This article was originally published on Medium.
Product Hunt has proven to be essential for start-up world, it gives you the opportunity to get feedback from highly skilled people around the world. What’s more, Product Hunt is backed by tons of great PEOPLE that build this unique and special community. That’s one of the reasons I love PH!
I read many articles about product launching (some were bad and some were the good ones. I read them with a simple question in my mind: how to prepare the best launch ever. The common answer wasn’t that easy: each launching is different there is no key to success… If launching a product was easy, everyone would be doing that and the value of a good launch would decrease a lot. I found a few patterns between the launches and sure you will be able to read them in a while!
I highly recommend you to read some of the best stories I found about Product Hunt launching; the more you know about the mechanism the better you will launch!
How I launched the #1 most upvoted product of all time on Product Hunt.
How Product Hunt Helped Me Grow A List Of 12,989,483,288+ Valuable Subscribers And Generate 220k+ In Sales In Less Than 20 Minutes Without
Having To Write A Single Line Of Code And Also Taught Me These 5+ Startup
Lessons From My Mistakes About Being A Product Manager in 2016 on Meerkat.
How Product Hunt really works.
How we got 1,000 up-votes on Product Hunt.
The things that matter the most. PRODUCT & STORY BEHIND IT
Create a product that solves problems. Show that behind the product there are real people that want to change the world.
To be honest, I’m not sure what time zone is the best one. 😉 We wanted to get the most attention from US and I think we achieved what we wanted. 620+ up-votes seems like a success in case we are a small startup from Poland/Germany. We posted Proud on Saturday a few minutes after midnight in San Francisco. (UTC/GMT -8 hours) and it passed the test! This is probably the moment when Product Hunt’s daily posts refresh for the next day. If you start early on, you will be visible for the whole 24 hours on the main page (and a few next days!).
This is what I tried to emphasize in the previous articles: if you have connections you are half a winner! I think networking is the best thing you can do, no matter what you are doing. Build the community around yourself and your product the very first day of its existence. Keep in touch with Product Hunt team, there are many interesting and friendly people that are ready to help you. Mechanism behind featuring on PH is not well known. I recommend writing to someone from PH, ask questions, ask for advice and make friends with them in general. Let them know when you are going to post your product. They will help you, hopefully even with getting featured.
Step-by-step Product Hunt launching log based on Proud:
— Just after being featured on Product Hunt we wrote a short email to our community. During Proud development we got over 1000 emails so we thought we are going to inform them that we are featured on PH today. (Remember don’t ask for up votes, just let people know that you are there) ;).
— We posted on our personal profiles a short info about Proud’s launch. /Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, We wanted to share how proud we are we finally succeeded to launch our app!
— I wrote my very first article about App marketing: to boost the launch I published it the day 1st to create even larger hype. People commending under our product told us that our story is perfect for Medium. It boosted my motivation to finish the article even more. A few hours later, I added a comment there with a link straight to Medium.
— I posted my article on a few subreddits but it wasn’t succesful. They were removed the first minutes they appeared there. I’m still unsure why…
— Piotr also wrote the article: The story of the code, love and success. Which was a story from developer’s perspective on how to create a good product.
— After that both of us also published these articles on LinkedIn.
— Piotr posted info about Proud on several FB and LinkedIn groups that connect app developers from all around the world.
— Then we prepared posts for each social media channel connected to our product: both on Facebook and Twitter. We asked our friends to share/RT posts to get more attention and engagement.
— I posted info about Proud on Reddit, but nobody seemed to care about our launching! I don’t know (yet) how to get the right attention and hype on Reddit. Once I know that, I will share my experience with you ;).
— The crucial thing was our Productivity Handbook, we’ve done everything to promote it during Product Hunt wave. I think that it was the right thing for people that weren’t yet sure about purchasing Proud.
— We replied on each comment and tweeted all the time, it took the most of our time. It’s the most important thing you can do, build trust at the very beginning with your future clients.
— That was the hardest part of our work: we had to find the best coffee shop in Wroc?aw to work for the next few hours. It was January the 1st and it was -17 degrees!!! It was the coldest day of the whole winter in Poland!
A few words about Product Hunt Collections
To our surprise, we were featured second time on Product Hunt. This time PH mentioned about us in PH collections. You can read the whole article here: 5 Tools to Help You Optimize Your Life. PH appreciates good products that people love, it seems that many product hunters loved Proud!
My small confession
I will tell you a secret about Proud. We’ve been working on it for over 2 years and there were only me and Piotr. We made it with love to each other and to give people the unique experience when it comes to productivity and life. We didn’t have expectations about its success at all. We’ve been working on it for so long that there were like 5–8 times we wanted to quit Proud. We were faced with many problems during the process. I was at high school, Piotr had many other projects, and Proud was just a small side project for both of us. But… after such long period of time, we saw that every iteration was gaining more and more traction. I found over 1000 beta testers that helped us to improve Proud on daily basis. One thing that you have to do during working on your product is simply: LISTEN TO PEOPLE, ASK WHAT THEY REALLY WANT. I feel like doing that was the success story behind Proud.
What’s more, Piotr is a great developer with the passion to creating extraordinary things. He is also a Graphic Designer and Music Composer. His vision and valuable skills helped us create a product that can change the way people see their time. This is the moment when I want to thank you Piotr for being such a wonderful person.
A few stats from January (for stat lovers!)
—620+ upvotes on Product Hunt
—500+ emails with the feedback
—14k+ unique visits on Proud website
—100 new likes on Facebook
—Proud has been featured on the App Store in 18 countries around the Europe.
—Over 600 people are waiting for Proud on Mac.
—30+ reviews and articles written about Proud, 2 youtube reviews.
Taking care of the reviews was the most difficult task during working on Proud. Just like preparation for product launching on PH I also read every story on how to write to the journalists and… At the first day of our launch, we didn’t have any response from anybody. That’s still a very good lesson because it wasn’t about the first day, it was about the following days… Here’s how I organized my work a few weeks before launching.
1. I created a google spreadsheet and I started looking for potential reviewers.
2. I started to get to know each of them, I was trying to contact them through Twitter, I commented their stuff (but not in a pushy way). I didn’t write about Proud, I just wanted to check if there is any way they could remember my name or my face.
3. Then I created a few versions of the email (short/long one). I even watched a course about that: Learn How to Get Press for Your Company! Proud was our first big product but nobody knew about us at all. Even with the good product it was hard to find any attention and/or engagement from the press.
In the beginning, I wrote to the potential reviewers to ask about their opinion (it was about a month before the final release). I got 2 replies, but they weren’t too enthusiastic: “Sounds good, but I don’t have much time”. “Seems very helpful” — that’s all. Even after being featured on Product Hunt contacting reviewers was difficult.
After the Product Hunt wave, we finally started to get a ton of emails from the reviewers because they got very interested in covering us. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just simply wait for the right time.
A few rules of thumb
— Don’t be disappointed of the lack of responses, you don’t have any influence on it. In the beginning I took all those emails too personally, I focused on having a press coverage rather than creating a value on a daily basis. It was a disaster for my personal motivation but after that moment I told myself to never commit this mistake again!
— If you are going to write to a journalist the best time is somewhere about 10 AM on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. (that was the advice from the person that had a press coverage of his product).
— When you send the email, make sure you write a quick tweet to the person you wrote.
My strategy for Press relations. Spend 1 hour per day on this following strategy.
– Create a list of 3 people you want to connect with.
– Read and learn the way they write, what they like and what don’t. What are their hobbies and interests. We are humans, we like when somebody give us compliments and show the true interest in us. This is the same both about reviewers and journalists. They are the same as you, they have their families, duties, problems etc. Try to understand them, rather than beg for the coverage of your product!
– Participate in the public conversation, provide valuable comments, opinions, ask questions, engage with other users. Be active part of his/her community.
– Find the common ground! Maybe you love the same music artist, author of the book or others. In that case, you can frankly speak without the pressure that you are pushy in any way.
– Learn to deal with rejection. Making friends with journalists and reviewers is a long and hard process, but is worth the commitment. It may take a few weeks or even a few months so don’t get discouraged. Do your best, and you will achieve the results :).