The Complete Guide to Launching on Product Hunt

Product Hunt is a place where journalists, investors, and members of the tech community spend time discovering and discussing new products. Comprised of a community of innovators and early adopters, the platform can help reach a large audience all at once: famously one product received 43,000 unique views by being voted to number one. The front page of PH gets the most exposure, and these top products are promoted in their email digest. But in order to reap these benefits, it’s vital to understand how PH works, and be creative about how to make the most of your launch.

In an effort to help RDV founders maximize their PH launch, we’ve created a step by step guide in addition to some tips from RDV founders and members of the community to help you prepare and launch on PH.

**Special thanks to contributors Natasia Malaihollo of Wyzerr, Mathew Pregasen of Parsegon, and Matt Arbesfeld of Apphub/LogRocket.**

Prep:

In the months before:

1. If you’re new to PH, start by exploring collections, posting comments, and getting a feel for how the community functions.

2. Build an email list months before you launch. This should include influencers, advisors, and friends who will support you during launch day.

3. If you have newsletter subscribers, plan to send out a special message to them specifically about your Product Hunt launch.

4. Create a list of your company’s mentors who have a strong following on Twitter. Let them know they can tweet out your PH page link with a description on launch day to show their support.

In the weeks before:

1. Find a “hunter.” A hunter is a PH influencer, someone who has many followers all of whom will be notified when he or she submits the product either via email or through the PH notification system. Here’s a list of the top 500 Hunters on Product Hunt — having one of them add your product will certainly increase your chance of being featured and the number of upvotes you’ll receive when you are featured.

4. Create a kit for the hunter. This will include:

  • Name of the product (max 60 characters).
  • The URL you want to promote. Include the URL that links to your app as well, if you have one.
  • Tagline (max 60 characters).
  • The platforms your product runs on.
  • Media — between 5 and 10 images showcasing different parts of your product. Use gifs and emojis! PH’s entire brand is built around emojis & gifs (especially those that include cats). If you also have a YouTube video, definitely include this as well.☺️ 👍🏻⚡️📱📆📈💻
  • Give out something to the Product Hunt community. Whether that’s an exclusive opportunity to try the beta or a discount of 20–30% off of the product — the community will appreciate this.

5. Plan Your “Hello World!” comment. Once your hunter posts the product, this will be 2–3 paragraphs describing the company, how and why it was created, the problem it addresses, and goals for the product.

6. Create your non PH messaging. This is language unique to each platform you plan to share the launch across. This might include a post on Facebook, a short LinkedIn blog post, a post on Quora, Slack groups, Twitter, Reddit, or Intercom. Change up the format for each and be sure to tag or link to relevant people and influencers. Now is also a great time to draft some of the thank you posts and tweets that are easy to copy and paste in order to recognize anyone who will help you on launch day.

7. Create your newsletter (if applicable) to announce your PH launch.

8. Plan a launch date and time with your hunter. The PH day starts at midnight PST, so it is best to post early in the day to get ahead of others who might post at later times. Make sure the launch day does not coincide with other important days such as announcements from Apple or Google.

9. Prep a list of common q&a. On launch day you’ll want to engage with all users, especially ones that are asking questions. Pre-write these answers so you can easily alter, copy, and paste.

10. Clear your calendar. On launch day you and your team should do nothing but share links, answer questions, and stay actively engaged with everyone on the platform.

Launch Day:

  1. Be in sync with the hunter as they post your product.
  2. After they post your product, add your pre written “Hello World” comment. It is also important to put a space between the time posted and the first comment to avoid it looking ingenuine.
  3. Promote the link and pre written posts across all social media networks, to your email list, and customers.

4. Send out your special message to email/newsletter subscribers specifically about the launch with your call to action button includes.

5. Reply to everything! Stay active in the community which will help push your post to the PH home feed.

6. Thank everyone who shared and upvoted the product.

Tips:

📈 ProductHunt uses an acceleration conscious ranking system. If your post has 200 likes but is only gaining one like every ten minutes, this will fall behind a post that has 140 likes but is gaining one like every four minutes.

✋ PH asks makers not to ask for upvotes, rather to share the link and get people to join the conversation. Asking for upvotes directly may result in a post getting pushed down the feed.

📽 Make sure the gifs/pictures are under 3MB, especially the thumbnail image — otherwise, you’ll have issues with them loading on various social media platforms and they won’t cross-post to other platforms.

😍 The tone you take in your comments is VERY important! Be humble, don’t brag, don’t oversell, don’t get defensive. These are early adopters and usually influencers. You want them to evangelize on your behalf. You have to be likable.

📜 You don’t have to be #1 to get on the newsletter, you just have to finish in the Top 6. Read the newsletter in the days before to find the number of votes that the #4 company finishes with — shoot for 75 more votes than the #4 company.

💬 Lots of people might now reach out to you via email or other social channels. This is another opportunity to convert them into email subscribers, or ask for a review, or any other CTA you’re focused on.

📨 It may be best to post later in the week in hopes of getting featured in the weekend PH email as well.

📱 Make sure that not too many people are upvoting from the same IP address or location, or else your product has a chance of getting blacklisted. A simple way around the IP address issue is to get people to upvote via the app, or on a cellular data connection.

📘 For long term exposure, add your product to a popular collection so that people can better find you through organic search.

🚶🏻 Always use your personal account on Product Hunt. Do not create a company account or brand account.

💣 “Uber for X” caption phrasing seems to backfire. You can describe it broadly as “X for Y” but double check that it doesnt sound too cheesy or sales oriented.

☠️ Beware of the Twitter tweet & DM limit.

🔨 Developer tools has a higher success ratio than industry oriented tags.

📅 It is near impossible to beat Facebook, Snapchat, Google, Apple, Spotify, etc. re-branded products. These companies seem to release on Friday and Monday, so worth averting those days. Also, avoid dev-conference days where products may be released.

… and sometimes, the way to get 2nd place on ProductHunt remains an enigma.

Additional Reading:


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