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!
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.