Launching a campaign on Product Hunt can be daunting, especially in the middle of a pandemic. However, this guide should help you to launch successfully and meet all your goals.
Table of Contents:
- What is Product Hunt?
- Reach and benefits of Product Hunt
- Knowing and using The Product Adoption Curve
- Pre launch checklist
- Public Relations
- PR strategies and opportunities
- Press releases
- Press kits
- Last but not least let’s find a “Hunter”
- Launch day.
- Post launch
What is Product Hunt?
Product Hunt is a tech-lover’s platform that shares innovations or products with the public to generate support. By allowing the public to interact with your product through votes, reviews, and sharing, Product Hunt brings something essential to the product market. Be that as it may, in order to succeed on Product Hunt, your product must satisfy the following requirements. 1. Do I like it? 2. Does it work? 3. Will people pay for membership?
Reach and benefits of Product Hunt
Product Hunt is an emergent force in the tech, gaming and publishing industries. The effectiveness of the site allows the products that rank best to receive thousands of visitors just like its uncle, Google. Products are featured in front of thousands of eyes on launch day. Even more people see these products once they reach the top ten. Benefits of ranking high on Product Hunt range from having an audience with a large, passionate, influential community to getting essential feedback on the practicality of your product EARLY.
The Product Hunt community has a list of 250 000 registered members and an even larger number of lurking guests who choose not to register. The majority of that community consists of professionals – authors, entrepreneurs, press and investors – and all it takes is a feature to get their attention. Just to put things into perspective, Product Hunt contributed to the rise of Lexus, Amazon, Google and even Kung Fury.
Knowing and using The Product Adoption Curve
When an innovative product first makes its way into a market, it may take a few years to penetrate. The Product Adoption Curve is like an S-curve that demonstrates how to break down CUSTOMERS into 5 distinct segments: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, laggards.
Stage 1: Innovators
The first people to adopt or buy into an idea are called “innovators”. They are typically tech enthusiasts and they usually represent about 10% of the target population. They jump in early not only as investors but also to address the product’s critical issues.
Stage 2: Early adopters
In companies, early adopters are not decision-makers but adopt the role of influencers who can help to persuade others. They are extremely adept at building communities around your product. Think of them as proverbial angels on the shoulder. As soon as there are enough early adopters, the growth of your audience becomes self-sustaining.
Stage 3: Early Majority
These are the relaxed crowd who are ready to wait until they see a steady stream of mainstream users and certain proof that technical standards have been attained. Ultimately, these people rely on feedback from the early adopters to make their decision. Only when they are confident in the product are they ready to jump in with real investment that they feel they can get a return on. Commonly, this group forms about 40% of the target population. These are the decision-makers of the target market. In summary, early adopters and early majority prioritize the benefits of the tech you are offering, but they prioritize this less than people in later stages.
Stage 4: The late Majority
This is a tentative, risk-averse group of people who are unsure about their capability to master innovation. These people take up about 30-40% of the target population which will wait until products are more developed and tailored to the mass market.
Stage 5: Laggards
People at this stage simply hate technology and just never want to change. They only use technology when they absolutely have to. Tech sellers usually disregard them because of their low price threshold, sophisticated needs and low contribution to overall profit. Laggards take up about 10% of the target population.
2. Check out your competitors on Product Hunt: Try to understand what they’ve done well and what didn’t work for them.
3. Prepare your listing
4. Create personal accounts on Product Hunt for every team member
5. Link Twitter, FB, etc profiles with Product Hunt to upload your contacts: This way, it will be easier for your friends to find you and leave feedback.
6. Create a list of people to reach out to personally: You can ask them for feedback on your launch day. This works best when the people are already on Product Hunt. Prepare a personal message for them and send it on launch day. If you already know how to write a good pitch, then this step should be a breeze for you.
7. Personal message template: Do not overdo personal messages. Spammers don’t survive on Product Hunt.
8. Social Media templates: Don’t forget to tag @ProductHunt
9. Set a target: Figure out the numbers you would like to reach. The important metrics include but are not limited to:
- Upvotes and comments
- Follows/mentions(social media)
In order to get customer perception right, you should look into what excites your customers, and then to use it to your advantage when you want to attract them. Getting high-end customers on your side requires a focus on such things as quality, lighting, packaging, cleanliness and hygiene, and general details. The market segments your customers can be divided into will also help you to create buyer personas. These groups can give you insight into consumer habits, which will bring you closer to a successful launch.
The importance of good public relations
A good public relations strategy could do wonders for your campaign. All businesses need public relations, regardless of their size. However, good PR is more crucial before you launch a new product. In order for your PR efforts to generate sufficient publicity for your Product Hunt campaign, you need to start early enough. Don’t just launch a PR campaign two days before you launch on Product Hunt and expect to see instant results.
Public relations is a long game. In fact, it can take anywhere from one to nine months for your campaign to generate maximum publicity. For this reason, it’s important to invest in your PR early enough if you want to create a buzz for your new product. At the same time, you don’t want to do PR for your Product Hunt listing too early, because then by the time you’re actually launching people will have moved on and forgotten about you.
It’s not easy to do PR for a brand in the middle of a pandemic. If you need help building an effective PR strategy, then Pressfarm could be exactly what you need. At Pressfarm, we’re skilled at both creating quality content that helps brands to stand out and developing a media outreach strategy to get this content in front of the right eyes.
By crafting winning press releases, developing inspiring feature articles and designing creative media kits, we can help you build a memorable brand image. In addition to that, we curate media lists for each client, containing journalists in their specific niche. These lists are designed to help you match you with the best journalists to help you tell your story. If you want to create a buzz for your product launch, Pressfarm can help you do that.
“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”—Abraham Lincoln
Let us begin by looking at companies that have attracted negative publicity in the recent past, and the effects to their business.
The Beverley Hills Hotel and the Sultan of Brunei
The Sultan of Brunei was hit by a boycott to his iconic Beverly Hills Hotel in the midst of campaigning bidding for New York’s Plaza hotel, along with London’s Grosvenor House and the Dream Hotel in Lower Manhattan. The Beverley Hills Hotel boasts 100 years of service with some of the most infamous names: Rudolph Valentino, Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles and more common is The Eagles cover “Hotel California”. Their negative publicity came from the Sultan’s introduction of Sharia law, which includes punishment by public flogging, amputation and death by stoning for homosexuality, adultery and abortion. Celebrities like Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno publicly went against the Sultan’s call, costing him lose millions of dollars in cancellations. Protests continued until the Sultan reviewed his decision and eased the law.
Ever since a documentary by CNN dubbed “Black Fish” exposed the inhumane treatment of Orca whales at Sea World, the company’s image was tarnished. Formerly home to many memorable experiences and tourist pleasures, the company stock fell drastically 33% after this revelation, which encouraged PETA to go after the company’s image. The company eventually had to pledge to make upgrades to its practices but the damage was already done. New legislation soon followed, with the sole aim of making sure the whales would be released from captivity.
As far as examples of negative publicity completely ruining a company’s image go, none register as clear as American car manufacturer General Motors. Reports emerged of an 11-year backlog delay in the recalls of cars equipped with critically faulty ignitions that caused a number of deaths. Public disgust and fury led to televised Congressional Hearings, grilling GM CEO on the failure to address this critical issue. GM suffered $1.2 billion in recall-related charges, in addition to having to offer a $400 million compensation package for the victims who suffered as a result of their negligence. The trust they had earned from the public was lost in the blink of an eye.
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it”. Benjamin Franklin
While developing a PR strategy for your brand, it is important to understand the different types of media and how to use them. These are:
Owned media by definition is any form of media controlled by your company. In other words, this is any platform where you have control over what you tell the world about your brand. This includes social media posts, blog content, email newsletters and website copy. You fully control the content and its distribution (If you can edit and delete the content, then you probably own it). Owned media is valuable because it provides an effective platform for engaging customers and developing relationships throughout the customer lifecycle. Owned content can provide long-term growth benefits without a corresponding rise in costs.
Earned media is the inclusion of your brand in public conversations. Mentions of your brand in these conversations ultimately generate interest in your brand from the public. Earned media is essentially word-of-mouth advertising and, as such, is the best PR strategy for building a good reputation. This form of media is also the hardest to obtain. Since you are not in control of earned media and it is based on your merit rather than the size of your bank account, it is the hardest type of media to secure. It involves much effort and persistence… hence the name ‘earned media’.
Earned media comes from media relations and involves pushing your company, service, expert, opinion, or product in a news story – whether online, in print, on the radio, TV, podcasts, etc. When a newspaper or industry trade publication (blog, magazine, website) features or quotes your brand on local and national TV morning shows or the evening news, that’s earned media. When people think of PR, they usually think of earned media because it is the most influential type of media. However, in order to generate the right type of earned media, you need to manage your brand reputation closely. Positive earned media can do wonders for your brand. On the other hand, negative earned media can trigger a series of unfortunate events including a drop in stock price and loss of shareholder and public trust.
They say “people don’t buy products, they buy brands”. There is a reason why consumers continue to buy from the same brand for years on end. Paid media includes advertorials, sponsorships, advertising and sponsored content. In other words, it is any content you pay for. This also includes online ads, such as pay-per-click and Google Adwords, social media advertising for Facebook and Twitter, sponsored posts,(banner) ads, and YouTube ads that have become rampant recently.
PR strategies and opportunities
Doing PR for a startup in the middle of a pandemic isn’t easy. The nature of business events has changed and those who have adapted to the new normal have higher chances of surviving if not thriving, through these uncertain times. Unfortunately, those waiting on the sidelines for things to go back to normal will be left behind. Here are a few PR trends which you can plug into to boost your brand:
- Business events/Zoom meetings
- Community relations
- Corporate and social responsibility
- Crisis management
- Employee relations
- Media relations
- Social media
- Building online communities
Business Events/Zoom meetings during COVID-19
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, business events are not at all a practical idea. This is where platforms like Zoom come in. This virtual environment actually allows moderators to better control the flow of discussion and questions from the audience. Through private messaging one another behind the scenes, they can discuss how a session is going and make adjustments in real time.
“For example, we had one panelist who we thought was contributing a little bit too much,” one person says. The moderators responded by using private messages to help others to speak, and they made a mutual decision to ask questions made to draw comment from others.
While it might seem unconventional, businesses can market their brands more effectively to a countless number of more people via conference or live streaming. By hosting a virtual webinar or workshop, you are not only positioning your brand as an industry expert but also reaching a wider audience.
Community Relations is the process of creating building and fostering positive relationships with local communities around your business. You may invest in charity, special discounts, donations, basically ANYTHING that helps build bridges between you and the community.
Corporate and Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility ultimately boils down to the ethics of your brand. Good CSR includes such things as positive business practices, philanthropy, environmental responsibility on a local, regional and global scale. This is an essential branch of PR, thanks to millennials shining a light on business practices. Why is it so important to keep these millennials happy? Firstly, they represent the largest and most diverse generation in the history of the world, at 81.1 million (US population). Since they are so influential, they have shaped business practices around the world. For example, the #MeToo movement is the reason why sexual harassment in the office has been seriously revisited. Millennials are powerful, opinionated and very smart. According to millennials, the top 5 companies that are said to be taking CSR seriously are:
- Johnson and Johnson,
Here are some CSR goals worthy of commendation in this day and age:
- Reducing carbon footprints
- Improving labor policies
- Participating in fair-trade
- Charitable giving
- Volunteering in the community
- Corporate policies that benefit the environment
- Socially and environmentally conscious investments
Crisis management is the process of working towards a solution that reverses negative press surrounding a brand. Good crisis management requires a quick, adequate, strategic, response. With the right PR tools, crises can be avoided and even cleverly turned into an opportunity. In order to do this effectively, you need to do media monitoring, constant quality testing and look out for content that might be misconstrued or seen as offensive.
Employee relations is the process of creating, fostering and cultivating a positive employee perception of your brand or company. Internal PR, as it is more commonly known, involves dedicating resources to employee newsletters/communications, free training packages, employee perks and benefit packages, skill-boosting opportunities, employee appreciation events and participation and corporation with unions or other employee groups. This keeps employees highly motivated, hardworking and may turn them into brand advocates.
Media relations refers to building positive and mutually beneficial relationships with journalists, publications and other news outlets. More often than not, this involves creating and writing press releases, scheduling interviews and organizing press conferences. This process generates positive exposure for your brand and ensures the market is aware of you.
Social media is an important if not critical\way to generate earned and paid media. For the majority of companies, social media provides a wonderful alley for PR and marketing thanks to its efficiency in influencing the public, and attracting followers. Building an active social media presence can boost your credibility, hence boosting your profits as well. Nevertheless, brands need to be careful online because a simple mistake or tone-deaf tweet can be enough to make your brand go viral for all the wrong reasons.
Building online communities
Don’t underestimate the power of building an active online presence at a time when social distancing and stay-at-home orders have left most people feeling isolated. By engaging with your target audience online, you can help them feel seen and included. Ultimately, people who feel seen by a brand are more likely to develop brand loyalty. But that’s not all. Connecting with your target audience online can help you to understand their needs better. Since consumer needs are changing at an unprecedented rate, connecting with them personally will help you to understand these needs. Once you’ve done this, you can either develop products or adapt an existing product to meet these changing needs.
Press releases are the cornerstone of all good public relations campaigns. A proper press release will help you feature in the local news, get national media coverage and more importantly be seen as an industry authority. The secret to writing a good press release is to ensure that you help a reporter out. Producing a quality press release is an art: if done right it will generate publicity for your brand and propel you to new heights. Besides the benefits a press release offers you for your brand, bloggers, journalists and influencers always appreciate the benefits of a good story. If you have a good story – a story which is educational, engaging and authentic – you can get free PR.
Here is what you should avoid in your press release:
- Exaggerations and false promises
- A scripted sales pitch
- Self praise/congratulatory – “I/we are amazing, honestly!”
- Dripping with unimaginative acronyms and baseless hype
- A tacky list of boring technical information about a new product or business
- Simply the fact you are launching a product
- A glorified CV/biography of your founder
A press kit or media kit is a page on your website that holds resources and information for reporters and publishers. When done right, your media kits make it easy for reporters to get information about your product and brand with access to quality photos and marketing materials they can feed off of and use. Brands that have press kits make a lasting positive impression on journalists. When you compile a quality press kit, you are essentially telling the media, “Hi! We love the press. Here is everything you need to know about us!”
Benefits of a press kit
Beyond the free press a media kit holds a collection of recent noteworthy press releases. This collection of releases is a source of social proof and excellent referencing. Add to that a product and service fact sheet that is clear and accurate, and journalists will love you even more. You should also include an FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions) section, especially if the industry, product, or service is technical in nature or changes on a consistent basis. This fact sheet can be distributed easily and helps reporters and publicists with the kind of information you want to put out. Add some case studies, and you will compliment the rest of the information perfectly.
Finally, CAREFULLY, include some information on some of the accolades and awards you have received without sounding self-promotional. This will show the importance of your product and state the relevance of finding your place in the market.
After collecting all this information and compiling a press kit you are ready to reach out to a journalist via email.
Don’t forget to create an excellent logo before you do this.
A few months before the launch you should be:
- Exploring collections, posting comments, feeling your way into the inner workings of the website. Product Hunt’s algorithm rewards users who make an effort to build their profile by getting involved with community and supporting other products.
- Growing an email list over a few months. This should include influencers, advisors, and friends who will support you during launch day.
- If you have been doing a great job with your newsletter you should have subscribers, work towards sending out a special message to them specifically about your Product Hunt launch.
- Cheat-code: Make a list of your company’s mentors who have a solid following on Twitter and synchronize their tweets on their page with your PH page link with a description on launch day to show their support.
Find a Hunter
In the weeks before:
A hunter is a Product Hunt influencer, one who has accumulated followers of his own. This person will get a notification ping when he or she submits the product either via email or through the Product Hunt notification system. Any one of the top 500 Hunters on Product Hunt submitting your product is like an endorsement that will greatly improve the probability of your product or brand finding the right eyes, and pockets. Remember…this all still depends on the number of upvotes you get when you are featured.
Produce a special kit for the hunter which will include:
- Name of the product (max 60 characters).
- The URL you promote with the URL links to your app as well, if you have one.
- Tagline (max 60 characters).
- The platforms your product runs on.
- Media — 5 to 10 images showcasing different aspects of your product. Using gifs and emojis might seem unprofessional but these forms of content marketing could actually give your brand some personality and help you connect with your audience in an authentic way. In fact, Product Hunt’s entire brand is built around emojis & gifs (bonus points if you’ve used cats in yours)
- Free stuff works everywhere. Give something to the community: discounted items for starters.
At this point the tension at work will be at an all-time high and you may not know how to pull everything else together. Here’s a handy checklist for when this day arrives.
- Publish “ProductHuntized” page
- Send personal messages to friends and colleagues
- Send e-mails to signed up users
- Reach out to owners of relevant Product Hunt collections
You should also post on:
- Hacker News
1) Pop the bottle and take time to smell the roses. Celebrate! Thank your community.
If you have taken the tips in this article to heart and have been meticulous with the details, then your product most-likely got featured in the top ten and is on the way to changing lives for the better. Congratulations! Remember to share your accomplishments with everyone who was involved with the process and thank them for their support. Remember to give your hunters a special shout out.
2) Analyze your performance
Check your hit-list against your goal list and figure out where you were successful. Once the launch is done and you have followed the checklist check up on the social media mentions and take note of the most influential comments. Be sure to take note of any negative comments as well. Note this information down for future releases and launches as a sort of blueprint. If you can turn this into a scalable, replicable step-by-step process, then you have your golden ticket.
Product Hunt is an excellent channel for innovators, journalists investors and the general public to link up and engage in market making for vital products. Follow the tips in this guide and you will have a successful launch.