Office Supply Geeks Rejoice: How to Create a Launch Calendar

Now that you have a general idea of how many emails you will be sending during your launch, let’s talk about how to turn that into an actual launch calendar that will become incredibly useful as your launch picks up.

Supplies needed:

  1. Giant sticky notes or a large paper easel that can be taped to your wall (I researched this and these sticky pads seem to be the most cost effective, while these non-sticky easel pads give you the most paper for your dollar).
  2. Post-it notes in different colors and sizes
  3. Markers
  4. Small stickers in varying colors that can be written on (I use these round ones, but any size, color, and shape would work).
  5. A ruler if you like straight lines ;)
  6. A content checklist of all the content needed for your launch
  7. The list of emails you’ll be sending that you made earlier this week.

There are a couple options here, but the one I like the most for your first pass through planning is the Giant Sticky Note version. ;)  You can find giant sticky note easels on Amazon or at your local office supply store.. some of them even have dry erase on the other side! You’ll also need regular sized post-it notes in different colors. Bonus points for having sticky notes in different sizes, too. I use the regular sized ones as well as the book flag type.

First, choose which size/type of sticky note and what color each of the following will represent:

  1. Emails to your list
  2. Social media updates
  3. Emails to colleagues/friends/affiliates
  4. Tasks that need to be completed by team members
  5. Tech milestones, graphic design tasks

Secondly, draw a calendar on your giant sticky/paper.

Depending on how long you have until your launch (and how many emails, updates, and tasks you have), you may want to put a week on each giant sticky, 2 weeks, or one whole month. It’s up to you, but personally, I like giving myself a ton of room. I draw no more than two weeks on each sticky. Whether or not you want to put weekends on there is up to you.

Make sure each day is big enough to hold at least one sticky note (though it’s better if it can hold many)

Third, get out your content checklist and your email list. Write one piece of content on each sticky (following the color coding you established above).

After you have your calendar drawn on and your sticky notes filled out, start putting each in the place you think they might go. I don’t put times on the easel, but you might want to if it would help you. Start putting the biggest pieces of the launch on first (emails, contests, interviews, that kind of thing) to see how it all looks together.

Talk it through – this will help you see if there are any issues that you need to adjust (for example, if you’ve decided you won’t send more than 3 emails in one week, and that isn’t the way things are working out, evaluate your options… you could send more emails one week, or you could cut an email back. Move the sticky notes around to see how the different options would look).

Once you’re happy with the big pieces, start to put the smaller pieces on the sticky.

Social media updates, Facebook prompts, design & tech milestones, call times, etc. 

Here you can see the whole launch calendar system in progress.

click the photo for a larger version

See the mini color coded stickers? Each team member (note: this doesn’t have to be someone with you full time – put contractors on there too, because they are a big part of making sure your launch runs smoothly!) has their initial on the sticker, and it’s attached to their task.

For example, on this schedule (click the photo to see a larger version) the sales page is being tweaked and tested three times after it’s finished, each by someone new (and then finally once by the whole team). You can also see where, during certain events, the whole team is present (the call at 2pm on Friday, for example).

Then, you could take a photo of this and send it to your team so they know what is expected (and what you’ll be up to!). Another good idea? Share with your mastermind group and your coach. People looking in from the outside may see things you don’t.

It would also be very easy to translate this into a Google Calendar that you shared with everyone.

Preparing like this helps for three reasons:

  1. You’ll see any issues before they happen.
  2. You can look at the whole picture, which helps you schedule emails without overloading your readers.
  3. You have a clear idea of exactly what needs to be done next, so you won’t waste time staring at the computer.

Any questions about creating or using the launch calendar? (And by the way, office supply geeks: you are welcome for another reason to go buy new stickies, markers, and paper!).

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