One of the ways I love to do that is through reader challenges, where I challenge you to do something specific that I know will help you and your presence online.
Last November I asked you to write a Pillar Article, which yielded a total of 51 posts, tens of thousands of additional visitors to your blogs and one person even landing a book deal!
In January of 2011, I then asked you to write a List Post, which resulted in 1,003 “things” in a total of 63 posts that were shared (and are still being shared) all around the web.
In March of 2011, I then asked you to step out of your comfort zone and post a YouTube Video. There were 44 participants, most who have never recorded or published a video in their life. The most viewed video now has over 25,000 views since then and is ranking #1 in YouTube for its particular keyword!
In May of 2011, I asked you to create a mini-product – some kind of eBook or report that could be given away for free to help expand your brands and, if applicable, earn more subscribers. 20 submissions later, a few people emailed me to let me know that this particular challenge has changed the entire course of their blog, which is fantastic!
And finally in September, my latest challenge asked you to simply tell a story.
So what’s the point of writing a story?
Telling stories is the most powerful but underutilized marketing strategy ever. It’s the best way to connect emotionally with your audience and it’s the best way to become unique, stand out of the crowd, and be remembered.
At Blog World Expo, Darren Rowse from Problogger.net mentioned in his keynote presentation that out of all the posts he has published, it’s the ones that include stories that people seem to remember the most.
In Stand and Deliver (affiliate link), a book that I’ve read 2 times now to help me with public speaking and crafting an excellent presentation, there’s an entire section about how and why one should always include stories in their presentation.
I actually talk a lot more about the importance of stories and how they can help us stand out of the crowd in my presentation at the Financial Blogger Conference, which you can watch by clicking here (the link will take you directly to that point in the presentation).
Reader Challenge Submissions
I’m extremely happy with the participation in this particular challenge. All of the stories (yes, I’ve read them all) are fantastic.
Some are emotional, some are funny, some also include some fantastic advice – but all come from the heart and I’m happy to feature the submissions here on SPI.
Pick one or two that seem interesting to you and you’ll see just how much more a story “puts you in the shoes of the author” and allows you to really connect with a person, more so than any how-to or list post could ever do.
My Grandma’s Last Words by Matt at American Taoist
Pirate Living by Scott at What is Rich
Essay: He Gives and Takes Away by James at Blue Collar Living
Why I Finally Closed My Chase Bank Checking Account by Max at Maximizing Money
What I’ve Learned in 2011 and How it can Benefit You by Phil at Internet Business for Beginners
Breaking Through the Walls by Caroline at Caroline Donnelly
Is God Trying to Tell Us Something? by Estevan at Plea For Power
How I Discovered the Importance of Multiple Streams of Income by Mike at Retire Young and Wealthy
Mr. SpecialEd’s Beginnings at Mr. Special Ed
The Most Important Leadership Lesson I Ever Learned by Scott at Margin of Excellence
How I Used Twitter To Build My Offline Biz by Keith at Social Web 101
How I Lost 10% of My Investment Portfolio in 3 Months, and What You Can Learn From My Loss by Tony at Investorz Blog
Blogging and How It Provides for My Family at Dorm Room Cash
How Overcoming Panic Attacks Helped Me Understand The Path To Success by Tom at Leaving Work Behind
Can’t Sleep? Mind Racing With Ideas? Take My Advice by Robert at My Multiple Incomes
Big Bill The Lottery Addict by Mike at Saving Money Today
How to Achieve What You Want in Life by MJ at Mind Jong Tey
My First BJJ Gi by Brendan at Gi Reviews
How to Talk About Death by Pierre at Pierre Bastien
I’m Not Good With Computers, I CAN’T Run an Online Business by Wasim at Wasim Ismail
How a 10 Year-Old Taught Me Ways to Make Money by Tram Tran at Start Young Finish First
Understanding the Seasons at Free to Live Your Dreams
Getting Paid to Blog is Great, But Recognition is Even Better by Jamie at Jamie Northrup
Here is Why You Should Never Give Up at Weight Loss Tps
The Good Things That Happen When You Speak Up at High Flying Ladies
Panic Stricken in Paris at Charles de Gaulle Airport by Carolina at Cultural Travel Guide
Finding Love While Living Overseas by Scott at Moving Overseas Book
Why I Quit Everything to Win at Hummingbird Homemaking
If it Looks Like a Rose and Smells Like a Rose, It’s Probably A…Hooker by Afheyne at Milk The Pigeon
Broken Glass Online Marketing Moments by David at Gadarian Digital
Starting Over Can Lead To Your Rebirth by Renee at A View to a Thrill
The 2008 World Series Fiasco: Does Fortune Favor the Bold? by Gregory at Sparring Mind
What My Grandfather Taught Me About Change (And How This Can Help Your Business) by Loz at Wealth Beyond Words
Kill Your Darlings – A Classic Story by Murphsy at Murphsy.com
“I Want a Life Worth Living” From the 4-Hour Work Week to Writing Movies While Suffering a Quarter Life Crisis at A Fool for Screenwriting
Essential Life Lessons from 80s TV Commercials and 90s Cartoon Theme Songs by Joel at Enlightened Resource Management
Company Personality. Do You Know What You Are Selling? at Marketing for WAHM
How I Make Over $250,000 a Year in Real Estate Investing (And I’m Only 29) by Jeff at Good Financial Cents
Paying Forward an Awesome Productivity Hack by Kevin at You’re Making Me
TMI Fridays: The Luke “Skywalker” Saga, Part 2 by Becca at Smart Hot Fun
Redefining Failure by Shelli at ShelliJohnson.com
Taking Risks with New Platforms by Ramy at Make the Internet
The Good and the Bad of Owning a Business by Renee at Renee Taylor CPA
Labels Belong on Jars, Not on People by Marty at Inspired Gift Giving
Jump With Your Eyes Open by LDF at Milk Blitz Street Bomb
Business Focus – Lessons from Iqbal by Momekh at Life ETC
Critics, Counselors and Mentors by Don at Dynamic Public Speaking
How I Increased My Affiliate Earnings TenFold (and how you can do the same) by Mark and James at Recurring Earnings
The Goldilocks Blogging Approach to Keep Reader Eyeballs Glued to Your Entire Blog Post by Shamelle at Better Blogging Ways
The Hadouken Approach to Long Tail Content Marketing by Jared at Analyze Niche
How Pat’s Niche Site Duel Kept Me Motivated by Harlan at The Render Q
Why I Started Investing On My Own by Kanwal at Simply Investing
Missile Silos and Learning: Three Lessons by Aaron at The Everyday Language Learner
How Daria Musk Built a 18,000+ Fan Base from Scratch and Launched Her First EP Using Google+ Hangouts in 3 Months (Video Interview) by Brian at Product Launch That Works
Challenge Your Assumptions by Jackie from Money Crush
Kids, Apps, Friends and Success by Ole at Apps for Children
How I Found True Love (and 3 Things I Learned) by Mike from How to Be Amazing
Thanks again to all of those who participated. As promised, I am giving away three (3) $50.00 Amazon.com Gift Cards to 3 random participants.
Congratulations to Kevin, Becca and Caroline for winning!
The Next Reader Challenge: A Case Study Post
The basic idea behind a case study post is this:
- Attempt something new.
- Report your findings or results.
Case study posts have been the backbone of content on SPI.
People see me attempt something, take action, and then see the results of that action. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, but either way I report the results and it becomes extremely helpful to the readers.
So that’s the new challenge (and it’s pretty open ended on purpose), so try something new and report your findings on your blog. Some niches may yield data and numbers, while other niches yield stories and experiences. Either way, it’s bound to be interesting and I can’t wait to see what you come up with.
The more detail, the better.
I’m giving you until the end of February 2012 to complete this challenge, so if you want to make it epic, go right ahead!
Bookmark this post, and send me an email with a link to your case study through my Contact Page and make sure you write READER CHALLENGE in the SUBJECT so that I can catch it.
As always, I’ll randomly select 3 participants who will each receive a $50.00 Amazon.com gift card.
Thanks again to all of the participants in all of the reader challenges so far, and I hope there will be even more this next time around.