Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Marissa Bracke.
I’m exhausted. I spend more time trying to discern valuable, stand-alone content and content that’s pushed primarily to hoist an offer on me than I do enjoying the content. It’s as if someone coopted the watercooler for advertising space. What I’ve got is a bad case of launch fatigue.
The same streams we turn to for communication and connection are flooded by a relentless stream of products. It used to be that blogs were primarily vehicles for conversations and suggestions and general ponderings, and sales were confined to service or product pages. But of late, people use their blogs to ramp up their launches with a series of product-oriented blog posts… which is fine, except everyone is doing it, and everyone is feeling pressure to do it.
At the same time, we’re all leaning heavily on our Twitter networks (or being leaned heavily on) to tweet the living daylights out of every single product and service we offer. Which again is fine… except everyone is doing it. All the time.
The pre-launch blog post (and guest post) spree is the new mass email. It’s the blogosphere’s version of a press junket for celebrities. The twitter launchfest is the new flyer-on-every-windshield. It’s heralded as The Way To Succeed, so everyone does it. And if you’re not currently doing it, you’re feeling pressured to do so.
It seems that Launch Fatigue has set in, and entrepreneurs are feeling it, both as launchers and as audience members.
To launch, and to promote launches via blog or Twitterfest, is not inherently negative. The reason it’s heralded as The Way To Succeed is that it is, in fact, a good way to succeed.
What has many folks–me included–waving a white flag of launch surrender is the ubiquitousness and unrelenting, suffocating volume of it all.
If we’re all constantly launching, and we’re all constantly supporting one another in our constant launches, it stands to reason that before too long, our communication ports are going to be jam-packed with… launches.
And they are. From blogs posting about the author’s products to blogs posting about affiliate products to pre-launch tweets to mid-launch tweets to post-launch thanks-for-the-tweets… it’s all launching, all the time. It’s as if someone secretly replaced social media’s conversation and connection with a steady drip of infomercial and hoped no one would notice.
I’m noticing. I suspect I’m not alone.
Don’t fatigue me, bro
As an audience member, it’s easy to reach a point of launch saturation. You’ve gotten several emails from different people about offers–theirs and their affiliate partners’. You’ve been bombarded by Tweets with links to the same offers. You’ve been on teleclasses promoting the offers. You’ve read blog post after blog post touting the products. While part of you is thinking, “This must be a good product if it’s got so much momentum behind it,” another part of you is thinking, “I am so sick of hearing about this product, and it hasn’t even been released yet.” (Or, “I’m so sick of hearing about offers in general!”)
Part of the reason your audience subscribed to your blog or followed you on Twitter or signed up for your newsletter is that they liked what you had to say. They connected with you. They got value out of the conversations you lead.
It’s vital that we not inadvertently dismiss that core connection in our attempts to Never Stop Launching. We need to make room for the conversation that originally brought us together with our followers or friends or subscribers. And because the opportunities to launch and promote launches are plentiful (and increasing every day), it’s imperative that we consciously make room for that conversation so as to avoid allowing our launch fervor to squeeze it out.
If you know you’ve got a big launch coming up next month, then ease up on the affiliate pushes for a couple of weeks. If you’ve been pushing affiliate products every single week for the past month and a half, give your audience some down time before you start your Here Comes My New Product pre-launch blog post series.
Acknowledge that your followers/fans/friends/list members are getting walloped with offers. Realize that even if you really, truly believe that your offers are stupendous and vital, they are drops in an ever-more-quickly-filling bucket of offers being dumped on the social media sphere, and that what your followers/friends/audience may need more than anything–even more than your stupendous and vital and awesome offer–is a breather. A chance to converse with you with no subtext and no underlying launch timeline. An opportunity to read your blog without looking for the “buy here” or “sign up if you want to be the first one notified!” links.
What your audience might benefit most from is the chance to be people to you again, instead of just “audience” or “potential customers.”
The difference between you and an infomercial
You don’t have to stop launching. But pausing the push of products and offers in order to make room for that core conversation and connection to thrive is the only thing that separates you from being an infomercial.
Infomercials, after all, can be thought-provoking and personable. They can be humorous and timely. They can be useful and informative. What they can’t be is genuinely anchored in connection or conversation, because their ultimate, sole and unyielding purpose is selling you something. They cannot connect with the audience members as anything other than potential sales. Any connection with the audience is connection for the sake of sales, and as the audience we know that. There’s a tacit understanding that even if the infomercial host is likeable and engaging, they’re really just after our wallets.
If you never take a break from selling, you become an infomercial. You might still provide useful content and humor and a personable front, but eventually, your readers/audience will come to understand that it’s all surface, and that you interact for the sake of their money, not for the sake of actual connection. (And maybe that’s absolutely fine with you. That’s a business model too, and it serves some folks well. There’s a reason infomercials are so prevalent.)
But if you’re a connection-oriented entrepreneur for whom it’s important to maintain the connections and sustain the conversation on which your business is built, your interactions with your audience must sometimes be from a place other than The Launch. You must sometimes relinquish the dollar value of a few affiliate sales in favor of the perhaps less tangible–though arguably no less rewarding–value of connection for connection’s sake. You’ve got to interact with your audience as individuals and not as potential sources of commission or sales. Otherwise, you eventually become just a really talented infomercial host.
As creative entrepreneurs, the pressure to always be selling and never stop launching is significant. While many of us pay lip service to the idea of slowing down, simplifying and fostering our connections, we tend to jump at the chance to promote every launch within our network, fearing that if we don’t, the person launching will dismiss us from his network or affiliate program. We tend to view any downtime in our own creative cycles as space that “should” be filled with active promotion.
And then we collectively lament our exhaustion, yearn for a solution, and soon wind up promoting the latest manifesto on simplification or e-book about slowing down. (Wash, rinse, repeat.)
The pressure to promote, to launch, to hype the latest offering is never going to subside. A little of that pressure is good: it keeps us motivated, aware of the necessity of forward motion, and juiced for good opportunities. But too much of that pressure is stifling and fatiguing. Trying to work at the speed of that pressure is unsustainable.
The only solution is to draw your own line of when enough is enough, both for you and your audience. What’s enough for you and your audience might vary greatly from what’s right for me and my audience. But here’s a tip: If you’re feeling launch fatigue, your audience probably is too.
Draw your own line
Do you suffer from launch fatigue, either as bombarded audience member or as weary launcher? How do you draw the line and create space for conversation and connection?
About the Author: Marissa is a Can-Do-Ologist who gives creative entrepreneurs an extra brain-on-the-team and pair of hands so they can focus on their great work. If you’d like to find out more about her, check out her website or follow her on Twitter.