When something new comes out and you want to tell your friends about it, how do you present it to them? Do you use the press release format to announce the newsworthy event? Do you use an informational article format to explain what it is? Probably not.
You likely use stories. You tell your friends an enthusiastic, honest, hype-free, factual story about the product or service.
Launch.it is a place for you to tell those stories. It’s a place for new things to launch.
In this guide, you will learn about…
(Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Launch.it in any way nor am I compensated by them to write this. I’m just an enthusiastic user. Also, please note that Launch.it is in beta so this information is subject to change.)
LAUNCH.IT: WHERE NEW IS LAUNCHED
Launch.it is a community platform that aims to be a searchable database of everything new. It is not just another place to create the same old content… they are pioneering a new way of communicating brands to the world.
- On the publishing/promotional side, Launch.it is a place to tell stories about new products and services and ideas: It’s not another press release distribution site; it’s not another article site. Launch.it wants to be a “spin-free zone” where brands tell honest, fact-based, no-hype stories about whatever is new.
- On the audience/readership side, Launch.it is a place where readers can interact with the brand in multiple ways. It can include sharing on social sites, clicking to the site to make a purchase or learn more, participating in crowdfunding, contacting the brand, and more.
Unlike press releases and articles, Launch.it stories (they call them “launches”) are more social, more focused on action, and they can be updated as facts change. I might not be 100% correct here but it feels like their site is aiming to be more like an engaging magazine that tells interesting, factual stories about new ideas rather than a newspaper that reports only the cold, hard facts.
As a writer, I’m interested in finding stories to cover. As an entrepreneur, I’m interested in telling the stories of new brands I develop. So here is an unofficial, unauthorized guide to launching your brand’s new idea from Launch.it.
The Launch.it homepage is made up of a few different sections…
- Across the the top is a menu of high-level categories that launches are filed under — Technology, Consumer Electronics, Fashion, Media, Medical and Pharma, Services, Food and Beverage, Health and Beauty. (There are other categories you can file your launch under but they don’t appear on this list).
- Below that is a section of the top ten launches. I’m not sure how this is sorted (although I’m guessing it’s by number of visits or number of shares). To the right of these top-10 featured launches is a sidebar that includes a ticker/”odometer” of the number of launches, a featured launch, and a link to Launch.it’s Facebook page.
- Below that second is a section that lists 60 other launches in a 5 x 12 grid.
INTRODUCTION TO LAUNCH.IT
From the Launch.it homepage (http://launch.it)…
Click the “Sign Up” link to sign up (you can create an account or sign in with LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook). I created my own account.
From then on, click the “Login” link to get to the login page…
Once signed in, you’ll be directed back to the homepage but you’ll have two new links at the top of your page. These are the two main areas you’ll use on Launch.it: The Discoverer Dashboard and the Launcher Dashboard.
Here’s the Discoverer Dasboard:
Although mine doesn’t look very interesting right now (hey, I’m still new to Launch.it), this page is your dashboard to follow industries, writers, and brands, and to save launches for later viewing. Right now I’m following just one industry (Finance) and the launches in that category appear in my news feed.
Keep reading below because I’ll share some ideas about what you can use this dashboard for!
The other dashboard is the Launcher Dashboard…
On this page, you can see at a glance a number of stats about your launches — how many launches, how many views, how many comments and followers, how many stars your launches have earned, plus there are links on the lower half of the page to your launches, to analytics, and more.
Next, I’m going to show you how to launch content on Launch.it. If you are already familiar with that, skip this section and check out some ideas to use Launch.it to find stories or ideas to use Launch.it to launch your own news.
HOW TO LAUNCH ON LAUNCH.IT
From the Launcher Dashboard, click the great big button in the middle that says “new”…
And the next page you’ll get to is the page to create your launch story…
On this page…
Choose your byline from the drop-down menu. (It might be you or it might be other writers you’ve created, for example if you have several on staff who are sharing the same account).
Choose your brand from the drop-down menu. You can select your own brand (if you’re writing stories for your brand) or you can add new brands (if you own several brands or are a marketing firm).
Write your headline. Although the title can be pretty long, I would suggest that you try to keep it short because only the first 34-37 words will be displayed if your launch becomes featured. Check out the example below to see what I mean. Notice how the title is cut off a little? It’s not the end of the world, of course, but I think it would be more powerful if someone could read your entire title. So 34-37 words is the rule of thumb.
Write your subheading. Your subheading isn’t a reiteration of your headline but should instead provide additional information or context. Also note: Your subheading only shows up when someone views the blurb on its own page (it doesn’t show up in the condensed view on the home page) so make sure that the information is helpful but not essential to understanding your launch.
Write the body of your launch. This is the main content. I’m not sure how much space you have but presumably you have enough to get the story across. I would suggest aiming for a minimum of 400 words and a maximum of 1500 words. Too little and you’ll end up not getting your point across; too much and you’ll lose your readers. For more information, Launch.it provides a brief but helpful guide.
Note: Another important thing to consider is the length of your first paragraph. If your launch becomes one of the top ten featured stories, they will post the first part of your first paragraph (about the first 40 words or so) so make sure you create good content in that first paragraph. Check out the first paragraph of the launch below as an example:
Select your industry. There are several to choose from. Pick one that makes the most sense.
Write your key message bullet points. These will appear in the sidebar of your story. I’m not sure how many you get to write. I wrote 3. I’ve seen 5. I think 3-5 is a good, digestible number for your readers.
Upload your lead image. Make your image 680×490. The image will appear in different sizes but always in that ratio. In some places, the image will be only about 27% of of the larger size (approximately 186 x 132) so make sure that your image is recognizable at that size too.
Add advanced features. Definitely add advanced features if you have them! These include video, links for buying/fundraising/contacting you, more images, etc. The more you add, the more visually attractive and engaging your content becomes. When it comes to interaction, select as many as you can — Give them a place to click to visit your website and a way to contact you.
Once you have filled everything out, you can save, preview, and publish your launch story and it goes immediately to the home page of Launch.it. Later, you can always go back to review and edit your launch story from the Launch Dashboard.
HOW TO EDIT YOUR LAUNCH
Once you have a launch launched, you can edit it. I love this feature of Launch.it because (unlike press releases and some article publishing sites) information changes and you should be able to go back and update it. To edit your launch story, go to your Launcher Dashboard and at the top of the page, click the button labelled “Launches”…
(Note: There are other places on the page where you can click to view your launches but as of this writing, this is the only button that gets you to a place to edit your launches).
On this page, you’ll see the launches you have published, as well as links to edit, view, unpublish, and get analytics.
IDEAS TO USE THE DISCOVERER DASHBOARD
The Discoverer Dashboard is useful to filter the growing number of launches to keep track of what is important to you.
I love the idea of being able to follow industries, writers, and brands. I’m planning to use the Discoverer Dashboard in the following ways:
- As a business, finance, and real estate writer, I’m going to follow related industries to pay attention to what’s going on in each space. The dashboard gives me the ability to filter by industry so I can quickly scan on a regular basis to find new ideas and trends.
- As a writer, I’m always interested in connecting with other writers and learning how they are covering stories. This will give me a chance to meet experts in specific fields.
- As a writer, I want to follow specific brands to see how they grow. They might be part of a story or trend I’m following or a competitor for one of the businesses I own, or the next big thing that I want to learn more about if I’m looking for a great idea for an article.
IDEAS TO LAUNCH ON LAUNCH.IT
The Launcher Dashboard is where you create content to engage with your audiences about your new idea, brand, product, service, or whatever. So here are some ideas you can launch with:
So go Launch.it!
- Launch your new brand
- Launch each product or service
- Launch new versions of products and services
- Launch the latest version of your website
- Launch your mobile app
- Launch your new store
- Launch your new Facebook page, Twitter profile, etc.
- Launch a news story about you (Remember: This isn’t a press release but you can still create a story about what’s new at your business)
- Launch your email newsletter
- Launch sub-brands
- Launch partnerships and joint ventures
- Launch your blog
- Launch individual blog posts (within reason, of course! I’m not suggesting that you spam Launch.it but there are times when an individual blog post is worth launching)
- Launch a free report
- Launch your ebook
- Launch your print book
- Launch your new location
- Launch a story about that big project you landed
- Launch when a new executive joins your team
- Launch when you develop a new innovation
- Launch a story that you hope to get some exposure about (we writers are watching!)
- Launch your latest project for which you want investors/crowdfunders