Small Product Lab (Days 3–4): Landing page and showing my work
It is day four of my foray into creating and launching a product in 10 days. In my case, the product is a package of three writing style guide templates – the above image is the first glimpse of what they look like. I’m finding the process rather fun. Yesterday I added more content to my landing page. Today my main job is to tell you all about it.
Day 3: Creating a landing page
Many people taking part in the Small Product Lab (SPL) are using Gumroad’s built-in landing page and mailing list tools. This makes perfect sense. They combine well to do the job of collecting pre-launch sign-ups. But I wanted something a little different. I wanted to create a landing page on my own domain – www.writingstyleguides.com – that I could develop and add to over time.
I’m no web developer, but I know enough to set up and use one of the many squillion HTML templates out there. I settled on Launch Kit, which I bought on Themeforest for just $17. It has its own page builder, which means apart from adding analytics and a few SEO-related bits and pieces, I’ve barely touched the code.
The copy on the page is no more than fine. Accepting that was a big challenge for me. I’m a copywriter and I like to spend a lot of time really thinking about a product or service before I come up with something just right. I don’t have time for that on this project. I want to hit my 12-day launch deadline and can’t afford to mess about. I can improve it later. For now, it will have to do.
There is just one call to action on the page at the moment – to join the mailing list and be ‘the first to know’ when the templates are ready. I’ve had around 20 sign-ups, which is okay considering I’ve not had chance to do a lot of promotion. That will come later too.
One thing I’m learning from this process is that it’s okay to not be in a position to do everything at once. And that I shouldn’t let that stifle me. I should get on and do what I can. One step at a time.
I might make the templates available for pre-order later in the week. For now, if you think they might be up your alley, head over to the landing page and add your email address. I’ll let you know when they launch.
Day 4: Show your work
Being part of the SPL means receiving an email each morning that provides guidance and key tasks to complete over the course of the day. Today is all about sharing. For those who listen to the Write for Your Life podcast, you can imagine my delight at finding a huge quote from one of my online faves, Austin Kleon.
It’s a great quote from his book, Show Your Work:
“Almost all of the people I look up to and try to steal from today, regardless of their profession, have built sharing into their routine. These people aren’t schmoozing at cocktail parties; they’re too busy for that. They’re cranking away in their studios, their laboratories, or their cubicles, but instead of maintaining absolute secrecy and hoarding their work, they’re open about what they’re working on, and they’re consistently posting bits and pieces of their work, their ideas, and what they’re learning online. Instead of wasting their time “networking,” they’re taking advantage of the network. By generously sharing their ideas and their knowledge, they often gain an audience that they can then leverage when they need it—for fellowship, feedback, or patronage.”
At the start of this year, I said I was going to follow this advice, but for one reason or another, it just hasn’t happened. This is what I wrote in January:
I don’t find it useful to write in isolation. I used to write and share more. I’d like to do that again.
Hopefully, people will buy and enjoy using my style guide templates. But if nothing else comes from taking part in the SPL, quickly knocking out these updates, even though this is only my second, has been a revelation. It’s made me realise how much I enjoy writing about my work. I used to do it all the time, then my novel got published and for some reason, I retreated. At least on this blog.
Next month, my podcasting partner in crime, Donna Sørensen, is coming to stay with us in the UK. We have lots to talk about. One of those things will be how our little podcast takes shape in the future, and how we can make sharing and community a fundamental part of it.
I’ve spent too long trying to write and work in isolation when my personal history tells me I work best when I share and show my work. I never thought making and selling style guides in 10 days would be the thing that helped me remember that. Funny old place, the internet.
More sharing soon. Pinky promise.
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