Angelo’s recent post about forums has made me think about how I’ve been using forums recently to improve my blog. Forums are one of the most underrated blogging tools. Many bloggers don’t use them, but I’ve found them to be a valuable source of traffic, ideas, and feedback.
Here are three ways to use forums that’s worked for me.
1. Syndicate your content.
If I gave you the opportunity to syndicate your content on a popular site in your niche, would you take the opportunity? Of course you would because you would get relevant, targeted traffic.
You have a similar opportunity with the popular forums in your niche. These forums get a lot of traffic, so try publishing your posts there. If you’re worried about duplicate content, you can rewrite your posts.
I love this strategy because you don’t have to come up with new content.
Also, the traffic from forums is usually higher quality than traffic from other sources. For example, these are some traffic stats on my blog:
Avg. Time on Site
But the traffic stats from a popular forum looks like this:
Avg. Time on Site
On average, the traffic from the forum looks at one more page per visit, spends almost two minutes longer on my site, and is 30% less likely to leave my site after viewing their first page.
2. Generate post topics.
Writer’s block anyone?
Forums are becoming my secret weapon to fight writer’s block.
By browsing a forum for a couple of minutes, you’ll start thinking of new ideas for your blog. There’s something about reading what others in your niche are talking about that’s gets my creative juices going. Usually, I generate so many post topics I don’t get to use them all.
One powerful tip: note what questions are being asked in the forum. Questions are key because if one person is asking a question, there are probably countless others that wondering the same thing.
If you answer these questions on your blog, you’ll have a useful post that can help many people.
3. Get instant feedback.
One thing I love about forums is that you can get instant feedback on your content.
I often publish my posts on forums before my blog to see what kind of reception I get from forum members. This feedback is great for improving my post or just realizing whether I’ve created a hit or a dud. Sometimes a forum member will make a comment that adds a lot of value and I’ll add it to the post I publish on my blog.
You don’t have to publish the whole post. A shortened version that hits the main points is fine since forum content is usually shorter than blog posts. This means you can even publish your half-baked posts, or posts that are not fully formed, and see how the forum community responds to it. They often respond with replies that you can use to complete your post.
You can even create linkbait by asking for information on the forum. For example, let’s pretend you have a travel blog and want to do a linkbait post on underrated travel destinations. You can go to a forum and ask them for their thoughts on the most underrated travel hotspots. This type of forum thread usually gets a lot of responses. Then, take the best responses and turn in into a post.
Finally, if you use ideas from any forum, don’t forget to credit the forum and/or specific forum members by linking to them.
Over to You
This is only a few ways to use forums. What about you? How have you used forums to help your blog?
Performancing offers forum marketing as part of its authority builder service.