You’re probably reading this blog post because you are in the process of trying to get a forum off the ground. Been there, done that! The first 10 or so forums I created failed miserably. It’s through these failures that I have finally managed to crack the code of what it takes to have an active community of forum posters.
What Doesn’t Work
I’ll be a psychic for a few moments here and guess what you have been doing up till now in an effort to jump start your forum. I’ll take a wild guess and say that you have been creating a bunch of fake profiles and posting under these names in an effort to get the discussions off the ground. This is great for the first few days, but as you will see it’s not a long term strategy, it almost never works, and you eventually get burnt out. The amount of energy it would require for this strategy to work is off the hook. You would need to keep this up for at least 6 months, maybe spending 2 hours a day doing this. Even then there are no guarantees. Don’t do this to yourself!
The other failed strategies are using bots to scrape other people’s forums and having them automatically post to yours. This doesn’t work because a.) You are breaking the law, and b.) You’re going to get penalised for having duplicate content.
If you think paying someone in India 5 dollars to post low quality content is going to work, think again.
Without further ado I’m going to reveal my successful forum strategy. Are you ready for it?
The first thing you have to do is give up on the idea of being able to do this by yourself. You need a group of people that have an interest in the topics that the forum will be covering. I’ll elaborate further.. If you are trying to get an SEO forum off the ground you need to find at least 3 other people that have an interest in SEO that you have a good relationship with. They may be friends, work colleagues, just a bunch of likeminded individuals. The next thing you must do is get them in on it. Strike a deal with them, let them know you are starting a forum up about SEO, football etc. You might agree to buy them a beer once a week, or even offer them a 25% stake in your forums profits when it makes the big time. You need to get them onboard and excited!
You now have to make an agreement that you can never talk about whatever it is that your forum is about. For example if it’s an SEO forum you must all understand that you may never verbally talk about SEO again. If it’s a football forum then you have to agree with your buddies that you can never talk about football again.
Ok so you might be thinking that this makes no sense, right? Wrong! The reason you can never talk about whatever it is that your forum is about is because it’s wasted content for the forum. They only way from here on in that you can communicate about SEO, football etc is through the forum! If my friend Bob wants to ask me a question about Search Engine Optimization, I’ll kindly inform him that I’ll answer whatever he wants regarding the topic BUT only if he posts his questions on the forum. Sure I’ll answer it but guess where I’m going to answer his question? You bet! On the forum.
It’s fun because now your posting with your friends about things that you would be discussing anyway, expect now it’s not wasted content.
Next thing you know you have a forum full of discussions all relating to the forum topic. These posts are going to naturally start showing up in Google, eventually people you don’t know are going to sign up and start posting. Once this happens you can slowly start to withdraw from the forum and watch the forum start to grow by itself.
You have to understand that this is a long term strategy. It might be 3 months before you start noticing people you don’t know joining the discussion. If you get into the forum business thinking you can just open a forum and expect to get thousands of people posting in it, think again. People are only going to join forums if they see that the forum is active.
If you have employees in your company then give them a daily quota that they have to meet. You might have 3 employees. Tell them that they all have to post 5 times a day. That equals 105 posts in a week. That’s 5460 posts a year. 5 posts a day should only take them 10 mins.
Let me know how this strategy goes for you. Please comment below or share with your friends.