I had my 1:1 with Jonathan and he suggested that I write an article about the Creator Pages launch from earlier this month. I thought his recommendation was solid because it gives me the opportunity to reflect on the experience, create some content around it, and hopefully offers a fresh perspective when you are preparing for your next launch.
Before I get started I want to add some philosophical context to make sure you know where I am coming from with my approach. I have a lot of conviction around marketing’s role as quarterback in the launch process. It’s similar to training camp. Most of the plays, communication, and alignment takes place before your audience even knows about it.
Ever feel like marketing doesn’t get enough love from the rest of the org?
The most effective way to shift internal perception is to take ownership of the launch.
The next most effective way to shift internal perception is to have a plan in place after the launch.
Now let’s talk about how I did this with Creator Pages.
The Launch of Creator Pages
I’m going to break this down into 4 different sections that helped me define structure around the launch. These are the 4 most important pillars to the launch process. The list is debatable. I never try to advocate my work as absolute, but this is what has worked for me.
How to launch:
- Don’t skip the fundamentals
- Over emphasize communication (internal / external)
- Find your special sauce
- Use social media to your advantage
Don’t skip the fundamentals
Start with an outline. I called this document our “Creator Pages Launch Deliverable”.
Before we even started cross-functional meetings between marketing, sales, customer success, and product I wanted to have the v1 of a framework in place to send to internal participants before our first meeting.
This document relied heavily on cross-functional feedback and it was my job to pull the information that I needed from individual groups to make sure that we were all on the same page going into the launch process. It might sound simple, but giving your team a voice in the process helps gain buy-in earlier. Remember the marketer is the quarterback in this game. This doesn’t mean put your head down and try to run for the end zone yourself. This means calling the right plays and getting your team involved early.
The structure of the launch deliverable includes to following:
- Team meeting agenda: I keep this at the top of the document. It’s a place for your team to include any items that they want to discuss before the next meeting. Also, a place to document CTAs. I created a Slack channel called #creator-pages and it’s the spot where I’ve shared this document several times
- Launch milestones: I like to break the launch up into moments with dates associated with them. It helps make it more digestible to others who aren’t in it every day
- Audience information: Who’s this for and what do those people care about?
- Messaging: A first pass at copy, sound bytes, and headlines that can be used and repurposed in marketing materials and through conversations
- Goals: Create pre, during, and post list timelines for your launch and chose metrics each activity
Your deliverable doesn’t need to be flashy. It just needs to be the source of truth where your team goes before you get back together to get a refresher on what’s happening this week.
Make it stupid easy on your internal audience.
Over emphasize communication
The launch of Creator Pages involved our entire team at The Juice.
Was the Creator Pages launch everyone’s top priority for the months leading up to it?
Far from it!
Because of all of the competing internal priorities, things to build, customers to help, and contracts to get signed I made sure to stick to the fundamentals and not lose sight of my opportunity to communicate with the group.
This cadence was at least one Slack update per week followed by an internal pow wow every other week. If anything changed between each milestone I would be sure to update the group in real-time and give everyone a chance to ask questions.
Communication played a massive role in this launch not only because our entire internal team was involved, but also because we were working with 20+ creator stakeholders throughout the process.
My goal was to keep a rolling thunder of communication to the group. My group of external stakeholders are busy. In all likelihood my message isn’t something that they are going to prioritize right away. Every time I hit their inbox I made sure my directions were clear and I supported anything product related with documentation.
Make sure you design your process as if you were on the other end of the communications.
What questions do you have?
What resources do you need?
What expectations from me are required?
The more that you put yourself in the shoes of your stakeholders the more refined and clear your plan will be to those who have agreed to help you execute it.
Find your special sauce
This is the anti-cookie cutter section of this post.
Your special sauce shouldn’t be the same as my special sauce and vice versa!
I’ve been at this B2B marketing thing for a while now and it seems like whenever someone does something cool from a launch perspective that “works” we all go flock to replicate it for our next big splash.
I’m not saying that stealing a few tactics here and there is a bad thing. We should all gain inspiration from our peers and use it to our advantage. The selection of your special sauce must hit different though.
The best way to find it is to zoom all of the way out of your process and examine everything that makes up your launch. It’s the people, process, strategy, technology, and maybe even much more.
Want to know our secret sauce?
Building something that we knew the market had an appetite for and then asking them to participate in the launch.
In my post, “How Creator Pages Support the Rise of the Individual Creator and Content Distribution” I touched on 2 pretty big themes that helped us validate the “why” behind the build.
- B2B brands that were winning viewed their individual creators as their most important distribution channel.
- Content distribution is a topic the entire community believed in, but were still trying to figure it out
The special sauce for The Juice was to not just launch something that we believed that our audience was ready for, but more importantly giving them a seat at the launch table with us.
We built everyone a Creator Page. (Shout out Liz!)
Showed them how to customize it. (Shout out Loom videos!)
Designed social graphics for them to use. (Shout out Sean!)
….and then asked for them to help us get the word out on launch day.
Our group of Creator Pages beta users were an extension of our team and without getting this group's buy-in we would have never had the success that we did when we launched.
Use social media to your advantage
I’ve got a social presence.
My teammates at The Juice have a social presence.
We’ve got the branded company handles that push out our content.
Of course, we were planning to turn those things up on launch day, but the power of extended reach rested in the hands of our 20+ stakeholders that helped us with the promo.
Before I opened my laptop on launch day I took a moment to reflect and reflected on the process and asked myself a question.
Is this really going to work?
Have you been there before? I think we’ve all been there before.
My feedback to anyone reading this is that it is completely normal to question everything you have done. I’ve been a part of more launches than I can count and question my work on launch day every time.
The key is to understand and realize that you are the quarterback of the day. If you’re prepared, communicate well, and get others involved then your stakeholders will want for you to be successful.
My primary goal was to make our creator group look like superheroes.
This means custom graphics, fun copy, and reasons why we believe that you should join The Juice to follow their content.
Each creator took to social, Slack communities, and even their newsletters to let their audience know that there was a new place to go to learn from them. Each stakeholder did things their own way which made the launch feel authentic and not manufactured.
The social momentum of Creator Pages didn’t stop on launch day.
It seems like almost every day since someone else is posting on our behalf or commenting publicly about what they think of the product.
Was the launch perfect?
No. It never is.
Did we learn something from it?
I had a follow up meeting with my internal team and there was so much conversation and excitement about how we can capitalize off the momentum.
The launch is never over.
The pre-launch activity is training camp.
Launch day is just like Week 1.
I am actively working through the enablement of existing creators, promotion of our waitlist (coming soon!), and the splash that we want to make when we open Creator Pages up for GA.
It’s what you do after the big splash that matters.
Launches are never perfect, but if you rally internal and external people who believe in the problem that you are solving it is something that can keep the momentum going for your brand for a long time.
We are just getting started! 🧃
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