Forums go widely underused and underappreciated by the affiliate marketing community which is a real shame because they are one of the best social platforms for building a brand, conducting research, connecting with smart people, and driving traffic.
How are those for items possible? Content.
Forum discussions can last days, weeks, months, and even years – unlike social platforms like Facebook or Twitter where a discussion may last a few replies. One spectacular thread can become a defining piece for a forum much like what you know about evergreen content.
Let’s take a look into the art of creating great forum threads.
The Power of the Sticky Post
When a thread is stickied that’s where the magic happens.
A sticky (a thread that is pinned to the top of the forum/sub-forum) is seen as an essential piece of reading for new and old members. These sticky posts are often read hundreds of thousands of times and have thousands of comments that go on for many years.
There is no guaranteed way to create a sticky post outside of running a forum on your own and having the permission to add them but there are a few concepts you can use to increase your odds:
- Think BIG. A sticky post is generally one that has a substantial amount of information and data (almost to the degree of a book) which is why it is so valuable.
- Success. Sticky posts are often ones which may have started as a journal but eventually landed the pin because it reached its completion and the thread starter had shown some kind of great success (example: starting from $0 and going up to earning $10,000 a month).
- Resources. Everyone loves a great resource post especially if you take the time to keep updating it frequently. These types of posts are always valuable since people won’t need to hunt down a mish-mash of lists and round-ups on other sites and since it’s frequently updated and allows for discussion they and others can leave recommendations and case studies.
Outside of these common types of sticky threads you could always try to buddy-up with the forum owner and see what type of posts they favor for their stickies.
You should strive to create a great sticky post whenever you’re putting in the time as it gives you a ton of great exposure on the forum. However, don’t feel like you need to all the time otherwise you’ll miss on starting smaller discussions which can be fun and engaging in a different manner.
Engaging the Community
Forums have many sub-forums so you’ll first want to select a few where you feel you’ll leave the biggest impact. The others are certainly great for learning a new thing or two but generally you’d want to stick with your topic of expertise so you can deliver good value to others and connect with other parties interested in the topic.
Once you’ve decided on the topics you’re going to cover there are a few different base types of discussions which work rather well on forums which include:
- Newbie Q&A. This is generally a thread that is started by an expert (or experts) that allow newcomer’s (and veterans) to ask the basic questions they either haven’t found the answer to or might have been embarrassed to ask way back in the day.
- The “What’s Happening”. This is kind of like hanging around the office and having a chit-chat with your coworkers. The thread is about seeing what everyone is up to and their experiences with it so far. It allows people to vent, rant, or hype up their actions which always gets people talking.
- Promotional. This type of thread allows people to toot their horn by promoting what they do and how they can help others. It’s kind of like a virtual business card exchange where you can really get to know one another and find people to connect with.
Here are some other ideas for forum topics.
There are plenty of discussions you can start because there aren’t really any restrictions on forums outside of a few rules the moderators may have put in place.
When it comes to engaging each other just follow the simple rule of delivering value. Try to avoid the one or two sentence responses in favor of going into a deep discussion. Also, try not to get too wrapped up in the flame/troll discussions otherwise it may make you look ignorant or mean-spirited.
I will have more about forums as we continue throughout this week. In the last post I gave you the basic run-down and places for affiliates to hang out. In this one I shared how you can create great, engaging content on these forums.
Go on and put it into action. Even if you don’t create a sticky at least you’ll start (or add to) a few discussions which will help you get acquainted with others on the forum. Remember that forums are a long-game investment – the more you create the more you’ll gain so you might as well start today.