The Experience of Launching a Newsletter on Product Hunt

I launched my newsletter on Product Hunt. A few weeks earlier I had announced the newsletter, Practicing Google, and later sent the first three issues. How did launch day go on Product Hunt?

It was a dud.

Practicing Google on launch day in Product Hunt’s list of the newest submissions
Practicing Google on launch day in Product Hunt’s list of the newest submissions.

Early results

These data summarize the outcome of the launch, which added 2 subscribers to the 30 I had:
  • 3 upvotes on Product Hunt (including the default upvote)
  • 1 user comment on Product Hunt (including the maker’s comment)
  • 0 reviews on Product Hunt
  • 53 Twitter interactions
  • 2 new newsletter subscribers
This is not unexpected. Why? Because of an inescapable Catch-22: it takes a platform to build a platform.

I don’t have a platform. Twitter is the only social network I use (Facebook is a deal breaker) and my over 2700 followers are just not enough. Such an audience generates an average of a few interactions per tweet, not enough for any substantial promotion. This blog is 7 months old. My networking options and contacts are limited, too.

When starting out, everything happens at a snail’s pace and the launch couldn’t move the needle.

Preparations

Until a month or two earlier I wasn’t much familiar with Product Hunt. When I found out newsletters are among the supported product categories, I gave it a shot.

I didn’t do any extensive preparations and had no real plan. Why? Because, without a platform, the launch moment I chose was as good as any. Additional promotion or events wouldn’t have made a difference, anyway.

However, I read carefully the official Product Hunt launch guidelines and tried to follow them. For example, I crafted the best description and maker comment I could. And I arranged a less competitive launch day and time, Saturday at 8:45am PST.

The guidelines confusingly advise uploading gallery images with a size of 635x380 pixels. But the post editor suggests 1270x760 and most posted images are 864x670 in the light box, which is also what the Product Hunt support team recommends. Although there’s some wiggle room, it’s better to set a size and aspect ratio close to the latter.

Why launch on Product Hunt

While I hoped for some exposure, I was aware the odds were minimal or nonexistent. It’s fiercely difficult to stand out on Product Hunt. So why bother?

I didn’t launch for the immediate results but because of the long-term opportunities.

Although launches get a lot of attention, Product Hunt is also a product directory users turn to to search for things they need. These discovery opportunities are valuable long-term benefits of having an entry for my newsletter. And subscribers add up.

There are personal benefits, too. A launch is a way of learning to ship. My Product Hunt profile now features a maker badge I’m proud of.

Practicing Google - Weekly practical resources on Google products & related tech | Product Hunt Embed

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