Building hype and marketing my personal projects has never been a strength of mine, which if you have as many ideas and side projects as me that you want to see succeed, is a bit of a problem.
What do I mean by Hype?
So, just to be clear by 'hype' I don't mean silly marketing to try and make something popular for a short period of time. I mean to increase awareness of something beneficial so that when launched, the maximum number of users are aware of it and can benefit from it.
Some of my previous projects have failed completely to take off, such as TweetFromEveryCountry.com whereas others have been slow burners such as PokerConquest.com which after appearing to be a complete flop on launch, seemed to catch word of mouth after 6 months and see the downloads subsequently explode, to date it has had over 15,000 downloads. I currently have plans to redevelop this UWP app for iOS.
I suppose I have a bit of a 'field of dreams' attitude when I launch something.. "If you build it, they will come" and I think I have had enough unsuccessful launches/projects to learn from this mistake now.
Recently I built a community website VisualStudioTips.co.uk which as pleased as I am with how it has been received, and helping people, I can't help but think that its popularity has been limited by my inability to build hype and market/promote.
XamarinArkit.com is another project of mine, however it is quite niche. It shows some bite-size lessons on how to do different things using ArKit in Xamarin. I really do see 'augmented reality' to be increasingly important and mainstream in the future. I hope to continue with this in the new year.
My love affair with hackathons has meant that I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience around getting the most out of hackathons, so I decided to record and share these tips on a website called HackathonTips.com. To be honest, I see myself participating in less hackathons in future and instead offering my services as mentor for attendees.
Geez. Man, I am plagued by great ideas and I put that down to my over developed lateral thinking skills. I say plagued because whilst you may believe that it is nice to have a good idea. Having dozens of them can be a nightmare.
One such side project that I think may be quite smallish is CodeReviewChecklist.com, the intention being a useful tool for improving peoples code reviews. Similar in tone to how WebDevChecklist.com has helped web developers.
Another project I hope to make progress with is Start-Coding.com, a website that introduces non-developers to writing C# code with Visual Studio.
With the number of my side projects constantly growing, tracking their organic SEO performance can become tricky. For this reason, I had the idea of RankTrack.co.uk, a simple website that people can manually record the SEO search result position of their websites for multiple keywords.
I have many, many other future projects planned. Far too many to list here.
Possible hype & marketing strategies
So I've come up with a few ways I think that I can better build hype and improve marketing of my future projects
Collaboration with other people - They say two heads are better than one. I completely agree. I'd love to collaborate more with other people, I feel this would help both the development of side projects but also
Mailchimp newsletter signups - Providing a newsletter signup to allow people be notified of project launch and progress. Many other sites seem to do this well, but it's never something I have done previously.
YouTube channel subscriptions - Interestingly, recently I created a series of 25 videos for the Christmas Advent Calendar of VisualStudioTips.co.uk, however I didn't publish them in a separate YouTube Channel, but my own. I see many other sites encouraging people to subscribe to their YouTube channel. This may be something I may consider in future.
ProductHunt - Creating product campaign on ProductHunt.
If you have any other ideas for building hype and improving marketing, do let me know.
I've got some upcoming projects that I want to have every success of gaining traction and being used by as many people as possible, so I am going to try employing different techniques improve their popularity.
In short, be less 'field of dreams' and try to gain an audience before project launch.
If you want to help and learn about some awesome projects..
If you do want to help, or you just want to be made aware/kept apprised of some great projects please follow me and like my posts on LinkedIn and Twitter.