Are you relying on external forums and websites to host questions and answers on your product or service? That’s content that you can gain better control over. . .
Suggestion: Host your own public Q&A forum.
Set the rules. Disallow disparaging other people’s products. Host a forum for questions and answers, allow performance suggestions only, for example.
Here are a few rules you can implement on your own Q&A forum:
- No promoting products or alternative services.
- For experts only.
- Membership must be approved.
- People have to apply to get in.
Instead of a traditional forum, host one that looks like this instead:
You can host your own Q&A community. There are clones of that website above:
Some of those listed above are fully maintained by the developers themselves.
Become a leading industry resource. With thoughtful content development and proper moderation, your Q&A site could become an invaluable, focused, no BS arena where those who want to become the best can get the information they need to be the best.
Hosting your own Q&A forum generates fresh content for you that will increase your company’s online visibility. A service such as this may cost upwards of $500 a month if your site is already getting a lot of traffic:
Quite frankly, external forums are self-serving content building machines designed to profit of the exchange of goods and services by attracting attention to themselves.
If you think it is impossible to generate traffic to your own self hosted Q&A website, consider promoting your Q&A website in the following ways:
- Include a link to your Q&A forum within YouTube promotional videos and syndicated articles.
- Include a link to your Q&A website within your Amazon product listings (this will take the content development that happens on Amazon’s domain and put it back under your control).
- Instill a new policy: Have your eBay sellers direct questions to your Q&A website.
- Include your Q&A website in product listings on seller sites.
Are you concerned about costs? Don’t be. There are one free open source version versions of high-end Q&A systems:
Take a look at how big businesses leverage their own Q&A systems: http://www.dzonesoftware.com/customers
New businesses should consider leveraging Q&A content. Why should all of a company’s questions be happening on Amazon or in an industry forum they have no control over? This is one way Amazon managed to get so big so fast. Amazon became a communication hub between brands and their customers. Imagine how profitable it is for Amazon to own your customer’s questions.
Why not take steps to get some of that user-generated content to promote your own website?
It isn’t difficult. If you need help, consult with us.