Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Internet writing: My ‘quickie’ lesson for joining and posting in forums

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Do you frequent many forums? You remember those Web-less-than-2.0 relics, don’t you? I say that because all the buzz about writing and community on the Internet these days is about “Web 2.0,” though I’ve never really been able to pin down just what that MEANS??

Anyway, you know forums. You undoubtedly visit a few. What you probably don’t know is the best way — at least my best way — to do forum writing. There are actually “how to make money online” type ebooks you can pay embarrassing amounts of money for that teach you, supposedly, how to get visitors to your website, your sales page, whatever and make tons of money through posting on forums.

Forget those ebooks. They are, like most “how to make money online” ebooks, a waste of your money and offensive to most forum regulars and forum owners. That’s because they work on the same premise as blog comment sp*m (the “S” word which will never be spoken on this blog) — they tell you to join forums, put up a signature file with your marketing links, website links or whatever, then post repeatedly just to get links and get your signature out there for people to click on. But they never point out the importance of posting helpful posts, posting on topic instead of just posting to get links.

I guarantee you that any forum worth posting on will ultimately ban you if you’re just doing forum sp*m.

So here are my quickie tips for posting on forums. Use them or reject them. There’s nothing profound here, it’s all pretty common sense stuff. And I won’t charge you a dime for them:

1. Find and join relevant forums. If your passion is writing about antique sea chests, don’t wear out your welcome posting on forums devoted to kite flying. Try to find forums on topics of expertise, or topics you want to learn about.

2. Religiously abide by the forum rules. Don’t try to game the system to post about your website, ebook, affiliate program, or whatever if the rules forbid that. If the forum rules don’t allow signature files with links to your website, or even any links at all, abide by that rule.

3. Work hard to learn from other forum members. Do a lot of reading and searching and generally pay attention before you post much. The old adages about having two eyes and ears but only one mouth sort of applies to good internet forum etiquette. (I mean, you DO have two hands for keyboarding, probably, but the principle’s the same.)

4. Focus your posts on offering legitimate information, helpful information, teaching and sharing your expertise with members — NOT on posting just to get your links/websites/whatever on the forum.

That’s probably the most important stuff I know about writing on/for forums. You’ll notice something conspicuously missing from this huge epistle: I said nothing about forums and posting on forums as a direct way of making money online. That’s because I believe most of that stuff about using forum posts to make money is, uh, pure bunk.

The way you “make money” posting on forums is through the connections you make with the community. That’s pretty “Web 2.0,” I guess. Like most things on the Internet, the practical, useful, “value-added” approach is the one which wins in the end. If you join relevant forums and make helpful, useful, relevant posts — which, really, is all I’ve said to do — you’ll make invaluable connections with dozens, maybe hundreds of people.

That’s how I write for forums. What works for you? Tell us, please.
[tags]Internet writing, forum posts, forum writing, how to make money writing online, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

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