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3 secret weapon blog posts that almost write themselves

So no one’s reading your blog.

And you’re pretty sure it might have something to do with your not having posted anything in weeks.

It’s not that you don’t understand the economic impact a great blog can have on your business — you know it’s a critical piece of the revenue model for any website you ever hope to make money from.

But you simply can’t think of anything to say! And no one online knows you exist!

Been there? I have.

But here’s something I’ve learned the hard way: If you try to write an epic, 1000-word post every time you open your laptop, you will burn out, plain and simple.

You’ll quit, and no one will ever know you or your business ever existed.

Here’s how to keep it fun, keep it interesting, and keep people hungry for more from you . . .

The Link post

One of the easiest blog posts in existence, the link post highlights someone else’s article, blog post, a news story, a video, or other item of interest. It’s called a link post because you simply make a comment about the item, then link to it. Simple.

Don’t underestimate the value you can bring to your readers with well-chosen link posts. Apple product blogger John Gruber (and one of the most successful bloggers alive, period) does link posts like crazy. Two things separate Gruber from other bloggers in his field:

  1. A willingness to articulate an (often strong) opinion
  2. Taste
Before you post a link:
  • Make sure you know why you agree (or disagree) with it, and state that clearly in your introduction to the link, along with any additional thoughts you have
  • Make sure it’s something your audience will truly want (maybe even need) to read. Be tasteful. Your reader will only let you waste his time once.

A great link post can be as short as this, or as long as this.

The Answer post

Here’s one I’ll bet you’re not doing. And it’s a shame because it’s so easy (it practically writes itself) and so effective in positioning you as someone who people should read regularly/subscribe to.

The answer post is just what it sounds like: a blog post where you’re answering a question someone has asked you within your area of knowledge, interest or expertise.

In your answer post you can even recommend someone else who has better answers than you do, like Chris Brogan generously does here.

But what if no one ever asks me anything? — or even knows who I am?’

Glad you asked.

If no one ever asks you anything, you’re pretty lame and should probably give up blogging and online entrepreneurship, forever.

Kidding! First of all, I bet people do ask you things all the time. They just don’t ask you online (yet).

Take the questions you get from people in your daily life — and answer them online.

Think about the in-person conversations you have with your friends, family members . . . anyone who knows that you’re into whatever you’re into.

If you’re the ‘home improvement’ enthusiast, or the ‘movie buff’ among your circle of co-workers, come on . . . you know someone’s always asking you something!

Try stopping yourself next time.

Tell them, “You know what, that’s a great question — let me get back to you on that.” Then go write a blog post that answers their question. Email them the link.

Instant blog post. And if you’re fortunate, they may leave a comment.

Now, if no one truly ever asks you anything, that’s okay too. You’ve got a simple exposure problem. You only need to put yourself on the map.

(Of course, I’m assuming that you actually know your subject matter. For example, if you’re trying to blog about running shoes and don’t really have any knowledge or interest in running shoes — you really should give that up and find something you’re actually into.)

We’ll come back to putting you on the map in a moment. First let me give you the last of your three secret weapons . . .

The Story post

The most powerful post of them all. We’re all wired to take in information in the form of a story. Some of us can manage to sit through a reading of cold and dry facts, but does anyone really want to work that hard?

Your readers don’t.

The story post paints a mental picture in your reader’s mind and helps them visualize the point you’re trying to get across.

The story can be:

  • something that happened to you (recently or long ago — doesn’t matter when) that illustrates an important point
  • something that happened to someone you know that illustrates an important point
  • a news story you read that illustrates an important point
  • any story that . . . yep — illustrates an important point

Done right, the story post draws your reader in and makes them want to read the next sentence (and the next one . . .) until they just can’t resist reading your whole piece.

The bonus to you is, when you’ve got a good story to tell, it just comes out. Write it exactly how you would tell it if you were sitting at a dinner table, everyone hanging on your next word.

How to put yourself on the map

Feel like no one knows you or your blog exist? That’s perfectly fine. Here’s what to do:

I call it the ‘Two-Forum Method’ (TFM) . . .

1. Join two forums. Find two forums where people gather to talk about your subject matter. Make sure to choose active forums, meaning people are posting good questions at least a few times a week. Questions you know the answer to.

(For example, here are a couple of pretty active forums on electric trains here and here. I found them simply by Googling: electric trains forum.)

2. Find good questions. Once a week, spend thirty minutes in your two forums, looking for good questions that you know how to answer.

3. Write an Answer post. Choose one question and write a post on your blog, answering the forum question with your best advice.

4. Post a teaser on the forum. This is where you’ll need to exercise some skill. Go back to the forum where the question was asked and post a reply saying something like: “Susan, I’ve got some thoughts on this question –” and then proceed to give them an excellent answer right there on the forum — but without going into a lot of detail. Then say: “More details on this post I wrote for you: –” then provide the link, tell them you ‘hope that helps’ and close with your name.

See how that works?

Not only have you just genuinely helped someone with an answer to their question, but everyone else who ever reads that post will be introduced to you. You’ve put yourself on the radar of a well-targeted audience.

My Two-Forum Method does four things for you:

  1. gives you the opportunity to genuinely help someone
  2. positions you as a resource for good tips and info
  3. regularly opens new traffic sources to your blog and (last but not least . . .)
  4. puts a new, easy-to-write post on your blog at least once a week.

Ok now stop reading this and go put one of these posts on your blog!

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