Successful Message Forum in a Year Series: Getting Started

Forum Administration, Online Communities -

Successful Message Forum in a Year Series: Getting Started

I’m challenging myself!

I will try to have a successful message forum meeting all objectives in one year.

And I’m going to document my strategies, successes, and failures in a 12-month series on this blog.

This series aims to help you, the forum owner, make the right decisions and what to avoid.

My goals are simple – In one year, I want:

  1. 1,000 or member members
  2. 10,000 or more posts/topics combination
  3. Monetization strategies in place to keep the forum paying for itself
  4. Known well within its niche

My niche is “cycling,” including road biking, mountain biking, gravel, racing, and bicycling.

Now let’s jump into my yearly strategies for accomplishing these four goals.


Month 1: Initial Setup and Content Development

The first month (this month) is for the forum's initial setup and content development.

I’ll be focusing on tweaking the forum and getting it fined tuned to meet my needs.

I’ll also create all the forum guidelines, policies, and official content.

I will also decide on the theme and create a logo for the community.

I’ll set up the social media channels and decide on their strategies.

And I’ll finish the month by focusing on some important content to get the community started.


Month 2: Post Exchanges and Engagement

The second month will be about post-exchanging and engaging.

Expect me to get active with post exchanges for about an entire month.

Whoever of you exchanges with me gets excited because I make sure my posts are the best possible posts I can give even if I don’t get the quality content back in return.

This month will be about content, content, and even more content.

An excellent new forum needs content.


Month 3: Socialization

Month 3 will be all about social media optimization and marketing.

I’ll focus my efforts on developing a social community for my cycling forum on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.

I’ll focus on at least one piece of daily content on Facebook, IG, TikTok, and Twitter. And then one short video every two days on YouTube.

I’ll be establishing this using scheduling tools and features.

Then I will focus on engaging in the cycling communities on each network to establish my brand and reputation.

I’ll be doing this while keeping the forum active.


Month 4: Long-Form Content

Month 4 will be all about long-form content.

I’ll be posting long articles about my forum’s topics on my forum every other day.

I’ll also post long-form content on external websites and guest blogs as much as possible.

This will be a critical moment for using SEO strategies.

And I’ll focus on the best possible content that is highly sharable.

I’ll do this while keeping the forum and social channels active.


Month 5: Establishing a Community

Month 5 will be all about members of the community.

By month 5, I’m assuming that I’ll have the beginning of an established community.

Assuming I’ll have community members that joined on their own to be a part of the forum of their own free will.

I’ll focus my efforts on developing relationships with these members.

I’ll then get the community of people who genuinely care about the forum established.

At that point, I’ll ask members to be moderators and encourage community growth.

I’ll do this while keeping the forum and social channels active and creating long-form content frequently.

I’ll likely stop doing post-exchanges at this point.


Month 6: Developing a Premium Membership

During month 6, I’ll work on creating a premium membership feature.

This feature will allow members to pay to unlock specific features such as hidden sections, exclusive articles, educational materials, private videos, virtual live events, and other features.

I will focus on a monthly payment structure rather than a simple annual one. However, I may have the option to pay annually with a small discount.

This month will be about getting the premium membership ready and not opening it up to members.

I’ll do this while keeping the community and social media active, creating long-form content, and building relationships with my members and moderators.


Month 7: Focusing on Authority Members

During month 7, I’ll be focusing a lot on getting members who are authorities in the niche.

I’ll do this by giving away ad space, promoting the authority figures on social, and focusing on them getting my attention.

My idea is to draw the authority figures onto the forum in hopes that it will encourage new membership and active daily engagement on the forum.

I’ll also introduce a “verified check” on my forum for official authorities and such members on the forum. The check is like one they give out to celebrities on Twitter.

I’ll also continue focusing on the other efforts I’ve established during previous months.

By this time, I’ll be one busy guy.


Month 8: Launching Premium Membership

Month 8 will be all about launching and promoting the premium membership.

I’ll run some contests and give a month away here and there to encourage people to sign up after their reward trial period has ended.

I’ll establish a charter membership that allows “the first few” active members of the forum to be premium members for life and at no cost.

I’ll ask if any authority member of the community would contribute to the premium features (such as an interview video or post) in return that I give them some premium advertising or something of that nature.

Of course, I’ll continue to be working on the previous strategies.


Month 9: Advertising and Sponsorship

During month 9, I’ll focus on establishing advertising and sponsorship features.

This is where I’ll sell ad space and sponsorship for different events and contests.

That’s right, contests – I’ll launch more of them on the forum.

Month 9 is about establishing a cash flow back into the forum.

I hope I will at least gain enough to allow the forum to pay for itself and save any additional profits for month 12.

And I’ll continue the previous strategies.


Month 10: Off-Site Promotional Tactics

During month 10, I’ll be doing everything I have been but focusing more on off-site promotional tactics.

I plan to do some low-risk paid advertising on Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other message forums.

I say low-risk, meaning I’m not going to spend much money.

You should only spend much money or have a monthly advertising budget when your objective is to make more than you initially spent on advertising.

This low-risk advertising strategy will focus on establishing the brand/forum and gaining more membership.


Month 11: Merchandise Store

During month 11, I’ll be focusing on launching a merchandise store for the community.

The products will be simple, like t-shirts, bike caps, stickers, and maybe even socks.

I’ll focus on making unique merch drops with special edition items with a manufacturing limit.

That means if you don’t buy, and it runs out – you’re out of luck.

I’ve seen this strategy work well on YouTube, and I think it can be brought over to message forums.


Month 12: Co-Owner/Partnership

During month 12, if I have met all of my goals mentioned at the very beginning of this article, I will seek a co-owner for the forum.

I’ll offer a specific profit amount while keeping the forum expenses in mind.

There will be stipulations and requirements for the co-owner.

I’ll expect them to be active and not just collect a paycheck.

If I do not meet the objectives for some reason, I may look into an exit.

The exit will likely be selling the forum.

I might do another 12-month strategy to improve everything if everything is successful.

Or maybe start a new forum from scratch based on what worked and what didn’t work.


I hope you all enjoy this upcoming series. I’m creating these articles with forum owners in mind, too. That means I’ll give tips and strategies for what I’m doing that month, what’s working, what’s not, and anything else I can offer. The series will help you as a forum owner while showing you my progress. Wish me luck – I don’t think forums are dead yet!

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