Yesterday we talked about how being helpful on forums can help you build relationships with your target market and lead to new opportunities.
Today’s Action Step: Take something you’ve posted on a forum or in a Facebook group and turn it into a blog post or other content for your site.
Even if you’ve only sporadically posted in forums with the goal of being helpful, you’re likely to have a few posts that have been really useful to others. Posting in a forum doesn’t seem so intimidating to us, but for some reason writing a blog post does – even though there’s really not much of a difference.
For example, both can be about the same length. One of my highest-ranking posts on Reddit is a little over 400 words. That’s a fine length for a blog post as long as the content is quality and not fluff.
Also, both can be informal. We hear a lot nowadays that you need to be publishing quality blog posts in order to stand out, and yes that’s true. But sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good. As long as overall your work adds something new to the conversation and you’re serving your audience, a few posts here and there that aren’t the most authoritative thing ever written on the subject won’t kill your brand. And you may even help someone who happens to be following you, and who doesn’t know about or care to read all those other bloggers who you’re afraid have done it better.
The bottom line is if people on the forum responded well to your post and found it helpful, then it deserves a spot on your blog.
Now all that being said, you’ll want to clean up the post a bit and maybe expand it. To avoid SEO penalties, don’t publish public forum content word-for-word on your site. Try to add additional context or background information that the forum post didn’t have so that it qualifies as a new piece. You can learn more about duplicate content and SEO in this post on Neil Patel’s Quicksprout blog.
You may also want to double check the terms and conditions of the forum, to make sure an overzealous forum owner isn’t prohibiting you from using your own words elsewhere – if so you’ll want to take extra care that your blog post is a “new” piece. And hopefully it goes without saying that you shouldn’t publish words that aren’t on your own on your blog without permission from the original writer.
When it comes to SEO some people may also worry about publishing content that’s too short, but as long as your writing is genuinely useful, you don’t have to fear a penalty.
You don’t want to do this all the time – ideally, you have some blog posts where you’ve spent hours to make it the best it can be. But in a pinch when you need content quickly or are stuck on what to write, this technique can help you piggyback on work you’ve done before to help your audience now.