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The Right Way To Approach Communities With Content and Traffic

Garrett French learned the hard way how to approach forums for content and traffic

One key difference is that I opened a forum thread to DISTRIBUTE content rather than to ask a question and start to GENERATE content. I did ask a question at the end of the thread, but my intention was partly to get a quick shot of traffic which in my rear view mirror now looks like a bad idea.

Communities can sniff out someone just there for the take, you need to contribute in a meaningful way. Rather than what you can get out you need to think how everyone can benefit. Communities want more and better conversation not a link drop. Here are Garretts points:

  1. Content must arise from a community need or passion.
  2. Content must provide value to the community.
  3. Content must incorporate, cite, interview and/or champion key members of the community.
  4. Content must incorporate the language of the community.
  5. Ask for permission AND forgiveness.

Read his list with commentary over at the post. I disagree with point 3, if it is worthwhile you don’t necessarily have to boost any members egos. The rest seem like good advice.

It’s common sense; do you just barge in and try to take everyone away to your own party or do you introduce yourself and make yourself an asset? Read, Learn, then speak. Make sure what you contribute is worthwhile.

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Comments

  1. Interesting.

    I’ve taken the approach of asking communities for feedback on sites, and making sure to respond to the comments left. This generally seems to work quite well, although it does mean you might get some negative feedback.

    I’ve also recently had some success with other people promoting my site on forums and messageboards, which is useful because it doesn’t require any effort and means you don’t get any criticism (for the posting, at least).
    I wrote about it here: http://www.nothing-ventured.org/2007/02/27/are-people-talking-about-your-website/

    Cheers,

    Tom

  2. Interesting.

    I’ve taken the approach of asking communities for feedback on sites, and making sure to respond to the comments left. This generally seems to work quite well, although it does mean you might get some negative feedback.

    I’ve also recently had some success with other people promoting my site on forums and messageboards, which is useful because it doesn’t require any effort and means you don’t get any criticism (for the posting, at least).
    I wrote about it here: http://www.nothing-ventured.org/2007/02/27/are-people-talking-about-your-website/

    Cheers,

    Tom

  3. Other people submitting your link (providing they are not brand new users who tend to look like sock puppets) is definitely the most effective method, they already have the trust of the community and know the rules for where it is appropriate intuitively

  4. Other people submitting your link (providing they are not brand new users who tend to look like sock puppets) is definitely the most effective method, they already have the trust of the community and know the rules for where it is appropriate intuitively

  5. The only other way I see to slide a link in, when you’re not an active member, is if you happen to have a post that addresses the current conversation. As a matter of fact, that could be a good ice-breaker.

  6. The only other way I see to slide a link in, when you’re not an active member, is if you happen to have a post that addresses the current conversation. As a matter of fact, that could be a good ice-breaker.

  7. Yes if it is highly relevant and links are allowed that would work

  8. Yes if it is highly relevant and links are allowed that would work

  9. Garrett says:

    “Other people submitting your link (providing they are not brand new users who tend to look like sock puppets) is definitely the most effective method, they already have the trust of the community and know the rules for where it is appropriate intuitively”

    Any suggestions on how to successfully “motivate” existing members to drop your link?

  10. Garrett says:

    “Other people submitting your link (providing they are not brand new users who tend to look like sock puppets) is definitely the most effective method, they already have the trust of the community and know the rules for where it is appropriate intuitively”

    Any suggestions on how to successfully “motivate” existing members to drop your link?

  11. @Garrett, get to know people, make friends, PM them. Another option is of course sigs, if they are allowed. Link to your homepage and get yourself known.

  12. @Garrett, get to know people, make friends, PM them. Another option is of course sigs, if they are allowed. Link to your homepage and get yourself known.

  13. I spent quite a while watching forums before I ever posted in any of them. I did notice
    forum members were cat quick to sniff out and destroy the people that were there just link dropping or leaving bogus testimonials for their own companies.

    I took the opposite approach and have had no problems yet. I like to watch a board for a while so I can get a feel for the boards “personality”. I will then contribute modestly always making sure I’m making a real contribution.

    I won’t mention my company and won’t put it my signatures – it’s authentic contribution. After a few posts and after I’ve been “accepted” I will email the moderator and ask if he wouldn’t mind if I added a signature with a link to my company.

    I’ve yet to be told no, or chastised for it by other members. People are smart these days and don’t like to tricked or taken advantage of. Ethical, professional behavior goes a long way.

  14. I spent quite a while watching forums before I ever posted in any of them. I did notice
    forum members were cat quick to sniff out and destroy the people that were there just link dropping or leaving bogus testimonials for their own companies.

    I took the opposite approach and have had no problems yet. I like to watch a board for a while so I can get a feel for the boards “personality”. I will then contribute modestly always making sure I’m making a real contribution.

    I won’t mention my company and won’t put it my signatures – it’s authentic contribution. After a few posts and after I’ve been “accepted” I will email the moderator and ask if he wouldn’t mind if I added a signature with a link to my company.

    I’ve yet to be told no, or chastised for it by other members. People are smart these days and don’t like to tricked or taken advantage of. Ethical, professional behavior goes a long way.

  15. Another good piece of information sir. Between it and the comments, it makes for a good read. Thank you for the information.

  16. Another good piece of information sir. Between it and the comments, it makes for a good read. Thank you for the information.