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Bloggers Don’t Predict the Future

This guest post is by Chris Kahler of BloggerITUS.com.

Unless you believe in your abilities to have prophetic visions, you likely can’t predict the future. As a blogger (or hopeful blogger), you need to realize that attempting to see what your future business has in store is a waste of time and effort. Rather than trying to predict the future of your business, you should be pacing the future of your business.

Bloggers don’t predict: they pace the future

Future pacing is a crucial part of blogging. The most valuable traffic, that comes in the highest quantity, is from those who have decided to tag along with you on your blogging journey as subscribers both to your RSS feed and newsletter, friends on your Facebook page, and followers of your Twitter account.

So, the thing you should be asking yourself if you want to build a whopping reader list is this:

What do I need to do to get people to stick around?

For starters, you can follow the simple guidelines I’ve outlined for you here, and for your long term improvement (if you really want to get good at this) you can subscribe to my RSS feed using the link below.

I just gave you your first example of what future pacing is. If you click on the Subscribe link with the thought that you’re going to receive great content in the future, then you’ve become a reader of my blog not only at the present, but for the future as well.

Here are the other future pacing guidelines that will keep people constantly coming back for more. These aren’t the only rules, but they are a good general set to keep in mind when planning out ways to keep your readers involved at present, and coming back for more.

Never blog it all at once

Keep your blog posts centralized around your chosen topic. If you are blogging about general ideas regarding a topic (as I am in this blog post), don’t get so specific on the blog post that you make it a novel. Keep your job at being general.

Here’s why you want to do that: your blog is a continuing project. You will have many days in the future to cover the specifics. Make sure to mention these things in your blog posts. People like the idea that such value is ongoing and that they can discover something new at frequent intervals rather than being pounded in the brain by a novel-length blog post.

Don’t be afraid to ask

When you start a blog, keep in mind the primary point of it. You are not blogging for computers, income, or business. You are blogging for people. Having content that helps people is primary goal number one. When you hit that goal, the others will follow accordingly, and by focusing first on people, you’ll never step across the line. After all, people can sniff a blatant marketing scheme from miles away.

When you find yourself creating content for people that you know is valuable, you will not only want people to read it, but you will feel obligated to encourage them to read. Asking for subscribers is not a bad thing if your intent is focused completely on helping them. Honestly, by not asking you might be doing them more harm than good … what’s one more quality feed or email going to do to hurt them? It won’t do any harm, but never knowing your awesome ideas will bring more long-term suffering than not finding the knowledge at all!

Every blog post should plant seeds

What do a good blog post and a good television show have in common? Well, when you watch a series you really like and it ends, what’s the next thing that comes up (besides the credits) that always keeps you coming back for more?

Of course, the “On the Next Episode” tidbit. Great blog posts follow the same principle of seeding people’s interest, though they do it more subtly than a television show. Sometimes it’s okay to highlight the next post, for a series or something, but generally speaking, you want to drop cues here and there on your blog about upcoming content that readers should look out for.

In the last post I wrote, I mentioned in a general sense the three components that are always involved when it comes to earning money online. Now, that was a general post that set the stage for future content that digs deeper into that idea. Readers can come to expect those posts, I can plan to write them, and together we can unfold concepts for practical money-making applications.

Just like a television show, my audience knows what’s likely coming up, they’ve got “scenes” or ideas that have been planted in their minds … but also, like a television show, they don’t know what to fully expect. That is what keeps people coming back! The lure of great future content, the consistent reason to stick around, keeps them sitting on the edge of their seats feeling for the next amazing post that’s bound to hit the RSS feed!

Next steps

I’m not one to leave you hanging. I’ll give you a few starting points and things will unfold from there:

Step 1: Find the top five

Assuming that you know what you want to blog about, find the top five general topics in your blog’s category. For example, the five general topics I have for blogging are: Systems, Profit Equation, Instant Massive Action, Pacing, and Content Generating. I’ve covered the first three on my blog, the fourth I’ve obviously decided to branch out, and the fifth is on the horizon.

Step 2: Break it down

Take each general topic and break them down into between three and five general sub-parts. Remember, your first posts need to generalize your upcoming content. You have plenty of time to home in on specifics. That doesn’t mean your posts need to lack quality, originality, or be a waste of time for the reader. That just means you need to give a little info but also reserve a little info; save the details for more specific, later posts.

This tactic is especially good if you know what needs to be covered on a general basis but don’t really know the specifics yet. You’ve set pacing for future content and have given yourself time to learn what you want to blog about.

Step 3: Plant the seeds

Determine ways to incorporate seeds of the later topics into the present topic you’re discussing. In my first blog post about creating systems I mention in the introduction that “you are about to learn how to apply my methods for systematizing your productivity work flow, building each system you create around the profit equation needed to grow your income.” The italicized part was future pacing for the next post about the profit equation. Inside that post I drop seeds as well.

Step 4: Create action

Create an action for each of the three to five sub-parts of your general topics. If you can find a way to create applicable steps for not only learning but doing the parts that make up your five main topics, then you haven’t wasted your readers’ time.

Bloggers are meant to deliver information that’s not only informative, but useful. Always try to find relevant actions that others can take, even if those actions might seem trivial. If you can tie in a good reason why readers should complete the action, you are not only building your own ability to call a person to a specific action, but you are conditioning your readers to taking action on your ideas.

Do you pace your blog for the future? Please share your techniques with us in the comments.

Chris Kahler is an underground marketer diversifying his business into the field of blogging. He has years of experience online, and is currently focusing his effort on his new pride and joy, BloggerITUS.com. You can subscribe to his RSS and follow his recently created Twitter account to legally stalk him and learn everything you need to know about making money on the internet.

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Comments

  1. Deeone Higgs says:

    I really thank you Chris for sharing this article. As a new blogger myself, I found this to be very helpful and insightful. I’m sure to reference back to this post several more times in the near future.

    • Zach Crawley says:

      Wanted to say that I was recently thinking about this topic and how I focus too much on the future. Just do what needs to be done in the now and the future will come soon enough ..

      • Chris Kahler says:

        Don’t think about this as “focusing” on the future, it’s about planning. If you are blogging seriously, take it seriously by knowing what’s coming up ahead of time!

    • Chris Kahler says:

      Not a problem, I’m glad this helped you! That was the intention :)

  2. Nice post Chris with some very useful insights.

  3. I have definitely found myself focusing too much on the future of my blog and not enough on the right now, which sometimes translates into posts that are all over the place. Thanks for the tips. I am definitely going to bookmark this one!

  4. “Every Blog Post Should Plant Seeds”

    I have never thought of it that way. I am now contemplating going back to my old articles and adding some teasers. I wonder if it will work?

    • Unless someone is a big fan of a blog, one will hardly wait for another post of ‘killer’ post. It is also difficult unless you are writing about something about no one on the earth is writing about. As I am also a web developer, I know that people don’t even wait for website to take a minute to load. So I think, making them wait till I publish a next ‘sequence’ of information won’t interest them much.

      >>> What do a good blog post and a good television show have in common?
      I am not convinced on this thing either. Actually It’s difficult for me to compare television show with a blog post. When watching a TV show, I have no choice but to wait till next episode to come. But on Internet, if you don’t have it, user will just start searching other websites. And knowing that the reader will have to wait until you publish new post, it speaks out, “Hey, I don’t have it right now. Please come back next Monday, 9pm sharp.”

      • Chris Kahler says:

        But how does a person become a good fan of a blog in the first place? By being interested in the blog and EXPECTING more value in the future.

        Using strategies like this one needs to be done subtlety, and of course it is no magic solution. This actually has a lot to do with psychology and how a lot of people don’t like missing out on the full story you’ve got.

        As a blogger you will develop a consistent routine with your posting schedule. If you are not consistent then your readers won’t be very consistent with you either. It’s this consistency that builds up their expectation, because clearly bloggers don’t advertise their next blog post. However, we do work from routine, bloggers and readers both, and because of this certain expectations DO exist for readers of a blog.

        This is just a “perspective” on how to view it!

  5. karen ritch says:

    I guess ours doesn’t qualify as a blog even though we use that format. You make an interesting point that there should be continuity and a connection from the past to the future. Btw, I “stopped by” to say that I did develop the gift of prophecy when I became a mom. I’ve had successful predictions such as “you’re going to drop that,” and “careful now, you’re going to fall,” etc.

  6. Élan says:

    I struggling with the “Planting Seeds” one. I really, really want to plant the seeds, but I have trouble doing it subtly. I find myself writing “Soon, we’ll cover this issue in more depth” or even “Come back Friday to read a more detailed write up of this issue”. Unfortunately, those are both too obvious! I then find myself just deleting the reference to the future article entirely. Is no seed worse than an obvious seed?

    • Chris Kahler says:

      I only wrote it like that just to relieve pressure of anyone who thought they would have to be upfront, not meaning you can’t do it that way!

      It even works to break down posts into 3 part series… how subtle is that LOL. That’s a great thing about blogging… things aren’t as “set in stone” as they may appear… if that works for you to just tell them what’s coming, then do it that way! Being subtle is only a preference, the point is to keep the idea of more future value for your readers so they have something to return for :)

  7. PsychicJim says:

    I like what you say about prediction, and talk about the future since this is my psychic niche!

  8. patrick says:

    Very interesting perspective on pacing your blog. I agree that content plays the primary roll in any blog. That’s what people go to your blog to see and if it’s not compelling than you lose out on the one reason people came to you in the first place. Giving people a strong reason to come back is what helps build and sustain an audience. Thanks for the insights.

  9. Amy says:

    Like Elan said above, I have some trouble with the planting seeds. Partially because of my own brain :) , but also because it feels a little manipulative. I know that we all have stuff to sell and there’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t you think the readers can see through your teasers?
    Why not be up front about it? Does that not work? (This is an honest question; I really don’t know the answer.)

    • Chris Kahler says:

      Wouldn’t really see it too much as “teaser”. Think of it as an acknowledgement that there are things left unsaid that will be explained.

      Keep an idea of what topics you know you’re going to cover in the future and you can write on one without having to immediately satisfy their thirst for knowledge on the others… doesn’t mean you can’t tell them to expect the upcoming posts though.

      If you don’t know what you’ll write about a little in advance, then you can take a topic and break it into multiple parts.

      You don’t have to be nazi on your blogging routine to fit any of these strategies, but it is a good idea to try and implement them from time to time. You will increase your readership’s engagement with your content and if you can give them a positive future outlook on what your blogging about I’m sure they will be more inclined to stick around!

  10. Anni says:

    I think it is possible to predict future trends – when you see a big change happening, you can guess some of the things that will follow. But keeping pace with the future sounds like a smart move.

    I haven’t tried the subscriber thing yet on my site – just changed it over to WordPress this week, from a static HTML site. So I’m looking for how to best implement it. I really hate those pop-up ‘subscribe’ forms that appear when you enter some blogs – and will click out as soon as I see one. In fact, I hate anything that seems pushy.
    Nicely asking for subscribers, as you said, seems a better option.

    • Chris Kahler says:

      Yeah, I agree. I have been battling with myself on pop ups and have found a solution for it that I’ll implement one day.

      But yes, trends are discernible, but sometimes people can waste time if the trend doesn’t pan out the way they originally thought. One thing I’ve noticed is that in the blink of an eye things can change as far as what we see in our future.

  11. Jacqueline says:

    I agree that it is easy to get caught up in the future- but for me it has been in a different way. I’ve been doing so much research on “how to”- how to draw traffic from social networking, how to display google adsense, how to keep readers coming back- that I have no time to actually implement what I learn. So just a few weeks ago I decided I’ve learned enough and I just made a list of things I had to do, and now I am doing them. On just the first day I started focusing most of my efforts on “doing,” I saw a big spike in traffic.

    I’ve also been doing the “drop hints about future posts” thing, but it’s hard to tell what kind of effects it has. I just use it as a way to stop myself, like you said, from writing novels if I know I have an important point I want to make.

    I post monthly updates of my traffic and income too, and what I do to get my blog there, if you are interested: http://www.escapenormal.com/category/monthly-traffic-income-reports/

    • Chris Kahler says:

      Good job on moving towards action! Getting caught up in a learning cycle can be worse at times than not doing anything at all. I’m sure you’ve got the knowledge to use, keep applying that knowledge because that’s the only way you’ll see if things really work!

      The point behind this post isn’t for instant change.. It’s for long term growth of a blog. I think many are taking it very literally when really the idea is the concept of building a readership that gains an expectation for future value.

      Your hints don’t have to be forced into your writing… Just blog on your topics and when you realize there is something else they should know regarding that topic, mention that you’ll cover it soon. Simple, subtle, but really effective as you grow your blog.

      Thanks for stopping by, I’ll check out your link for you :)

  12. That is a very nice strategy you presented Chris. I never thought of my blog posts that way. It totally makes sense.

  13. I like the idea of seeds. I have done that unconsciously to some extent! I’ll be sure to think about it more in future.

  14. Jemy Bali says:

    A good strategy for blogging .. Leaving the reader curious about the continuation of our posting .. Thaks 4 nice article.. ..

  15. Bloggers don’t predict the future?! Speak for yourself.

  16. I like your idea that our readers will subscribe because they want to read something in the future. Good advice for writing those posts.

  17. “Every Blog Post Should Plant Seeds”
    —Of course, the “On the Next Episode” tidbit. Great blog posts follow the same principle of seeding people’s interest, though they do it more subtly than a television show.

    Hi Chris. Thanks for sharing these ideas with the rest of the bloggers :)
    I have never really thought that this could be applicable to blogs. Well, I have thought about it if a writer intends to post some sort of a series blog, but how do you do this “next episode” tidbit if your blog can already stand alone? Can you also give us some ways on how to do this?

  18. David Guion says:

    So instead of coming up with ideas for a single blog post, I come up with an idea for a bunch of them over time? That could either simplify matters considerably or complicate them beyond measure. Well, I guess there’s only one way to find out.

    • Chris Kahler says:

      As long as you have an idea of what your blog is about, and an idea of what you’ll cover in the future, that is all that you need. There is no harm in giving your readers something to expect in the future, and you can always deliver because the future is not set in stone, you make it happen!

      And yes, you will have to come up with a bunch of ideas over time if you are blogging for keeps! Blogging is definitely a long term profession :)

  19. Dheeraj says:

    I think the point you have mentioned here “Never blog it all at once” is somewhat related to blog niche. I don’t know why bloggers get stuck to Niche. No doubts it makes your position sound among search engines, but on the other hand it makes the Blog very boring indeed and Even lose your Reader’s interest in the future.

  20. Naser says:

    Thanks for this post Chris, as iam a new blogger, basics of blogging are very useful to me. Keep up the good work.

  21. klems uche says:

    Nice job ! I came across the word “blog” and became curious and now I’ve learn t a lot, kudos to your blogs. Hope to know more in your future articles.

  22. Some to tips there Chris!, I like the plantin seeds bit. I’ve planted 5 seeds this year (links to from very large blogs back to mine, plus showing my skills off!).

    Keep in touch,

    David Edwards

  23. John says:

    Hi Chris, this is wonderful…great piece. Thanks!

  24. captainkids says:

    Nice post Chris with some very useful insights.

  25. Very well said, Chris. No one can really predict what’s going to happen in the future but we can do something to achieve favorable result for whatever undertakings we are going to take.

  26. Brandon says:

    I agree that planning is important. I find it useful to plan a few posts in advance. I think that would make it easier to plant seeds in each post.

  27. Lillian says:

    Very interesting post Chris with useful information..