Some tips on promoting your forum

Discussion in 'Member Articles & Tutorials' started by kev, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. kev

    kev Regular Member

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    Your marketing approach needs to target the exact people that you want to visit your site. That sounds pretty simple, and it is. You would not show up at a Bar-B-Q cook off and advertise your sushi bar. That is the wrong place, the wrong time and the wrong group of people.

    Sources of traffic:

    Directories:
    When I first launched my site 2 1/2 years ago I spent about 8 - 10 months submitting my site to every directory I could find. Even though I provided a backlink to the directory, most of the time the directory never published a link to my site. Those that did publish a link to my site - the link was never picked up be google. So I wasted 8 - 10 months on bad advice. Keep in mind, most of the people that promote directories, own directories. The advice they give is self serving.

    Most people that visit myspace, facebook and youtube do not even know what a directory is. By hanging out at directories and submitting links to your site - your in the wrong place and at the wrong time. The time for directories was 10 years ago, not today and certainly not tomorrow.


    Forums links - are ok, but its unlikely you are going to attract a lot of members from other forums. A happy member will stay with the community. Most people these days are hanging out in social networking sites, such as youtube, myspace and facebook. Forum links have VERY limited scalability. Meaning they are target a very limited market.

    Blogs - Now we are getting somewhere, but we dont know just "where" yet. Blog is a webpage where you can post stuff. You post your opinions, pictures and videos - hang on just a second, but what pictures and videos? Hummmmm, lets talk about this.

    Setting up a blog portal:

    1. Buy a domain name that is close to your forum and install wordpress on it. Wordpress has some good built in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features. You can set up URL rewrite so the article title is the same as the page URL, wordpress has good keyword options, and some other cool features. Wordpress also leaves a small footprint on the server, a lot less then joomla, mambo or drupal. So you can run several wordpress sites and have a very small impact on the server.

    Since the wordpress page (aka forum portal) has a domain name that is close to your forums name, you will be able to grab more search engine results pages. For a certain key word in google (my forums nitch) my forum is listed in the #1 spot, and my forum portal is ranked # 5 or #6. The results pages of google only shows 10 results at a time - so I control 20% of the first page results for my targeted keywords. At one time another one of my portals was ranked on the first page, so I controlled 30% of the first page of google for my forums nitch. But that second portal has slipped to page 2 or 3.

    Set the wordpress blog (forum portal) so people can not register, and turn off comments. Some wordpress templates show when comments have been disabled. Edit the templates and remove the comments section and the "Comments have been disabled" message. You want visitors to think of your "blog" as a website.


    Video promotion:


    NEVER upload copyrighted videos that belong to someone else. We are professionals here, we do not steal and we do not borrow anything that does not belong to us.

    Film all of your own videos - this means use a digital camera and actually film the video. Do not take someone elses video and splice it in with someone elses. This goes back to the copyright issue.

    For music - find "real" royalty free music. Some people will make "royalty free" music and say its free to the public. But if you use the music for commercial purposes, the owner of the music can sue you for part of the profit. Before you use any so called "free" or "royalty free" music, you be sure to read and print out the terms and conditions. Print these conditions and file them away, just in case you need them later. Use music that is in the public domain. this includes authors like Mozart or Bach.

    When you post a video on youtube, make sure a link to your site is the very first line and the very first words in the description.

    In the introduction and closing credits of the video, put something like "this is a (your website name here) production.


    Combining all of this:


    Embed the video into your forums - you will need to make sure the video is viewable from the forum, and not just a link. Videos provide instant content for members and guest alike.

    Write up a small article on your blog and embed the video in addition to the typed article. Disable comments in the post, and provide a link to the thread where the video is posted. From there visitors can register and discuss the article or the video.

    These videos are reusable. Just because you post them in one thread does not mean that you can not use them in another post.


    If you are trying to target a certain market or keyword, you can use this same suggestion. Instead of "forum" - just replace it with what ever you want.


    RSS Feeds: The home page on the portals can utilize an RSS feed straight from the the real forum that updates every few hours. This provides visitors instant access straight to my forum threads from 2 different sites.

    When people search google for "forum" and find their way to the /forum page on the portals, they find an RSS feed. Click a link and straight to the main site they go.

    Just so yall will know, the forum page is the second or third most viewed page on both portals. The bounce rate for traffic referred from a portal to the main forum is around 8%. How would you like to have an 8% bounce rate, and with 3,000 - 5,000 people referred monthly from a single site?


    From here, you now have at least 2 sources of traffic to your forum:
    Where ever you uploaded the video to - youtube, dailymotion, .........
    The portal

    The more video sites you sign up at, and the more videos you post, the more sources of traffic you have. I have about a dozen video hosting sites that provide a steady stream of videos, traffic and new members to my forums.

    The more articles you post on your portals, the more keywords you grab, the better you rank in search engines, the more traffic you get. The more traffic the portal gets, the more people you can direct to your forum.

    These two sources can target two totally different groups. One group is the people that hang out in the video hosting sites, and the other group are the ones using search engines to find information.

    Google loves youtube - when your searching for something, sometimes google will throw in a couple of videos from youtube. These are sometimes on the first page results of google - those could be your videos. But instead, they might be your competitions videos.

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  2. Peggy

    Peggy Regular Member

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    Very good article, kevin. You touched on some good key points.
     
  3. Tyler

    Tyler The Badministrator

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    Great article, Kevin.
     
  4. 50calray

    50calray Grand Master

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    Nice :thumbup:
     
  5. 50calray

    50calray Grand Master

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    Hey Kev, I uploaded my first video today :D

    Once I get back from the ranch I'm going to make a ton of videos.
     
  6. kev

    kev Regular Member

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    Make a couple, get them posted, ask for a review and then lets go from there. If I would have had some help with my video production, I would be leaps and bounds ahead of where I am right now.
     
  7. 50calray

    50calray Grand Master

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    I'm hoping when I get some free time here in a couple of weeks to start producing more. I've got a good friend who is going to help and he has produced really good videos.

    Now do you suggest releasing a lot of videos a week or spreading them out? I mean would it hurt if you released 4 videos a week vs one?

    Thanks,
     
  8. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

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    In my opinion (which may not mean much; Kevin is the resident YouTube expert, not me :D) I would release as many as possible, as long as you remain consistent. I mean, don't release 4 in one week and then not release any more for another 3 weeks. If you can release 4 every single week as opposed to just 1 every single week, then I say "why not?" :)
     
  9. 50calray

    50calray Grand Master

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    That is what I was thinking Nick. I figured I would produce about 6 movies. Then only release about two a week while always having 4 in reserve. That way I'm not stressed and I'm releasing videos on a regular bases.
     
  10. kev

    kev Regular Member

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    At first I posted as many videos as possible - but at the cost of quality.

    Now, I post no more then 1 per week.

    Once you have some videos posted, and you start getting subscribers, use the "insight" tool to ride the waves. http://www.youtube.com/my_videos_insight

    Meaning, post a video and watch your view count. When the views start to go down, post another video. Its called "riding the waves of youtube." By releasing the videos when the view count starts to go down, your able to keep your total views going higher and higher.
     
  11. Soliloquy

    Soliloquy Regular Member

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    Kevin, I don't have the capacity to make my own videos, but I'm embarking on a plan to get my members to add the forum logo to their videos and get permission to release them. I'm completely ignorant about such things though; what kind of format would I have to provide my logo in? What size? Etc.
     
  12. FullMetalBabe

    FullMetalBabe Zealot

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    I'd say PNG, I use AE [Adobe After Effects] and I think PNG with transparent BG is better.
     

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