ProductHunt is definitely one of the most entertaining startups to watch right now, but not just because of the apps, startups, and tools shared on its site – because of the incredible content marketing that is their business model.
ProductHunt was literally born as an email list by Ryan Hoover whereby he and his friends would share some of the most interesting new apps that they had discovered each day. This is content marketing's core principle; constant engagement, with a very targeted audience, seeking valuable information that is specifically interesting to them.
With the creation story of ProductHunt as a company being the very basis of content marketing execution, it's hard for them not to have fantastic content marketing examples at every turn throughout their site. That being said, the "collections" are what we will be focusing on today!
Collections are an area on the ProductHunt site where products listed on ProductHunt are curated into lists that conform to a certain pattern, use, or purpose. Lists generated from the daily lists, that all have an inherent value to a certain audience. Basically, perfect content marketing from the assets inherently unique to ProductHunt.
The notion that these products and lists are simply information that is consistently updated, new and user generated, but that can also be repurposed, re-formed as business assets that can be manipulated into lists that form certain use-cases and fuel content marketing success for the company as a whole.
That's the beautiful creativity of it. It's taking a deep look at what you have access to that makes you stand apart, what would capture the attention of your audience, knowing what your audience is looking for that you can solve by your own assets and IP, and put it to use in a form that facilitates growth for the company as a whole through content marketing.
The lists themselves are so targeted and involved that it makes them extremely interesting to browse. I wouldn't normally look for a lot of the products in these lists, but when they are broken down into certain verticals they become a lot more interesting to discover. It's also the notion of a different kind of shopper. If you're "shopping" for a certain type of app, you might find it faster in the collections than simply browsing the home page. If you're just looking for interesting new noteworthy stuff, you might pop through to the homepage and scan the newest products for the day.
This kind of execution lends itself to different types of user personas, which diversifies the potential traffic intake and reasons someone might come to ProductHunt.
Making the lists user-generated by visitors is a very interesting piece of execution too. People can submit collections just as they submit products, this keeps the information structuring in the hands of the audience, which are naturally the best people to tell you exactly what they are looking for, and takes the ground work off of ProductHunt, freeing them up to think about other things and simply having to moderate the new content collections that come in.
Also going more in-depth on that, the layout is very familiar. It's simply how ProductHunt looks already, with the highest up-voted products at the top, and scaling down from there, with comments, descriptions, and titles in-line. It's all very native to ProductHunt while solving an entirely new use-case, and bringing in traffic from various different sources and for different reasons than what one might subscribe to ProductHunt's core offering for.
The ability to align these assets in to verticals opens up a magnificent opportunity for organic traffic in particular from those said targeted verticals. Taking the example I shared above for "prank products" which on its own is a pretty huge term that I bet gets a ton of traffic from people actively looking to pull some nefarious pranks on their friends – this collection of products ranks second in Google above Amazon and many other niche, prank-focused websites.
Entire websites devoted to pranks stand below this one valuable landing page on this one site, simply pulled together with assets already "owned" by ProductHunt (just simple data in their database of product submissions).
This page alone has over 2,800 links pointing to it, links that wouldn't be pointing to ProductHunt had they not put these content pieces together, links that help that page rank for "prank products" which gives them an enormous amount of new, unsubscribed viewers each day. This is just one collection example. ProductHunt's most shared content on their site are these collections, some having upward of 17,000 social shares (a collection for "Products Teens Love") and many others with several thousands of shares such as "Tools For Remote Teams" which they rank #3 for in Google, and "Lean Startup Tools" which they rank #4 for in Google's search results.
These pages are a perfect example of forming already owned IP and brand assets into promotable, useful, valuable content that can fuel your content marketing efforts and generate not only new users, but new value for current subscribers. This is the heart of content marketing, and it's because of this that I point to these collections at such a smart and valuable content marketing case study.