You’ve poured your heart and soul into it—into your business, your book, your product, your experience. You’ve worked tirelessly for months, years even, to make sure you’re ready to go to market. And now it’s time.
It’s time to launch. It’s time to tell your story. It’s time to share your baby with the world.
It’s one of the most nerve-wracking things an author, an entrepreneur, a business owner can do. And while you’ve no doubt put the time and effort into making your product the very best it can be before launch, have you thought through exactly how to make your launch successful?
I’ve been helping authors and brands launch products for more than 20 years—resulting in more than 100 New York Times bestsellers—and it’s my absolute favorite thing to do. The way you position yourself, your brand, and your book or product offering can make or break your launch when it comes to marketing and publicity, which is why it is so important to get it right the first time.
Here are the five questions you have to ask to set yourself up for a successful launch.
1. Who Is Your Competition?
Yes, we’ve all been told to put our heads down, do the work, and stay in our lane if we want to achieve success, but before you launch, it’s crucial that you take a look at your competition. Who are they? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What distinguishes you from them? Where do they have a strong presence?
In order to attract the right buyer, the right media opportunities, the right brand partnerships, you have to know what sets you apart from your competition. Taking a serious look at your competitors and making intentional choices about your own brand and product will help ensure your success.
2. What Problem Are You Solving?
People buy things because they solve a problem or meet a need. What unique problem are you solving? Who are you solving it for? How will you people benefit from purchasing your product?
You nailed this down during the development stage, but it’s important to focus on the problem you’re solving as you take your product to market. If you’re not solving a problem, or you’re not solving it in a unique way, then your offering is white noise.
3. What Are Your Strengths?
What sets you apart from other experts in your space? How does your knowledge or background uniquely qualify you to speak to one or more subjects? What knowledge or skill sets do you bring to the table that would benefit your target audience?
Knowing these answers is key to the way you market and position yourself both during and after the launch. It’s also key to ensuring you’re spending your time in ways that benefit you and the overall project while delegating or hiring out in areas of others’ strengths.
4. What Are Your Product’s Strengths?
In the same vein as the previous question, what are your product’s strengths? How is it unique from your competitors? What are its top selling points? How will people benefit from its message, purpose, or offering?
If it’s a book you’re promoting, the answers to these questions are especially important in setting your message apart from the hundreds of thousands of books that release every year. When it comes to media outlets, editors and producers are bombarded by hundreds of pitch emails every day, and every word you say in yours has the potential to make or break your coverage opportunity.
5. What Would a Win Look Like for You?
When it comes to media coverage, everyone wants to be on “The Today Show” or have Oprah talk about their product. While those are both huge wins, they are only wins if you’re ready for them.
Take a minute to think through what a successful launch would look like for you. Is it gaining media exposure as a first-time author? Is it selling through your first production run? Is it growing and engaging with your social following? Depending on where you are in the stage of your business, product, or platform, success will (and should!) look different from person to person, product to product, and launch to launch.
Clarifying the answers to all of these questions will help you determine what you say, how you say it, and who you need to say it to as you plan for your next launch. Those three things are key to determining your success, especially in terms of garnering attention from the right media.
Branding, marketing, and publicity can be tricky and nuanced, but putting the thought, intention, and work in as you prepare to launch will make a world of difference. I’m so proud of you for making it this far, and I’m rooting for you as you launch your baby into the world. You’ve got this!
“If you’re not solving a problem, or you’re not solving it in a unique way, then your offering is white noise.”
—Heather Adams, Communications Expert
About the Author: Heather Adams is a seasoned communications expert and the founder and CEO of Choice Media & Communications, where she has helped launch more than 100 New York Times bestselling titles. Host of the podcast, “Make Me Known,” Heather also shares her hard-fought wisdom and insight with aspiring authors and entrepreneurs in her free masterclass, The #1 Secret to Get the RIGHT Media to Cover Your Book. A wife, boy mom, communications expert, and CEO, it is her greatest passion and mission to link arms with other women as their champion and mentor, in life and in work.
Featured image: Color Joy Stock