You’ve got “your thing”.

It’s a program, product, resource, or idea, and it’s on fire. In your opinion, it is the greatest thing ever imagined, and you can see all the heart and soul you’ve put into it, to get where you are already. You’ve done the research and work to create “your thing”, and along the way you’ve heard that after you build it, the people will come.

But how can you be so sure? Even Kevin Costner, in the Field of Dreams, had to get real with his stakeholders to figure it all out. (Albeit he heard voices from above, and connected with the ghosts of baseball players from the past, he got it done by listening and then telling.)

So next time you are gearing up to launch or push out anything, take note of these pointers. And be sure you keep records of what you do, there is much to be learned once the launch is over.

  • Make sure your internal network knows what you are doing. This goes beyond reporting out on status during your weekly team meetings. Instead, go out of your way to brief everyone and get their buy in. Think about how what you are doing will help your colleagues and their stakeholders, and be ready to craft an email they can share on your behalf with their relevant stakeholders. Create a slide deck with 5-7 slides going over your goals, successes, and how you are going to get there. Be sure you have a slide outlining the call to action for the audience, even if they are on your team or working for the same company. At the end of your briefing, answer their questions and practice weaving in ways they can help you. As you gather their feedback, don’t stay too tethered to one approach for all – tailor what you do with every “test” conversation you have.
  • Engage with stakeholders or customers in your fan base next, those that are closest to the product. Do this before you even think about launching. Get your biggest supporters together and get dirty with some critical review. Who do they think you need to win over to make what you are up to happen? Who don’t you need? You should also convene some critics, but build up your shield first. Not everyone is there to support you, so don’t give up if someone puts you down, know this is going to happen no matter what, but it won’t stop you.
  • First impressions are important. Gear up with social media leading up to and on the day of kick-off. If possible, prepare in advance all images, graphics, or video you will need. This digital content is more engaging, and you can entice folks to visit your website and take an action.  Your website that you lead them to, should complement the graphics on social, reinforce messages, and aim to instill brand and identity awareness in an instant/blink of the eye.
  • If you have the resources to announce more broadly, and you are ready, then you should do so. Think about how you can put out a press announcement, or ask partners, investors and other participants in the project if they can do the same. Over time, the more you keep a drum beat going, and can champion successes, the faster and more likely you will triumph.
  • Word of mouth is something you should not take for granted. Get on the road and stay there. Repeat yourself often, and remember this is your language, you know what you’ve got going on.  The newbies, folks who don’t know what you are doing, they’ll want to know more, if you message it right. Don’t be scared of their questions, and meet with the people, attend events, and shake that new thing like there is no tomorrow.
  • Take notes and refine your pitch and message. And, you probably know this already, but don’t forget to speak slowly, craft a concise message, and be sure you have a call to action. You don’t want to miss out on a captive audience… ever.