A story of launching a startup in times of crisis

launching a startup

When I announced to my close network that I was launching my new startup Copy Generators, some thought I had gone a little mad. 

Why would you launch a startup at a time when everyone is living through one of the worst crises of a generation?

Having been researching the market and concept behind Copy Generators for a couple of months before COVID-19 turned our world upside down, I knew an opportunity was there but fast forward to the beginning of the crisis in March and things were changing quickly. Companies were closing down, staff were being furloughed and we all started to realise the true impact of the virus on lives and the economy.

What is Copy Generators?

Copy Generators is the home of unlimited copywriting for a fixed monthly fee. Every month you can request as many content pieces as you need for your brand, whether that’s blog posts for your site or product descriptions for your ecommerce store. 

The idea came about when I was looking at my other business, a sustainable branding and marketing agency. A lot of brands we work with treat content like a tap, they push content out and then turn the tap off when they’ve produced “enough”. Good content marketing should be a constant in a business, a flow of regular content can keep audiences engaged and work hard for a brand. That’s where the idea of Copy Generators came about, removing the need for a new invoice every time you need a content piece, removing the search for a consistent freelance copywriter, removing the need for back and forth trying to fix project budgets.

The vision for Copy Generators is to make copywriting and content marketing accessible to any organisation, no matter the size of your marketing budget.

What were the biggest considerations before launch?

COVID-19 obviously threw a bit of a spanner in the works when you’re planning on launching a startup. In the first week I thought we would need to revisit all of our market and audience research. The rules that applied to marketing before the crisis definitely didn’t apply. But the main reason for launch remained the same and the fact we were likely now heading towards a recession made the offer of cutting content marketing budgets perhaps even more attractive to our target audience.

Having said that, our approach to launch was much different and we followed a three rule strategy when we launched:

  • Be sensitive: Lives have and still are being lost. People don’t want to see brands shamelessly advertising or using the crisis as a way of profiting unethically. We needed to frame our messaging and launch to get across the main reasons for launching – to help small businesses grow with content marketing despite the negative outlook for lots of industries. 
  • Going on the attack: I’m a big believer in being proactive rather than reactive. While some brands sat back and waited to see what the government announced I wanted to make sure we were putting ourselves in the best position to survive and thrive. In order to revive our economy, we need to push and attack opportunities where they’re available.
  • Responding to changing behaviours: Consumer behaviour has changed beyond all recognition in recent months. So with everyone spending more time at home some traditional marketing strategies wouldn’t work. We needed to create a plan that would help marketing managers working from home and build awareness of Copy Generators using digital channels.

A successful launch week

I was pretty apprehensive about launching during the crisis, but if Dua Lipa can launch an album and make a success of it, I’m sure a startup can do the same. 

In our first week we have generated a healthy pipeline of prospects who love the concept and have signed up clients who have already submitted their first content requests on the platform.

To anyone thinking about whether now is the right time to launch, I’d say do your research and make sure it’s the right time but as with any startup there often isn’t an ideal time to launch so go ahead and do it. Just make sure you’re sensitive to the situation and are adding genuine value to your target audience. 

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