To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how I have ended up in this situation, but I’m seeing an increase in makers from around the world reach out to me to help them on launch day by hunting their product on Product Hunt. Some of them ask me for advice about their products and their launches (which I always gladly give when I have the time) and some just want me to be the ‘hunter’ because my slightly-higher-than-average follower count will expose them to a larger group of the “right” people. I’m far from the person with the most followers on the site but I sense that there are also other qualities that makers are looking for in hunters– like types of products previously made & hunted, online personality, location and so on. Nevertheless as someone who has launched things, I find it humbling and exciting to be able to play a small part in helping out with someone else’s launch.
So consider this article a short primer on what you need to know before reaching out if you’re looking for someone to hunt your product. First a few answers to common questions I’m hearing:
Why not just hunt my own product?
Hunting your own product can be a perfectly viable thing to do (that’s how I got started). But at this point in the story of Product Hunt, I think it’s worth considering the upsides of having someone else hunt your product for you. When someone hunts a product, their followers get notified. So if you just created your account and are only followed by your closest friends, you’re going to be missing out on a network effect that could potentially cost you a spot in the top list of that day. You really only get one chance with your launch on PH so you want to maximise your chances of exposure. Having a popular hunter do the hunting and write a bit about the product in the first comment is a great start.
When is a good time to submit to Product Hunt?
You want to have your hunter submit to PH on the day of your launch, right around midnight UTC-8 (roughtly aroung 9am GMT+1 for mainland europeans). This is right after the daily PH cycle refreshes (their servers run on PST time) and it allows you as long a window as possible to get a good ranking for the day. 24 hours of votes is a lot better than 12 hours of votes.
There’s a lot more that could be written about launching on PH in general, but that’s a topic for another day.
Ok, so you’ve decideded you want to work with a hunter to launch your product on PH. What’s the best way to go about it?
Step 1: Finding your hunter and reaching out
You want to find someone who first of all have a descent following of good peers on PH and on Twitter. It can be pretty hard to judge the quality of someones network, so a good way of learning more about someone (and thus the people interested in that person) is to look at products that person has made and hunted in the past. I think it’s nice if there’s some alignment of values here. If you’re launching a health app maybe look through popular health apps on PH to see who hunted them. If you have someone you look up to in the community, try reaching out to them. Finding your hunter shouldn’t just be going for the highest follower count, it should be the right person for your launch.
Once you have decided on a hunter, write a short email introducing yourself, a few paragraphs about the product you’re launching and when you expect to launch. Then ask kindly (but directly) if that person might be interested in hunting the product. Keep things polite and brief. Everyone is busy and you’re more likely to get through the clutter if you’re doing things short and sweet.
Step 2: Creating a launch kit
Your favorite hunter said yes and you’ve set the date for the launch! What you need now is to prepare a launch kit for your hunter. This should contain everything the hunter needs to submit to PH and make your product look good. Here’s what it needs to contain:
- Category — e.g. Tech, Games, Books (Choose several, Tech is by far the most popular category)
- Name — Only the product’s name, no description in this part
- Tagline — Very short description of the product (This needs to be catchy)
- URL — Direct link to the product page (avoid links to press or blogs) as the primary link and then app store links
- Thumbnail — The image that will display next to your name and tagline. Think of it as your products avatar. It needs to be a square dimension. GIFS are encouraged here.
- Images — Images of your product. Somewhere between 2–5 images highlighting your product.
- Video — Preferably a link to a youtube video. This will always display first in your library of media on the PH page of your Product, so this is essentially what most people will see.
- Makers — Twitter accounts for the people who actually made the product and who you want to be labeled as ‘Makers’.
I put together a quick example of a launch kit we made when we launched Arcade Trail.
Example launch kit
Category: Tech, iPad, iPhone, Indie Games
Name: Arcade Trail for iOS
Tagline: Pocket-sized game discovery
URL: arcadetrail.com & apple.co/2sttHjv
Thumbnail & Images: http://bit.ly/2rnm7SP
Makers: @flarup, @ulrikdamm, @ksmandersen
Step 3: Launch
On the night before your launch (or on the morning of your launch if you’re in Europe) your hunter uses the content of your launch kit to submit the product to Product Hunt. Once everything has been submitted to PH, it’s customary for the hunter to write the first comment with a few paragraphs about why he or she has hunted this particular product. Here it is nice if the hunter highlights some things about the product that entices them and why they think it’s relevant for the PH community. The hunter has marked the relevant people as makers, and they’re now free to make edits and, most importantly, partake in any discussions on the product page. Makers usually also post an introductory comment on the page thanking the hunter for hunting the product and writing a few paragraphs about why they’ve built this particular product. As makers your goal is to be responsive on launch day and get as much activity going on your product hunt page — so it’s great to be as open and communicative as possible. Loose the marketing lingo and make it more personal. Product Hunt is a community of other makers, they’re not necessarily your customers but your peers.
If done right (and with a bit of luck) launching on Product Hunt can be a great addition to your launch strategy. Some products do better than others on the site, and there’s always the chance that you’ll get little or no traction. But if you have the right product, the right timing and a good hunter to help you out you’re off to a great start.