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Message Boards: Promotion

By Richard Lowe
Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2004

All right, now you've created the best message board in the world (at least in your humble opinion). You've set it up and posted a few things and waited for herds of people to start contributing. You wait and wait. Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months, and still nobody visits your board. What's going on?

Something that is not obvious is that a message board must be promoted just like anything else on the internet. In other words, you have to let people know that your board exists and is interesting. I know it seems kind of strange ... you created your board in order to get people to come back to your web site, yet now you have to promote the board as well?

The first thing you want to do is to link your board to your web site. I know it seems obvious, but still it interesting how many people forget this simple step. In addition, the link must be in an obvious place, and it's wise to include it on every page of your site.

The next tasks is to start telling people about the existence of the board. You are looking for contributors, especially early in the life of the board. You want to find as many people as you can who will actually contribute to the community that you are trying to build.

A good place to start is to lurk in other message boards, newsgroups and email discussion lists with similar subjects. Read the messages, then start posting your own to get established as someone who is knowledgeable on the subject. You should start to determine who is active in the board, perhaps make a few friends and gain some respect.

You can tactfully invite people to contribute to your own board. Personally, I think it's very tacky to issue invitations in other boards, newsgroups and discussion lists. I believe it is more preferable to invite people one-on-one in personal emails. Posting an invitation to a board is a great way to get the board members to dislike you ... and do it often enough and they may eject you entirely.

Just choose one or two people who are interested in your topic, who you respect and admire and would make good contributors to your board. Don't send a personal message to everyone - just a few selected people.

Be sure your message board has been submitted to the search engines, just like any other web site or web page. You will want to get it into the top engines (these include Google, Altavista, Hotbot, Excite and others).

You can also reference your board within your newsletter (you do send out a newsletter, don't you?) and as part of your email signature. I would not bother with FFA (Free For All) lists, paid advertisements and banner exchanges. My experience is these promotional methods require a lot of work for a small gain.

You should be promoting your board just as hard as you would promote your web site, ebook and ezine. Each of these is a separate element and can be promoted separately as well as together.

In summary, your board can be a very useful part of your overall promotional strategy. Message boards are extremely useful in getting people to return to your web site many times, but in order to be useful they must be promoted heavily and constantly. If you do so, then you may find your board will take on a life of it's own and become as popular (or even more so) than your web site.

About the Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This website includes over 1,000 free articles to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge. Web Site Address: ( Weekly newsletter: ( Daily Tips:


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