One of the hottest trends in internet marketing currently is content marketing. Whenever a hot new term emerges, people come up with all sorts of definitions. It can really get confusing because if you look at some of these definitions, it seems that they contradict each other. A lot of them cancel each other out. This is especially true when it comes to SEO. SEO people have a very interesting take on content marketing that does not necessarily square with the definition offered by forum marketers.
When it comes to forum marketing, let us just get one thing clear. It is content marketing. There is really no way around this. The reason for this is quite simple. If you are going to market on forums effectively, you have to use content. In other words, you have to use content marketing.
Here is how the process plays out.
Forum Members Have Specific Needs
People go to forums for a specific reason. They go there because they have certain questions. They go there because they are looking for certain information. This is important to note because it opens up tremendous marketing opportunities. It is also important to note because it clues you in as to what you need to do to get their attention and build their trust.
If somebody is at a particular place with specific needs, then it makes a lot of sense for you to show up with information that meets their needs. Clear?
Forum Members are Looking for Someone to Trust
The funny thing about most forums is that it is like an open air market. You have been to an open air market, right? There are lots of people yelling, there are people running around, and there is a lot of hustle and bustle. It is fun. It can also get hot and sticky. In other words, it can get very confusing very quickly.
This is why when you get on a forum, it is very easy for forum members to get very desperate because they are looking for an answer very quickly. They are looking for somebody to trust. That is their mindset. They do not have all the time in the world to read all the posts with a fine-toothed comb. They just need to zero in on somebody that they can place their trust on, so they can be rest assured that, with all things being equal, they will get the information they are looking for.
This is a golden opportunity because this actually lowers the amount of work that you need to do to get people to trust you. Since they already have a built-in incentive,or in some cases desperation to trust somebody, this makes your job of building credibility all that much easier.
Build Trust and Expertise through Content
You have to build trust and expertise through content. The first step in forum marketing is to build people’s trust. You do this by sharing content. For example, when people ask a lot of questions, you give them information that they are looking for. In other words, you answer their questions. You meet their needs.
When you do this, you look good. You look like a hero. People are looking for an answer and you were there to supply it. You did not drop your link. It is not obvious that you want something in return. You were just that special person that showed up at the right time with the right answer.This cannot help but make people look at you in a favorable light. You need to keep repeating this until you reach a point where people can trust in the fact that you know what you are talking about. At the very least, you have their best interest in mind and you have a high degree of concern for their welfare.
This makes you stand out from everybody else because all
the other marketers there are simply looking for quick and easy traffic.
They are simply looking to siphon traffic as quickly and efficiently
from that forum to their target site.
By sharing content, you also share contextual assistance. In other words, the information you share has a proper framework. It is not just floating out of nowhere. It feeds into something, it is related to something, and it is connected to something.
Build Trust and Expertise through Engagement
In addition to sharing high-quality content with people on forums, the next step is to actually engage with people. This is extremely important because as mentioned earlier, people are looking for experts they can trust. It is one thing to be an expert by simply pointing people to the right direction. You can give people looking for specific information resources and have them figure it out.
However, when you engage with people, you actually spell it out for them. You break down information into bite size pieces that they can actually suggest and make sense of. This makes you look much better in the eyes of the community than a person that just spits outstandard content from third party websites or even your own website. In other words, not only do you give them food, but you actually chop up the food so they can digest it better.
This is extremely important to note because depending on your niche and depending on the competition level in your niche, you need all the competitive advantages you can muster. You need to focus on the things that will make you standout. Frequent engagement definitely makes you standout. At the very least, it makes you look like you care more about your target audience members than competitors who simply just post resource content links. I hope you can see the difference.
Why You Need to Build a Site or Blog
Many marketers mistakenly believe that they no longer need to blog and that they think that blogging is simply just a remnant of a past period in online marketing. They think it is just a remnant of the past. Nothing could be further from the truth.A lot of people who are very critical with blogging have a negative impression of blogging because it takes effort. It definitely can take quite a bit of money to come up with high-quality blog posts that actually address people’s concerns. However, if you really want your forum marketing to bear a lot of positive results, you need to invest in a blog.
You need to come up with periodic blog posts that answer particular clusters of questions directly. You need to come up with content that is not only responsive, but also comprehensive and that can be used as a permanent online resource. It really would be a colossal waste of your time if you were to come up with all these amazing responses to forum questions and not have a permanent record of your responses. When you do that, you are basically giving yourself a short-lived shot at turning that engagement into traffic. This really is too bad.The better approach would be to answer people’s questions and then have them click on your link for a fuller answer.
This fuller answer is a permanent record of you answering to their needs. This fuller record then becomes a permanent resource on the internet that can be indexed by search engines. It can also be linked to by other people interested in your niche. Do you see the difference here?I have been doing forum marketing for a long time and I cannot even begin to tell you how many otherwise expert forum marketers waste their time. They post these really amazing responses. We are talking about very long responses, very detailed and some even have graphics and diagrams.However, there is no link to their blog.
There is no archive of that post except on the forum. The only people that benefit from that response is the forum because the forum gets resource content.Sure, the forum marketer can get direct traffic, but this benefit is outweighed by the permanent resource created when they answer specific questions. Do yourself a favor and create a home for your brand and expertise by creating a blog or a website. You have to understand that when you engage with people at a high level and you are really helpful, you are creating a brand. It really would be a waste if that brand stays at the forums. Build a home for your brand by creating a blog or website.