This is a guest post from Jeff Goins from goinswriter.com.
Years ago, I blogged about a woman who was going to be evicted from her apartment. I met her while I was volunteering with a local charity one random Saturday afternoon.
Her name was Pat, and she spoke with a thick Bostonian accent and had a strong smoker’s cough. Her apartment was covered in newspapers, and she had a couple of dogs whom she loved dearly.
Pat told me if she didn’t pay her rent in a week, she’d lose her apartment and end up back on the streets. Apparently, she had been homeless before.
I didn’t know what to do. She needed more money than I had, but I got the sense that she was telling the truth. So I turned to my blog.
I only had about 100 subscribers at the time, but I told Pat’s story in a post, asking friends and strangers to consider chipping in whatever they could.
Within 24 hours, we had the money: something to the tune of $500. By the end of the week, it was closer to $1000. That’s not a ton of money to some people, but it was a matter of survival—of life and death—for Pat.
That was the first time I saw the true power of blogging: not only to get a message out there, but to truly change lives. Looking back years later, I can now see the application to online business.
Here are three important lessons we can learn from this story.
People want to help other people
What does this have to do with you? Well, if you help others, they will want to help you.
This is called “reciprocity” and is an important key to online business and community-building.
If you do good, good will come your way.
It only takes a tribe to make a difference
Do you think you don’t have enough fans or followers to make a real impact? Try again.
There were only bout 20 or 30 people who gave a donation to my “Pat fund,” but it was enough for her.
If you have a message to spread (or a product to sell), you might be surprised by how few it actually takes to get the word out (and to make a living).
As an example, I’ve noticed that a small percentage of my readers actually buy my products, but those that do are dedicated fans. So whether it’s $4.99, or $499, they’re interested.
Tell a story people can participate in
What made this giving opportunity so attractive was that people could take action and see immediate results. They got to be a part of the story.
And this is worth way more than a mere “return on investment.” They were given the gift of significance.
I saw the same thing with a recent book launch where I encouraged people to submit their stories. In a few days, I had upwards of 100 entries. Just think how much more vested in the project those people will be once it releases.
The next time you launch something, consider how you can empower people to tell their stories and be part of a larger one worth telling. Jeremy Statton explained how he uses this technique to create engaging contests in a recent post here on ProBlogger.
So, tell me: how has blogging changed your life? Share your story in the comments.
Jeff Goins is a writer who lives in Nashville. You can follow him on his blog or on Twitter @jeffgoins. His new book, Wrecked, just came out. This week only, you can get the eBook on Amazon for only $0.99.