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The Art of the (Re)Launch

Whenever you’re launching a new project, you always have to think about the rollout. The days, weeks, and even months leading up to a big reveal are crucial for getting people excited about, and familiar with, what you’ve got coming. The same goes for relaunching. We’ve seen it a million times (remember when Dunkin’ Donuts went “beverage-forward” in 2019 by dropping the sweet treat from its name?). Relaunching your brand or business is just as important as its debut, so you’ll want to put in the effort to get it just right. We invited musician and long-time creator Rebecca Loebe to lead a workshop about the art of launching (or relaunching) on Patreon.

Rebecca Loebe has been a full-time singer/songwriter for over 10 years and touring has been a huge part of her career. She typically spends most of her time on the road, playing around 150 shows a year, but in 2020 she found herself relying more on her Patreon, which she started back in 2017. She did a ton of research before launching it and then went all in, knowing that those initial weeks are when creators have the best chance at bringing in large numbers of patrons. She spent five months daydreaming about her page and gathering inspiration, and two weeks thoughtfully planning out her launch — and it worked. In the first week, Rebecca got one hundred patrons and by the end of that year, she had two hundred. Now, she’s helping other creators make the most out of their platform debuts with her free ebook.

Whether you’re launching or relaunching your page, these steps will help you maximize this major milestone:

Pre-launch checklist

  • Find your why

Figure out your mission and why you do what you do. This will require some soul searching but it’ll ground you throughout your journey and help you communicate with your fans.

  • Follow other creators

It’s just good etiquette. Plus, it can spark creativity. 

  • Create a circle of influence

Make a spreadsheet of everyone you have a personal connection with. These aren’t wish-list collaborators or the CEOs you admire, these are people you know and love and who know and love you. Gather the contact information that works best for them: Facebook, text, email, etc.

  • Create your first few posts

You don’t want to launch without anything lined up. Record some podcast episodes, create some videos, or write some articles and bank them for the coming weeks.

  • Create a pitch video

Make it fun, keep it short, and speak in the present. This is your chance to get people hooked.

  • Create graphics

Create the banner for your Patreon page and then make a few versions in other sizes to fit across all your social platforms.

  • Craft a homepage pitch

Don’t assume that people will watch your video. Write a pitch that will draw people in and can stand alone on your Patreon.

  • Create your Patreon page

Build your actual page. It’s pretty simple stuff but you have to choose your tiers, pricing, and all that other good stuff.

 

Tip #1: Consider giving your page a fun name

Make your page stand out among thousands of others by choosing a catchy or memorable name for your community. That way when you ask people to sign up, instead of saying “sign up for my Patreon,” you can say something cool like “come join my song club” (shoutout to Bob Schneider for that one).

Tip #2: Add a deadline

Incentivize people to sign up on your launch day or week with some type of reward. You can offer a spot in the credits in your next video, exclusive merch, or an invite to a livestream — just a little something to show your appreciation for those early-bird members of your community.

Tip #3: Focus on sharing work you’re already doing

Don’t go overboard trying to create brand new work to share with your patrons. Instead, identify things you’re already making, or that need to be done, and offer those to your members. For Rebecca, that includes quality demos, new songs, and cover videos.

 

Launch timeline

First things first — pick your date. But don’t just pick any ol’ day; choose something with meaning. A birthday, a creative anniversary, an exciting milestone. You get the gist. Rebecca is a big believer in the birthday launch because birthday social traffic just can’t be beat. If a special is out of the question, just remember to avoid major holidays and weekends, and try to stick to early-mid week. These aren’t hard and fast rules but great tips to keep in mind. And now it’s time for the fun part: launching. Here’s your two-week timeline to nail your launch/relaunch:

2 weeks until launch
Reach out to your followers, supporters, subscribers, and fans on other platforms. Ask them if they’d be interested in a Patreon and what they’d want to see. Post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook — wherever you typically interact with your community to talk directly to your people. If you’re relaunching, post on your Patreon page to ask your members what’s been missing. Existing fans (and patrons if you’re relaunching) will be your best critics because they’re the ones listening to your music, watching your videos, and buying your art. They have a personal interest in your work so they’ll likely be pretty honest with their feedback.

1 week until launch
Prep time! Pre-write all your emails, newsletter, and social media posts in advance. When you write ahead of time, you can focus on perfectly timing those posts and messages rather than scrambling to edit your thoughts before that prime social media engagement time passes by.

5 days until launch
A soft launch is the perfect way for your inner circle to get a feel for what you’re up to without blasting it out to the entire world. Use this time to publish your Patreon page and send it to your close friends and family. Ask them what works, what doesn’t, and take their suggestions to heart. After all, these are the people who have a genuine interest in seeing you succeed.

4 days until launch
In the music industry, Rebecca has identified what she calls “super supporters.” These are the people who support dozens, maybe even hundreds of artists through different memberships or platforms. For Rebecca, these super supporters are people she knows who are plugged into the music scene; the people who might be going to four or five concerts a week. If you’re in an industry that also has super supporters, see if you can reach out to them to ask them for their thoughts on your page. Since they support so many creators, they often have great insights and expertise that can really help you before your launch.

3 days until launch
We’re getting close… Three days out you’ll want to make revisions, implement feedback, and yes, pre-write your Launch Day announcement so you can get it just right.

2 days until launch
Teaser time. Get on your social media and do that thing that all celebrities do to get people talking. Make some Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube posts to tell people you have a big announcement coming but don’t tell them what it is just yet. It’ll get people buzzing just before the big day.

The day before launch
Remember that circle of influence? Reach out to them. Keep things friendly and let people know what you’re launching, why it’s important to you, and you’re asking for their support as you try out this new thing. As your day comes to a close, remember to pre-write those emails, newsletters, social posts, and anything else you’re planning to send out the next day because it’s going to be a busy one.

Happy launch day!
Now’s your time to shine. Publish your first post, hit send on that newsletter, and announce your heart out on social. Don’t forget to also get those one-on-one connections in. Text your friends and ask them to comment, like, and share your posts. If you want to go above and beyond, you can also do some “extra credit” day-of tasks, as Rebecca calls them. Creating Facebook ads targeted at people who like your page, making a Facebook event, and going live at the end of the day are all ways to reinforce the messaging behind your launch, say thank you to people who have shown their support, and give it one final push before the day is done.

 

What’s next?

The next seven days are going to be crucial, so don’t sit back and relax just yet. Rebecca recommends writing on social media every day. Yes, it’s a lot — we know. But nobody sees every single one of your posts on every single platform. So while it might seem like you’re overdoing it, it won’t look that way to anybody else.

Remind people about your deadline. If you said “everyone who signs up to be a patron this month gets a free mug,” then give them a little nudge that they’re nearing the cutoff. Do what you need to do to keep the energy around the launch alive, but do it in a conversational, friendly, and engaging way that makes people feel like they’re really joining a community.

As you work your way through this checklist, Rebecca also likes to remind people about the basics: be nice, build community, be a good friend, drink plenty of water. And, most importantly, avoid comparison. “Every person is going to have a different journey,” Rebecca says. “If you are authentic to yourself, you do your best work, and you really show up for yourself every day that you’re doing this, no matter what the outcome is in terms of metrics and followers, you’re going to make yourself proud.” Even though you’re reaching out to your community and asking for advice, this whole experience is ultimately about you and your work. So stay true to yourself and always keep your “why” top of mind.