Q&A on Forums for Content Marketing

by Kristen Burgess
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[Question] I’ve got a really specific question now.  One area I’ve really been stuck with is trying to… I’m going to say wade into some forums in my niche.  I’ve done really a poor job with it.  I think the main reason for that is I’m really maybe uncommitted, or unsure how effective it’s going to be, and I’m really motivated to do that right now.  I think it’s going to make a huge difference for me, thanks for that push forward that it’s going to take months and not seconds to accomplish that.  But, how, and at what point, and to whom do I transition from, or get to the point where I can have a link to my squeeze page in that forum?

[Answer] Okay, great question.  So, 3 things about forums.  #1, and I know this predates your questions, so I’m not answering your question yet at this point, this predates your question.  #1 your role in the forum never changes from being a helper.  Never.  You never go from helping to selling, in the forum.  The idea is that you are building a relationship with the people in the forum.  Now the beautiful thing about a forum is, that if you answer a thousand posts, you’ve helped a thousand people, but 10k more people, when they read the posts, see that you keep coming up as being the answer, they begin to see you as an expert, and when they need help with this topic, they Google and type in your name.  So, that’s principal #1.

You’re always a helper, you’re never selling in a forum, never, ever, ever, ever.

Okay, now, the next question then is, when can I put my squeeze page in the signature box?  I hate using words like always and never. Most, and usually are almost as bad.  But I’m going to use this, and hopefully it’s accurate.  Most forums, once you’ve posted, and usually they have a number, once you’ve posted fifty to a hundred times, they will then allow you to put an outbound link in your signature.

The way to find out this is to #1, go through their TOS and see what they say about it.  #2, look at everybody else’s posts, and see if the people that have posted 1k times have a signature.  If they do, then you can probably get a signature placed in yours.  And what that usually means, is posting 50 or 100 times.  Or, responding 50 to 100 times, with good quality information, and then at some point jumping through whatever hoops the forum requires.  The better the forum, the more hoops, because they don’t want just anybody trying to spam their forum.  But once you put 50 or 100 posts in and you’re genuinely helping out, and it’s a forum that does allow some people to put signature in, you’ll probably be able to put a signature block in your response.  You may have to pay for that.

Now, there’s some forums out there, where they’ll never allow you to put a link to anything of yours, and they’re probably, I hate to say that they’re not worth your time, but compared to ones where you can throw a link out, then yes they’re definitely worth your time.  That’s the general process.  You go in there; remember you’re always genuinely helping people.  You’re genuinely helping people, you’re never personally inviting them to come over to your website, or anything like that.  What happens is, you build up enough social equity, so that they say, “you know, this guy, I think he can really help me.”  And then they say, who is this person?

I’ll tell you what I used to do.  I used to have the opportunity, I probably could now, but I just don’t keep up with it.  The opportunity to have 2 links in a signature on a forum, and what I did was one link went to my YouTube channel, and then one link went to something else.  And what I found was that people that went to the YouTube channel and then subscribed were very profitable subscribers.  Because it created an additional filter and an additional hoop.

Now I wasn’t concerned at the time about maximizing the number of subscribers.  I wanted the quality of subscribers.  If I just had it go straight to a squeeze page, would I have gotten 10 times more subscribers, possibly.  Would they have spent as much as the more highly qualified prospects?  Maybe, maybe not, I don’t know.  Because for me it wasn’t about the money so much as I want to help people who genuinely want help.  I tried to attract those kinds of people.  Hopefully they’ll spend money with me.  But, if they don’t, the whole idea is that I’m helping people.  And the percentage of people that I help will invest.  So there’s not always for me, a direct correlation between some subscriber generating thing I’m doing and the money that happens.  Having said that, am I going to throw money at a traffic source on a regular basis where even though I’m helping people, I’m losing my tail, probably not.  I want to try to fix that so I just want to be clear there.  But all of that to say, and we kind of go back to the forum.  If you’re helping people and then you put that link in that goes to your squeeze page, you’ll probably be able to after 50 or 100 posts.

The third thing is, you really want, just like everything else, you don’t want to do it in a vacuum.  So you don’t want to just be doing the forum, but sending people to video’s.  Sending people to your website.  Sending people to the interviews.  Being able to post about the interviews.  It’s about creating almost your own community that involves articles, videos, forums, emails, interviews, and Pinterest, or any other 5 items, or 3 items, or 7 items, it’s your community that’s spread out over several places.

[Response] That makes sense. In relationship to the community, with Facebook, I’m a Facebook novice I guess.  When you do a post, your name is a link, so to speak, do you ever add a URL to that?

[Answer] I don’t know. I’m more of a novice than you are on Facebook.  Without pulling it up and digging through it, I don’t know.  Go out and purchase, not to consume your next month, and not to be a bright, shiny object, and not to supplant anything here.  Go out and purchase a basic Facebook marketing course, spend 3 hours, learn everything you can, and you’ll know more than most people that are trying to fake their way until they make it on Facebook.

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