My Secret Weapon

A useful side-project promotion method based on curating own resources directory (collection).

 

Hey, my name is Alexander Isora. I develop many side projects in my spare time. I also enjoy inventing creative promotion strategies.
My point is that classical techniques to attract visitors should not be a priority because they are too competitive: you may be very good at Tweeting stuff, making YouTube videos and writing guest blog posts but there are hundreds of active guys who do the same.

Being the “Blue Ocean Strategy” adherent, I always try to avoid competition 😌
Instead, I focus on attracting visitors in ways which no one did before. I call this approach “creative marketing”.

Today I will reveal one of my secret techniques that keep driving highly motivated dudes to my projects.

Fasten your seatbelts, pals! Here we go! 🚀

Marketing Rocket launching

What is a directory (collection)

A directory is a public collection of useful links. It’s a curated list of noteworthy resources: tools, media, blogs, services, articles, products, people etc.

Living examples:

The value of a well-curated directory is undeniable.
First, it helps newcomers to choose the best things right away and save tons of time for seeking.
Second, it helps experienced users to discover something new.

What is the promotional power of a directory?

Imagine you have created a time-tracker. Your goal today is to make strangers want to visit your landing page, to sign up and to try out the product. You need to convince people who have not yet used your cool product that it is actually cool.

It is an especially hard task for new products and companies on a market. Your audience does not familiar with the brand yet and do not trust you. You are a complete mystery to them.
To make things better you need to position your brand in a market.

Let’s assume, you have created a directory of productivity tools and placed your newborn time-tracker near Toggle and Timely. This placement will subconsciously tell the visitors of your directory:

  1. What your product is (because everybody already knows Toggle and Timely and can easily establish a parallel).
  2. Your product is not lame (because people know that Toggle and Timely are great. Seeing your item in one row with great items makes it feel like your product is great too.).

The core algorithm of the method:

  1. Create a directory (list, collection, stack) of useful resources from a specific field that your product is into (e.g.: ruby development, motivation, web design, cooking).
  2. Promote the directory: it is much easier than promoting a commercial product! Lists save users’ time and bring something new to their lives. That is why everybody LOVE curated lists! People actively share and bookmark lists.
  3. Now place your product in the first place (unless you range products depending on users’ votes, of course). People will take for granted that number one is the best (well, it actually must deserve its position 😉).
  4. Enjoy motivated traffic!

Fun bonus: your list is a godsend for bloggers. Those guys are always hungry for something new to review. They will copy the top resources from your list and share it with their audience. As you remember, one the top resources in your directory are your own product (unless you have user-based ranging). Enjoy your press mentions appear AUTOMATICALLY.

For example, my cryptocurrency news aggregator (CoinBuzz.stream) got into several blogs after I’ve released my CryptoList.
Then a Hungary magazine HVG with 20M monthly views noticed those blog posts and reviewed my tool.

Zero negotiating with bloggers and zero $ spent on press – tons of new audience reached 😎

Numbers

You are curious to see the numbers, are not you?
Here they are 👐

CoinBuzz.stream traffic from GitHub
CoinBuzz.stream traffic from GitHub

Today CryptoList gives CoinBuzz.stream 3% of the external traffic (~9 users/day) and the number is constantly growing (I expect 1250-2500 weekly users in one year).

Remember, this is only direct users. There are a handful of bloggers who took the content from my list and gifted my projects additional coverage.

Have a look at the traffic stats of the repository:

CryptoList visitors stats.
CryptoList visitors stats.

How to create your own directory

  • https://chipmunktheme.com – ready to use WordPress theme for creating your own directory. I recommend this theme.
  • GitHub – hosting on GitHub is great, because people trust GitHub. Also, GitHub makes it much easier to crowdsource a list (my collection has got 10 contributors and the number is growing).
  • Code your own website from scratch. Creating a directory of resources is not that hard. You can start with a static version and add content manually. Do not forget to plan to add filters, users rating system, reviews, and submissions later!

Start collecting emails with Mailchimp ($30 bonus link here). Create a newsletter and inform the subscribers about new items. Twitter and Facebook would help grow your influence too.

Bonus

One great thing about your list is that you can reuse the content!
E.g., write an article “10 time-saving tools” and showcase it on your blog or in Hackernoon. Check out this example of mine.

Next, you can also create engaging Twitter/Facebook/forum posts with links from your list. People will love to discover cool stuff!

One more thing: your directory is a complete side-project itself. And this project can grow into something bigger.

For example, Bram’s Startup Stash today is more than just a list of useful links for startups. It’s a huge community of thousands of tech-savvy entrepreneurs.
Neat, huh? 😎

Good job, bram!

Conclusion

Creating your own list (directory) of useful links/tools from the same industry as your project’s may give you a good marketing boost.
Besides, curating a directory is a big fun. You constantly learn new tools, talk to founders who want to get on your list and always know about the best things in the market.

Do not assume curating a list as a routine. Make a ritual of it. Gift yourself relaxing 30 minutes: listening to your favorite Chopin’s Nocturne, brew refreshing peppermint tea and enjoy hunting precious gems!

P.S.

The weapon will never work if your product smells like 💩

 

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  1. Pingback: What I've learned from publishing 10 Product Hunt projects - Alexander Isora — Blog

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