But that’s not logical. While you should be writing every day leading up to your launch day, but you must accept that a lot of what you write won’t be publishable. After all, you won’t know what to write until you start building your audience. Your audience will tell you what they want to read, what they’re struggling with and what they’re interested in. Writing content for a non-existent audience is like trying to build a curriculum when you don’t know what grade the kids are in or what subject you’re teaching. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still write.
Why You Must Write Every Day as a BeginnerAll of the blogging greats write every single day. Jeff Goins began by writing 500 words every day. Leo Babauta encourages his readers to write every day. Chris Guillebeau wrote 1000 words each day, six days a week. Jon Morrow has said he writes at least 1,000 words each day. These bloggers are some of the most successful out there, and they all have this one thing in common. Want to launch a successful business or career through your blog or website? Follow suit. Writing every day will also help you:
- Establish a writing habit
- Develop your ideas around your blog post topics
- Improve your writing
- Improve your writing speed.
How to Figure Out a Publishing ScheduleAfter you get into the habit of writing, set a publishing schedule. Here are a few words of caution with a publishing schedule:
- Fewer posts but better content is more powerful
- Don’t over commit. Three posts each week can be unsustainable. A blog post takes anywhere from three to twelve hours for me to write on Unsettle, to make it worth publishing
- Consider how much time your audience has to read your work. Most people cant afford the time to read more than two super-helpful posts per week. If you want the reader to take the information away and implement it in their lives, one per week or every other week is sufficient
- No matter what, you must stick to the schedule you committed to. You can always increase the amount of content if you find yourself managing your time well.
- Remember that you need to be guest posting as well in this period. If you’re not guest posting, you’re leaving hundreds of subscribers and visitors on the table. Guest posting is demanding.
How Much Content You Should Launch WithThis is likely what you thought I’d be talking about in this section. But to be honest, this is less important than creating a writing habit and sticking to a publishing schedule. I’ve read an absurd amount of opinion pieces about launch content, but here is what worked for me: Launch with anywhere from 3-5 posts already published on the blog. Wondering what type of content to write about? Here’s what I suggest:
- Post #1: An introductory post that outlines exactly what the blog is about, what to expect, and a bit about you. It should be different from your “about” page, but can contain the same elements. My intro post was called What is Unsettle and Why Should You Care? and briefly explains what to expect from reading Unsettle and why it might be relevant to you.
- Post #2: If you’re following the launch framework I set out in the previous posts of this series (Part one, Part two) you should be gaining email subscribers regularly. Ask your list before you launch (even if you only have 10 people on your list) what they’re struggling with. What do they want to know about your topic? Then, spend some time creating one very detailed resource guide around those topics for your launch.
- Post #3: This is your launch post. Your launch post is going to be the most useful post you write – a super helpful resource for your audience – which is meant to draw people in and get them engaged. If you see one question or a common struggle come up time and time again from your audience about your topic, spend 10+ hours creating an awesome resource for them to solve that problem.
Building Crucial Connections With Thought LeadersRelationships are the most important thing for your success. This is true in business, in life, and especially online. Every single success story you see comes from relationships. Not only do you learn from those crucial relationships with people, but having a few key relationships will throttle you forward. Those relationships – particularly with influencers or up-and-comers – will lead to them linking to you, sharing your stuff with their audience, which will increase your impact. So it’s very crucial that, before you launch your site, you build those relationships with people who are in the same industry. Find people in your niche and build relationships with them. Be genuine and only build relationships with people you seriously want relationships with. People can smell fake people a mile away. You may not be able to build relationships with A-listers right away. They are busy and have dozens of people clamoring for their attention. Start by building relationships with the up-and-comers, and your peers. People who are a few steps ahead of you.
How to Build Relationships with People Who Seem UntouchableSo how do you go about building relationships with people who seem out-of-reach? Maybe they have a super popular blog and seem too busy to chat. Maybe you’ve reached out to them before and never heard back. As Jeff Goins told me during our interview for The Unsettle Podcast, sometimes “influencers” are more approachable than you think. Here are a few ways to cut through the noise and start building those crucial relationships:
- Offer your help. If you have a unique skill, offer your services for free. Don’t put the pressure on them to tell you how you can help them. That’s just putting more work on them and they aren’t likely to take you up on it. Go to them with a service. If you’re a graphic designer and you notice their blog posts don’t have custom images, offer to make them a few custom images. Or, better yet, make them without asking and send them over.
- Be appreciative. Chances are you want to build a relationship with them because you like them and admire their work. They’ve probably helped you in some way through their content.Everybody loves hearing that what they’re doing is making an impact. Write a nice thank you email. Better yet, mail it to them! People love snail mail.
- Sign up for their course, coaching program or somehow become a client. There’s no better way to get somebody’s attention than to support them (and as a bonus, you’ll learn a lot). As a coach, I have a unique relationship with my clients because it’s actually my job to help them succeed. I always remember and help people who buy a power session because I had one-on-one time with them. I won’t forget their names as easily as I might if somebody emails me.
Learn Like It’s Your JobIn the weeks leading up to your launch, there’s almost nothing more important than learning. Abraham Lincoln said “give me four hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first three sharpening the axe”, and when you do launch you need a nice, sharp axe that you can use to tackle the big trees. Big trees can be anything from writing killer blog posts, to building your email list, or starting on social media, but if you haven’t spent some time learning about these areas, things will be slower, more difficult and less fruitful. To give you an idea of how much time you should spend learning, each day before my launch I spent at least 2 hours listening to podcasts (on my commute and when I was getting ready for work in the morning), 1 hour watching Youtube videos (while I was cooking), 2 hours reading (about 1 hour reading a book before bed, and 1 hour reading articles). And I’d already been blogging for four and a half years! Here are a few rules of thumb for learning:
- Stack podcasts, Youtube videos and audio books for when you’re doing something like driving, working out or cooking so you don’t have to spend even more time
- Tackle one big topic at a time. Don’t listen to a podcast episode in the morning about writing and then one in the afternoon about Facebook strategies. This makes it difficult to focus your efforts on one thing that will drive the most impact.
- If you learn something, action it within two hours of learning it. For instance if you’re learning about copywriting and you read about a study that proves that people are more convinced by your writing if there is an image beside it (yep, that’s a real thing) then put an image on your landing page right away. If you don’t act on what you learn, it’s all a waste.
- Balance learning about your niche or topic, and learning about business, marketing, and blogging. For instance, let’s say you were starting a parenting blog about attachment parenting. It’s important to learn about that topic, but it’s equally crucial you learn about the business side of things.