Using Forums to Find Stuff to Write About On Your Website

Using Forums to Find Stuff to Write About On Your Website

The most important factor of any search engine marketing strategy is to have epic content on your website.  Even if you’re only taking your on page factors into consideration, writing the best possible content on a regular basis is the key to getting Google or Bing to send you free traffic.  The problem begins however, after you have finished writing three or four posts.  By that time your asking a question that hits you everyday when you sit down in front of your computer.  What am I going to write about?  Using forums we can discover millions of topics already asked, and somewhat answered, that can help you become the problem solver in your niche.

asking a question

Using Forums to Take Your Content to the Next Level

Unfortunately for most bloggers and online marketers, gone are the days of being able to focus the content on your sites about individual keywords.

Sure there are quite a few people who are still using this method, and it’s still working in some markets.  But it’s only a matter of time before Google finishes its grand plan of cleaning up their search results.  And one key indicator of an SEO working his magic on a website is keyword optimized content.

You know the sites that I am talking about.

Their URL is bluefancywidget.com and every page on the site is written with those keywords or variations of.

Like I said, this method used to work really well.  And to a point it still does, for now.

But as a marketer, or just someone who wants to get his or her voice heard through a blog, you have to move beyond that point in your writing.

Today the people who grace our blogs with a few minutes out of their day expect more.  They expect you to answer the question that brought them to your site in the first place.

And it doesn’t hurt if you can entertain them as well.

Even still though, there really is only so much one can write about a subject without sounding like your repeating everyone else on the net.

Take a look at my market, I help small business owners both on and offline.

There are so many people pumping out information that potential clients are just drowning in it.

Many times that information contradicts the information you found five minutes ago.

So how do we as responsible marketers and business owner’s deal with that?

We provide solid problem solving information when our readers want it.

We stop the madness by not promoting in every piece of content we write.

Doing that, will set us apart from the rest of the noise that is polluting the internet and the search results today.

First, however, we need to find our target market and we need to figure out what problems they may have in the future so we can be there to answer them when they come up.

Using forums is one of the best ways to do that.

Finding the Right Forums with the Right People

One of the hardest things to do in this whole process is actually finding the right forums to go to.

If you’re a network marketer for instance, which site do you do your research on?

Perhaps your business revolves around the health and wellness niche, specifically yoga lets say.  Where do we find the forums that yoga practitioners frequent?

We can use the search engines of course.

The problem comes when we just do a plain old search using something like “yoga forum” in the search bar.

Using forums for content

As you can see you have a lot of results to search through, and most of them aren’t even forums.  It makes if a bit daunting to implement this content marketing method if you’re having to read through 50 or so sites just to get started right?

It order to make your searches a bit more productive I am going to give you a selection of search parameters that you can use to filter out the noise a little bit.

All you have to do is copy and paste these into the search bar of your choice and you’re off to the races.

Cool Search Strings to Have You Looking Like a Pro

A lot these strings were actually figured out by software developers.

You know the guys who wanted to find sites where they could create backlinks.

The average online marketer doesn’t even know they exist, or if they do, don’t take the time to put them together to find content for their readers.

Now we are setting ourselves apart from the crowd right from the start.

The way these strings work is by looking for “footprints” that forums leave in the search results.

It could be anything as simple as “powered by vBullitin” to little short common words that most forums have.

And smart forum owners always have a keyword somewhere in their title we can use in order to find out what that particular forum covers.

This is great for us because all we have to do now it enter our sting like so:

yoga “powered by vBulletin”

And the search results just became a lot more useful to us:

using forums

Here are some strings that you can use:

“keyword” forum site:.gov

“keyword” forum site:.com

{keyword} “powered by vBulletin”

{keyword} “Powered by phpBB”

Remember, where is says keyword put yours in there.  As you search though, think more in the terms of broad keywords rather than long tail highly targeted words.

Especially if you’re looking for one or two forums that you can frequent often.

If, however, you’re looking to have something to write about just today then feel free to narrow it down.  That way your search results will bring more threads of people using forums rather than the whole forum.

One added piece to this puzzle that I want to discuss is the PageRank of the forum.

Now an SEO guy will tell you to create a profile there, create a signature, and go around and answer people’s questions.  This will allow you to build backlinks to your website after all.

The whole idea of doing that is not a bad thing, if you have the time.

But I want you to use PageRank and traffic numbers to actually tell you about the quality of the forum listed.

For example, a PR 4 forum with a low Alexa number indicates to me that Google likes the content on there and trusts it.  And the Alexa number tells me that people are actively there and using the forum.

Here is what SEO Quake for Firefox does with my search results and you can see the PR and Alexa listed.

search string with SEO Quake

PRO Tip:  You can actually sort the search results by PageRank with this add-on and when you’re going to be using forums with the methods below that comes in handy.

You Found Some Forums, Now What?

This is where we get to have some fun.

There are two methods of thought here when looking for questions to answer.

First, you can to it the easy way and find the topics that are being talked about the most.

This method is pretty easy to use because popular threads have tons of solutions in them that you can use to support your answer on your website.

And it results in you having to do a lot less in the way of research.

For the purposes of this demonstration I am going to use a popular internet marketing forum called WarriorForum.com.

Feel free to check it out if have never been there.

But a word of caution, if your confused about internet marketing in any way I would recommend that you stay away from the Warrior Special Offers section.  Sure there are a lot of great products to buy in there, but most are PLR products that someone rebranded as their own.

Nothing wrong with that, it’s a business model that works, it just won’t help you all that much.

We are also going to stay away from the SEO section.

I love SEO but one can get burnt out from talking about it all the time and since I am dreaming about rankings and plans about my SEO strategy I think I need a break.

We are going to use the copy writing section.  (Copy writing is the number one skill you need to learn even if you’re only writing blog posts.  Getting your readers to read your first sentence is the key, figure that out and you’ll have a reader for life)

Note: This is how you navigate around a vBulletin based forum.  The other types of forums are all pretty much similar.

1)  Open the section of the forum from the main dashboard that most closely relates to your topic.

warrior forum main

2)  Use the “Last Post” button on the top of all the dates to sort.

last post setting

There are two ways you can do this.  You could go back to the first posts of the forum and look for old questions to answer.

Think of it this way, today someone is trying to start a business or bringing a business online and they have the same questions today as you had when you started.

Or

You can pick from the most recent topics.   This will help indicate what a lot of your market is currently talking about.  Thus allowing you to get into the conversation.

I use both new and old questions, other people stick with the trending topic of the day, its all up to you and what your audience is like.  If you have no audience yet, use both.

3) Look for popular threads.

thread counts

As you can see this site has a tracking system showing both views and replies.  Plus they have that cool little burning folder icon.  All three of these will show you which threads here are drawing the most interest.

Take this into account though, just because a thread does not have a lot of replies doesn’t mean that it’s not a good topic to cover.  Look at the views too, if they are crazy high and the replies are low it means there are a lot of people with that same question that need help.  Score!

We are going to go with this one:

warrior forum 1

The reason I chose this is the amount of replies and the amount of views.

And I happen to know my audience in this case.  Copy writers are known ego maniacs who all think they are best.  So if you want to stir the pot with them, pick a favorite.

4) Examine the thread, what started it, why are people responding?

forum thread

As you can see it was just a basic statement about one person’s opinion concerning a guys ability to write copy.

If you scan through the thread however you will see that ego coming though.

There are a few people on there saying no way.  Or he’s not that good of a copy writer because he just knows his audience and is talking like them because he is one of them.

Which by the way is the hallmark of good copy, I’m just saying.

So how can we use this to create content on our websites.

Well in the case of this topic I would actually create a roll-up article.

I would search around the internet and find the current ten most respected copy writers alive.

Then I would take the exact title of the thread there and use that as my blog post title.  Why?  Because I am studying copy writing, my audience is studying or practicing copy writing, and that title grabbed my attention.  So it’s only safe to assume it will grab your audiences as well correct?

Now I would write my post first explaining why copy writing is important, then I would list each of the ten writers and offer a brief bio and why I would love to learn from them.

With each bio being about 200-500 words each you’ll have a high quality article that others will be interested in.

Pro Tip:  After you are done writing the article and leave a comment on the forum detailing how you were just doing some research about the ten copy writers you’d like to learn from and how you wrote a post about on your blog.  In this case I would also butter up the guy who wrote the thread and agree with his point.  This will send him and his followers to my site to check out my blog post.  And it will send everyone who disagreed with him there too, just to be able to say I have no idea what I’m talking about.  Either way, I got traffic!

The second method of using the forums is going to be a bit more work, but you are going to be way ahead of the crowd when you use it.

This time we are going to look for questions that have not been answered yet.

Either because they are too new or because people thought it was just to basic for them to bother.  But remember the basics are the cornerstone of anything we do.  And new people want an authority (that’s you) to help them learn them.

For this I am going to take you into the Social Media section of the forum.

Social Media is a really popular subject now that SEO has become “too hard” for some people.  (Which is good for me because now it’s easier to rank, and good for the users because now they don’t have to filter through junk in the results).

For this example we are going to choose a question about Twitter ads.

warrior forum 2

This is a great topic to cover because there has not been all that many people in the information space that are talking about how to leverage them correctly yet.

With this one you’re going to have to read the thread to see which direction you want to go with it.

You see here the OP (original poster) has asked about using them and the topic in the thread that seems to have come up the most it using them for SEO purposes.

You could take a day or two and examine those claims to see if they in fact work that way.

This will allow you to create a cool case study post showing your results with Twitter ads.

Case studies are great because you not only get a lot of traffic to them based on the subject.  But you can offer an eBook detailing every step you took to get the results as an opt-in gift or for sale to make some of your ad money back.

In Conclusion

In the post we discovered the true power of leveraging forums for your content creation.

We talked about how to find the best forums for your market using search strings and an SEO toolbar.

And we went over the two methods of how to use content you find in the forums to fill your website with great content your market will need and love.

Using forums has been a mainstay in my business for quite some time.  Especially when learning about a new market I may consider getting involved in, or one a client is involved in.  Keeping up on the latest trending topics as well as becoming the go to source for information is the key to marketing online today.

Taking the standard thought that you have to roam around forums and answer questions all day long to build your authority and turning it on its head was the purpose of this post.  Laser targeting the topics you want to discuss and answering them in general terms on the thread, and detailed terms on your website will bring both traffic and longtime readers if you’re using forums correctly.  So get out there and implement this method today.

I have so much more to bring you in terms of marketing training over the coming days and weeks. I just know you’ll love all these micro-lessons…so make sure you jump on our mailing list if you already haven’t so you don’t miss any updates. Thanks for joining me!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Using Forums to Find Stuff to Write About On Your Website

  1. Hi Clint, this is excellent information about forums. I did use Warrior Forum a few years ago but have never got round to getting involved with any other forums. Thanks for the reminder and now I know what I have to do !! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Clint, you certainly put a lot of work into this article & I now have several good pointers to lead me in the right direction for finding & creating in demand articles. I’d looked at forums before, but it certainly helps to know ‘how’ to do it efficiently & effectively.

    Thank you!