Join a Social Media Forum [Day 9 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog from Problogger]

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Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

Here’s my notes on Darren Rowse’s Problogger Free Podcast on 31 Days to Building a Better Blog. You can listen to Darren Rowse’s free podcast here Day 9 Join a Social Media Forum. The complete list can read here on Day 0 – Welcome and Introduction.

Become A Problogger with Darren Rowse

In order for us all to get the full benefit of this series, I’m going to go at a slower pace posting going forward in September on Tuesdays each week. I hope with this challenge we are all able to improve our blogs and websites. 

So lets do this together! Day 9 here we go! Subscribe and check back often! #31DBBB

Day 9: The challenge today is to join a social media forum! Today is all about building your blogs profile and finding some new readers. Darren suggests a group on Facebook or LinkedIn.

One of the most common questions that Darren is asked is “How do I find more readers for my blog?”

I. Ask Yourself These 3 Questions About Your Readers

Blog Readers

1. Who are you trying to reach?

Try to create a profile of your reader. Who is your reader? What age, gender, socio-economic status, cultural background, etc. are they?

2. Where are they gathering already?

Think blogs, forums, social networks they’re already participating in community engagement.

3. How can I participate in those places?

This is an opportunity to connect with others. Add value to the conversation.

Some of the mediums include social media and forums. Forums have been around for decades. Originally they were called message boards. Today, most often people gather in Facebook or Linked In groups.

For example, I’m a part of several Facebook personal finance groups that include:

I’m also a part of several blog Facebook groups including:

Finally, I’m a part of several personal finance blog forums including:

II. Forums Give You 3 Unique Opportunities

Opportunities

1. Help you build your profile and brand. 

This helps you showcase your knowledge and expertise in helping others.

2. You have the ability to drive traffic to your blog. 

The more useful you are the more they’ll want to know about who you are and what you do. If you provide a link on your profile. This will create opportunities to share relevant links from time to time. People are more likely to accept you sharing links. Other people will eventually read your blogs and start to share your blogs links.

3. The benefit of understanding your potential reader.

This to Darren is the real benefit of this excercise. This will help you understand the needs, fears, challenges, problems, motivations, dreams of your potential reader. There’s a real sense of community already established and people feel comfortable opening up. People express their pain points, struggles, and victories. This gives you great ideas on how to build community with your blog.

Take notes of which questions people are asking. Are there any common themes? Are there re-occurring needs? Remember, if you answer one question a week on your blog by the end of the year you will have answered 52 relevant questions to your niche.

III. 6 Questions to Answer About the Forum or Group

question1

Darren suggests you take 5-10 minutes to ask and answer these four questions regarding the forum or group you are joining. I added a couple of bonus question of my own.

1. How the group or forum is structured? Is it one big forum or are there multiple sub-discussion categories. Do people use pictures? Are there pinned posts that you should read? What

2. Are there sections to the forum or categories? Determine what sections or categories would be of most interest to you and your reader. For example, in my niche which is personal finance there is often categories such as investing, debt reduction, general questions, credit, frugal living, etc.

3. What the group rules? Determine what is the behavior expected of members. Determine if there are any restrictions with sharing links. For example, on savings advice forums you have to be a member for 1 week and have made 15 posts before you have full access to the site. While they don’t allow affiliate links you are allowed one link in your signature. This means every post you make potentially has your blog listed at the bottom of the post!

4. Who are the key members, owners, administrators, or moderators? Veteran members typically have the most posts. These veteran members typically all are familiar with each and the site owners, administrators, or moderators. Administrators, moderators, and owners will be designated in some manner of differentiation than typical members. They are the rule creators and enforcers. They also typically know a lot about the subject matter.

Bonus 2 more questions I would add:

5. Is there a ranking system according to number of posts or likes a person gets? Before you start going crazy posting 50 times in one hour keep in mind that most forums want the comments to be useful. Make your comments at least a few sentences when posting.

6. Are there any restrictions to newer members? Some forums restrict the private message system to only those who have been active on the site for a time period and made a certain amount of posts. Other forums restrict certain topics to only veterans.

IV. 10 Actions To Take on the Forum or Group

1. If there’s an opportunity to link your blog in your profile do so. But let that be your only link for the day.
2. Don’t start sharing links from day one but add value to conversations. On a personal note I learned this the hard way. There were a few groups where I learned that while my content was appreciated my voice would only be heard after I was “accepted” or became a part of the community. This is particularly true on Facebook groups.
3. Find a place to introduce yourself. Introducing yourself will give you the opportunity to connect with others.
4. Then start searching for questions and share your experiences. People want to know the person behind the screen before they’ll listen to you.
5. Show you care by answering neglected questions. This is a big one. A lot of times questions will go unanswered on forums. Be compassionate. Be the expert.
6. Perhaps start one thread that asks a question you have. Make a it a question that engages multiple people.
7. Remember, people pay attention to both those who start and answer questions. Starting threads that leads to meaningful discussion is just as important as answering questions with valuable, useful information.
8. Visit the same forum or group for the next week or two. Do so for say 5 or 10 minutes a day. Start to connect with other members and get a feel for who are the regular members.
9. Do not spend hours on one forum. Build up the rhythm of participating in a group like this one on a regular basis.
10. Then, in a few days see if there’s another similar forum that you can join that targets your niche. It’s probably a good idea to participate in at least 5 to 10 forums or groups a week where your niche is already gathering.

Further reading:

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Are you ready to build your blog’s profile and engage some new potential readers? Which forum or group will you join today?

{Click to go back to day 8 here} {Click to go forward to day 10 here} *Coming Soon*

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About Jonathan Key 112 Articles
Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

46 Comments

  1. I have always turned to forums for unanswered questions and advice. For now, my blog doesn’t get a whole LOT of traffic but I hope in the future when I am able to get connected with the “farm” part of my blog, that will change. I will surely keep this one saved in my favorites (I guess I could start a calendar and add this stuff too – as you suggested in another post I read from you 🙂
    Rene D recently posted…Peace in the Midst of the StormMy Profile

    • This is very true Jason. Making connections building relationships certainly helps to network with your niche. One way to promote your content is to create a Facebook group where you are the moderator. Making good comments on other blogs will alsospark interest in clicking on your link to your blog. Thanks for stopping by

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