It’s no secret there are about 1,000 moving parts to think about when you go to launch your first or next course.
- There’s the tech stuff - setting up all the carts, pricing packages, upsells, and autoresponders.
- There’s the course site - setting up the modules and lessons, uploading the content and videos, and organizing everything in a logical way.
- There’s the sales pages, graphic design, branding, and everything “visual” you need to create.
And probably about 300 other things I’m forgetting at this moment :)
(Which is why we have an entire Course Launch Template and Process in Asana for my company, which is included for you to use and replicate in Launch Your Signature Course™).
But the thing I’m going to be focusing on today is what I call my “Course Launch Collateral”, and it’s all the content that I have to create and identify/name for our launches.
This is my “essential” launch content - things like the launch emails, the webinar content, the blog posts and more.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Creating and launching a course is essentially creating two courses worth of content.
The first is the launch content (I end up writing just as much free content during a launch!) and the second is the actual course you’re going to sell!
PSST! Pin that baby!
When I start to wrap my head around the next launch of a new program or course, I have to just write down these key essential elements on a poster in order to start visualizing and understanding what it is I need to do.
Maybe you can relate!
As I’m the main content creator in my business (where as I now outsource design and tech set-up), these are the things that I am most focused on.
Yes there’s a lot of other things going on BESIDES what this blog post details, and you can find more of that in the 90 Day Launch Checklist.
(I also want to point out that you definitely do NOT need a team or to outsource for your first launch! I created and launched courses successfully for 2 full years in my business with NO outside help. I made my own simple graphics, I did all the tech stuff myself (I like using simple, user-friendly tools like we teach in LYSC), and I did all the content and customer service too. Just want to say that you don’t need a team to do this, that’s something you’ll work up to over the years!).
I made a cheatsheet for this exercise, which happens to be something I made for myself (I literally use this for every launch and refer to it EVERY SINGLE DAY).
I’m going to be walking you through how to use this cheatsheet in this post, so I encourage you to actually download and print it out FIRST, then walk through this with me!
STEP 1: Set Up Your Documents
The first thing I do when I’m starting a new launch is create a fresh folder, sub-folders, and titled documents (even if they are blank!) in my google Drive.
Here are the Folders and Documents that I set up so that I have the framework for actually creating the content and it’s all organized AHEAD OF TIME (this is really key).
Folder: Lead Magnet
- Document: Lead Magnet Content
Folder: Launch Blog Posts
- Launch Blog Post #1
- Launch Blog Post #2
- Launch Blog Post #3
(We go through what the actual content of all of these blog posts needs to be in Launch Your Signature Course™, because YES it matters!).
Folder: Launch Emails
- Document: Launch Emails
(I write all of my launch emails in one continuous document and I recommend you do the same. These emails need to flow into each other and have a thread of connectivity, so this really helps me create a “story” in my emails).
Folder: Signature Webinar
- Document: Signature Webinar Content and Outline (to be made into slides)
- Document: Fast Action Bonus
(We also have a set of separate emails for this webinar that are in here).
Folder: Pre-Launch Hype
- Document: Periscope Series Outline
- Action Takers
Now there’s a whole other set of folders and documents we have for the actual COURSE CONTENT, which is separate from the launch content. We have the systems for that in Launch Your Signature Course™ as well.
Step 2: Your Launch Collateral Content
So let’s go into detail about what each of these entails now that you have your folders and documents set up and your cheatsheet printed out. I want you to fill in the cheatsheet printable as we go.
Download it right here:
Your course lead magnet is different from your regular website lead magnet or opt-in freebie. It’s directly related to your course and branded as your course, not your main site. This can be a checklist, tools and resources guide, video guide, etc - but it has to directly relate to your course and course topic.
For example, we have detailed checklists for each of our courses.
- Launch Your Signature Course has the 90-Day Course Checklist.
- Webinar Rockstar has the Ultimate Webinar Checklist.
- Your First 1K has the List-Building Tools and Resources Guide.
What will your course specific lead magnet be? Write it down in your cheatsheet!
Launch Blog Posts:
For the 6 weeks leading up to your launch, you’re only blogging about your course topic. I’m really specific about this, not everyone is.
I feel that in order to get everyone educated about and excited for your upcoming launch, you need to 100% focus on your course topic in your blog posts.
These course-topic specific blog posts are also where you can promote the course lead magnet AS a content upgrade within the blog posts.
So basically you’ll have 3-4 blog posts over 4-6 weeks (depending on your blog schedule) with your course-specific lead magnet as the content upgrade or mentioned in each post.
This helps you build up your pre-launch list and VIP list.
(Hint: SOME of the email content from your launch can be repurposed as these blog posts, but certain ones are more effective than others as blog posts).
So, in your worksheet, write down the 4 launch blog post titles so you know what content you’ll need to create (I then batch write these all at once).
Your launch email sequence is a set of emails (between 7 - 15 emails total) that educates your audience, introduces your course or program, addresses their fears and hesitations or objections, and ultimately brings in the sales!
You may or may not know that I’m a tiny bit obsessed with these.
...The story arc.
I seriously love this stuff, it’s a huge part of Launch Your Signature Course™ because it’s SO IMPORTANT for making sales.
What I do first when I’m planning my launch content (and what I want you to do on your worksheet now) is write down the subject lines (or at least themes) of my launch emails in order.
That way I know what I need to write and start thinking about.
When I go to sit down and write these, I do it all in one batch because like I explained above, these emails need to flow into each other and have a thread of connectivity. I write all of my launch emails in one continuous document, which helps me create a “story” in my emails.
In order to outline it, use the worksheet and check out my example worksheet (that I filled in) for inspiration. You'll get that when you download your collateral worksheet, below.
Of course we go into tons of detail about what each email should say in Launch Your Signature Course™, because it is one of the main pillars of your launch (as in if you don’t do ANYTHING else, I recommend at a bare minimum your launch consists of a strong email sequence and a live webinar or Q & A).
One of the big, important things I have to make for a course launch is the “signature” webinar that goes with the course.
This webinar is directly, singularly related to the course and nothing else. It’s VERY focused.
The other thing I have to consider when I create this content outline and eventually make the slides, is that this webinar needs to be reusable and repurposable in a lot of different ways (funnels, automations, affiliates, etc).
That means this webinars has to be really great and cohesive. It has to be “evergreen” meaning that it needs to be useful for a long time and in a few different situations.
So when I come up with my signature webinar to complement and eventually sell my signature course, I make sure the content is closely tied together.
I either get really specific into an easy step 1, or outline the 6-7 main steps in the process I teach in detail in the course.
Write down the title (or ideas you have) about your signature webinar in the worksheet.
I’ve only recently been incorporating a strategic Periscope series into my launches in the past year.
After having plenty of successful launches with just webinars and email sequences, I wasn’t sure what to expect by throwing a Periscope nightly series (all related to my course topic) into the mix.
Well, I would say it has been a huge factor in improving my launches.
We discovered that more than 70% of the people who enrolled in Launch Your Signature Course™ had been regularly watching my series leading up to the launch. So naturally, I created an entire lesson about my specific Periscope strategy for launching in Launch Your Signature Course™ too.
What you need to do is come up with a Periscope series that is related to your course, and then give it a finite number of days or weeks.
I personally did #30CourseTips for this, and I’ve done #30DaysofListBuilding as well, you can do #7DaysofBranding or #10EquestrianTips or any length of time you feel comfortable with. I admit that 30 was a lot, but it was also a big part of my launch!
In your worksheet, write down the hashtag and title of your series or challenge.
Now you’ll know what you have to outline in your document.
Yes, I write outlines and bullet points for EACH day 30 days in advance (so I am NOT thinking of things on the spot when my brain was half-dead in launch mode).
Oh yes. The bonuses. The many, many bonuses :)
Okay maybe I over-do it with bonuses! Can’t help it, I love my students too much.
I recommend that for your first launch, you keep your bonuses simple. That being said, there are a few types of bonuses you’ll need.
- Regular Course Bonuses - Everyone gets these if they register, no matter when. These are included in the course. (PS - Download the cheatsheet for my examples.)
- Action Takers Bonus - these are for the early adopters of your course or program
- Fast Action Webinar Bonus - for those who buy live on your webinar
- Flash Bonus - This is optional, but it’s a second bonus offered to those halfway through the launch.
Bonuses can be checklists, case studies, scripts, templates - anything that makes your student’s life easier and helps the experience of the course, but wouldn’t be “essential” if the student missed it.
I’ll admit, sometimes I feel like I’m going insane finding the perfect bonuses. Creating even more stuff can be overwhelming! See if you can find contributor bonuses and trade with someone else.
In your workbook, write down your bonuses in the specific places for each type. See mine as an example.
Another thing you’ll want to think about is your upsell that you’ll offer.
An upsell is a limited-time offer that is only presented to someone who has just purchased your course. So only students can actually buy it, no one else.
It’s basically another offer that compliments the main course or would take the course to the next level. You could also offer templates or 1-1 coaching as an upsell.
What will you offer? How much will that cost?
Write it down in your worksheet :)
You thought we’d be done by now? Hehehe.
Last thing, I promise.
A downsell is an offer that is only presented AFTER your launch is over, and only to those who did not purchase.
It’s basically saying “I know that you might not have been able to invest either the time or money into the signature course, so this is a “lite” version to get you started”.
Your downsell should be directly related to your course, but more like a mini-course with just step 1 and step 2 or a few lessons.
If you were to offer an “introductory” version of your course, what would that look like?
Write down the name of your downsell in your worksheet.
Whew!! That’s a lot to take in, I know!
But you know, getting this stuff out of my head and onto my cheatsheet (like I said, I have a bunch of these I print out and use every day!) really helps me get organized before a course launch.
Once I know exactly what I have to do and when, I feel much better about being able to get it all done.
If you want to take this further and launch your own course, check out my program Launch Your Signature Course™. It's basically the best thing ever :)