It's not what you know, it's who you know

Published on
November 8th, 2021
Category
How To
After launching a new product into the startup community, we noticed the impact of an engaged network. We tapped three strategies to build relationships, awareness, and turn our followers into fans.
An often-quoted idea is "it's not what you know, but who you know," and we ran with it. Upflowy in the past 12 months has been building an audience and then recently, leveraging that audience for our Product Hunt launch. Through a three-pronged strategy of content, outreach, and personal branding we bolstered up our network. We created meaningful professional relationships, learned valuable lessons, and took the company higher and higher. We maintained a value-driven approach toward growth, learning, and experimentation. When it came to our launch on Product Hunt, we were supported incredibly well after having fostered an engaged advocate community.
They showed up for us. As we break down each of the prongs, we'll give some actionable steps so you too can work towards the "Avengers Assemble" style moment for your launch.
At the end of the day, we hope this article will help with brand awareness.
So let's break it down to the three strategies:
● Content
● Networking
● Outreach
The first and often overlooked strategy:

Content

Offering value beats hacks in networking

The network that you establish can be born from a content marketing perspective. As a producer of any content, your wish is to share insight and value with your audience. Content should impact and resonate with the wider world. An audience for your content is required.
At Upflowy, we created multiple series of content to allow for audience building. One content stream was our Net Positive Podcast which put our business into direct contact with industry leaders who share their insight and experience. We began to build an audience of podcast listeners keen to learn more. We positioned our brand around learning, growth, and product and built credibility and exposure. By the end of the season, we had 20 guests who were all interested in Upflowy and were influencers for our product.
Another stream was the Net Positive Growth Series, a series of articles focusing on industry leaders who achieved growth — another opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with influential and thought-leading individuals. One story focused on Dan Siepen, an Australian growth marketer, who went on to become the Hunter for our launch. Developing a network from a value perspective meant we had the opportunity to learn from the best, but count on their support too.
Finally, our co-founder Guillaume Ang has been writing case studies and creating Youtube videos on signup flows, titled Flow State. He has the industry authority to dissect companies and the flows they're using. Upflowy empowers individuals to create signup flows, and our content equips them with industry best practices and insights. Not only do the case studies create greater authority for Upflowy, but they allow us to leverage the audiences of these companies who he was reviewing.
What can you do?
● Using your medium of choice, create regular content that seeks to add value from your expertise.
● Find individuals who are creating similar content and collaborate.
● Create content within Product Hunt, the discussion boards are a great place to start.

Network

Build your personal brand to boost your business

Think about the connections you have made in the last 5 years. Where have these people come from? Networking events? Existing connections (the old friend of a friend)?
When I think of a personal brand, I don’t just mean in the online world. It isn’t just about showing up on Twitter or LinkedIn each day to be seen as a thought leader (although that can help). Your ability to build your network can generate more exposure for your product (and help when it is Product Hunt Launch time). If you have a team, even better, the more the merrier.
Sometimes it really is a numbers game.
How can building a network help in your Product Hunt Launch?
Directly after our launch on Product Hunt, our co-founder Guillaume Ang, attended a Fishburners Pitch Night to pitch the Upflowy product. This not only got the brand in front of more eyes, but showed Guillaume as a subject matter expert. Our Head of Product, Kay Pengelly, attends Sydney Startup Hub (Fishburners) events with her Upflowy t-shirt on and visible. She builds connections at these events and also agreed to give product feedback on other founders’ apps for product feedback on ours.
We found all of our team members were able to use the network they had to generate more exposure for our Product Hunt launch.
Do some research.
Look at the networking events coming up and put yourself out there. Make sure to go with branded clothing or some great talking points where you can show your expertise, and show your product off.
Also, look around. What connections do you already have? Can they connect you with people in their network? Don’t be afraid to ask. Start building that personal brand and from there, your company brand will grow too!
If you want to get super connected. Create a list of all your network connections and continue to nurture that list!
What can you do?
● Attend a virtual or in-person networking event and interact with people, you never know who you might run into!
● Begin to reach out to your own personal network (LinkedIn and Twitter are great places to start)

Outreach

Reach out the right way.

So, you're launching and you want to activate your network?
Throughout the last twelve months, employees of Upflowy have been involving themselves in various communities on Slack, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Additionally, they have been contributing on sites like Growth Hackers and Dev.to. Product Hunt itself was incredibly valuable in building our network of like-minded makers, trying to solve the same problems.
Primarily, the goal within these communities is to build relationships. This approach should help shape how you interact with people in the lead-up to one's launch. The community on Product Hunt is filled with people who can solve problems for you with their own products. Never underestimate this platform.
It is incredibly difficult to create one message that you can send to your entire network to be successful in outreach for a particular event. Outreach to multiple people and communities requires many messages, different copy, and personalization.
As far as our personal networks are concerned, we knew that for LinkedIn and Twitter outreach, we needed to be personal. We never mass messaged people — everything was individual, personalized, and based on the previous relationship we built over the past months and years. We wanted everyone at Upflowy to have a message they could use that was unique to them and to the community they were involved in. Examples of some of our messaging that would require unique copy include: the influencers who share your launch, personal LinkedIn Messages, Slack DMs, Twitter DMs.
We managed to have our waitlist well prepared, with a drip-email campaign talking about our launch approaching. Our communities were kept warm, thanks to consistent interaction from our team. As members of the community, our first and only priority was adding value to that community because so much value had been brought our way. These groups had helped us with our landing page, our messaging, our customer feedback and so much more.
So what can you do?
● Join a Slack community that relates to you personally or your company
● Contribute to discussions on Product Hunt
● When messaging people to connect, be genuine, unique, and honest.

Final thoughts

After launching a new product into the startup community, we noticed the impact and importance of an engaged network. We tapped into these three networking strategies to build relationships, awareness and ultimately turn our followers into fans (or Product Hunt supporters in this case).
To help you in the process, here are some actionable steps you can take away and put into practice right now.
1. Give before you ask
2. Collaborate
3. Attend networking events
4. Join community channels like Facebook groups and Slack channels
5. Create content
6. Ask your connections to connect you with others
7. Outreach to your audience and 'nurture' your network
That is how we have found some great success in generating exposure for our Product Hunt launch as well as generating brand awareness. I hope you have success with these tips and please let me know if there are any questions you might have!
Published on
November 8th, 2021
Category
How To
Comments (13)
Karthik Kamalakannan
Founder of Hellonext.co
Thank you for writing this Matthew. "Give before you ask" is the most life changing insight I have ever gotten. It has added a ton of value both in my personal life and professional life.
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Alexandre Girard
I'm a human
Kudos to our teammates leading the Product Hunt launch who managed to gather and bolster the whole company, even the least socially active members that you would often find in the engineering team. It made a difference in term of engagement and also got everyone committed to a successful campaign.
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Mitchell Orme
🏅 Thankyou 4 supporting Upflowy to #1🏅
Really great insight @matthew_browne1, having some immediate actions to be able to take is really valuable. A lot of other articles about product hunt launches have general guides, but great to see actionable advice!
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Stewart Barrett
🚀Thankyou 4 supporting Upflowy to #1🚀
Incredible article, really highlight the power of not just networking but giving back to create those meaningful relationships you can come back too again and again.
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Dan Siepen
Growth Marketer | dansiepen.io
Thanks again for the mention Matt and was stoked to support you guys! Amazing product, amazing launch and amazing team :D
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