Reader Challenge Roundup: Tell a Story and the Next Challenge

Tell a StoryI’m here not only to give you as much information as possible on my blog, but I’m also here to help you take action.

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 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.

Please enjoy!

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

“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

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 Gift Cards to 3 random participants.

Congratulations to Kevin, Becca and Caroline for winning!

And now…

The Next Reader Challenge: A Case Study Post

The basic idea behind a case study post is this:

  1. Attempt something new.
  2. 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 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.



  • Gregory Ciotti

    Glad you liked my post Pat!

    Just scanning through these titles makes me excited to check a few out, I’m sure there are going to be some really enthralling stories here.

  • Ramy Khuffash

    Wow! Judging by the titles it looks like there’s plenty of great new content for me to check out! I love these challenges! The next one looks brilliant. I wonder how many different things we all end up trying out!

  • Aaron

    Thanks Pat for including my post. If you ever want to go with me down into the abandoned missile silo, let me know. I’ll borrow some waders!

  • Ole

    love your challenges, Pat! And it was a pleasure to write a story for this one.

    Will come up with something for the next one too! :)

    The stories here look amazing, don’t promise to read all, but some – for sure.

  • Benny

    Awesome turnout for this reader challenge! Congrats to everyone who completed it. Will have to go back and find some good ones to read.

  • Gary Anderson II

    Wow, I have so many ideas for “Do Something New” I can’t pick one… Wait a minute…. it’s coming to me…

    There are many things I “should do”, but the only “new” things I can think of to do is either create my own product (sounds scary) or create a free giveaway to actually start putting my Aweber account to use.

    To be honest, I feel kinda stuck. hmmmm… I could write a lot in this comment but I’ll stop here 😉

    Thanks Pat!

    Gary Anderson II

  • sergio

    Sweet. Amazon gift card.

  • Kim

    This is a great idea, and though I don’t feel as if I know exactly how to pinpoint a case study, I feel motivated by this challenge.

    Why? Because of the accountability. I will be held accountable if I join in.

    Thanks for offering something that will help keep me accountable for TAKING ACTION.

    I’m still rather new to SPI and subsequently missed all of the previous challenges, but I look forward to sharing this journey from here on out.

    Thanks Pat!

  • Christopher Knopick

    Pat, Do you have a good example of a case study so we can see what you’re referring to?

  • TomL

    This is a great one. If people tackled all the different Internet Marketing Myths the results would become an epic post in its own.



  • Jamie Northrup

    Even if my name is misspelled above, I’m glad you featured my story.

    Even without winning, the challenge is great because it makes you think, gives you motivation, and you get a link back 😉 Thanks Pat! I’m working on the next one now.

    • Pat

      Fixed! Sorry about that 😛

      Thanks for participating and I look forward to your next submission!

      • Jamie Northrup

        It’s all good, thanks for correcting.

        As for the case study, I’m writing my post starting off the case study and figure I will update my readers with the results every couple weeks, probably beyond the February date. Would you prefer I send in the initial post, or one in February with results?

  • Loz @ Wealth Beyond Words

    Hi Pat

    I love these challenges – especially as you’ve featured my post!

    Thanks man, you’ve made my day.

    It’s my wife’s birthday today as well – so I think a celebratory single malt is on the cards :-)



  • Pierre Bastien

    Thanks for including me, Pat.

  • Tram Tran

    yay, mine is included. It feels super awesome;) will surely participate in the next one. I’m currently working in my iPhone app, so a case study post about iPhone app is under way. Keep being awesome Pat;)

  • Scott Lilly

    Thanks for coming up with the idea, Pat.

    I usually write “just the facts” posts, and probably wouldn’t have written a more personal post without seeing this challenge. That post turned out to be my eigth most popular post.

    Most of my future posts will still probably be the information-rich ones like I’ve been doing. But I’ill be sure to sprinkle in personal stories every now and then.

  • Robert

    Thanks for putting this together Pat. I have some reading ahead of me!

  • Shamelle@EnhanceLife

    Thanks Pat for including my post on “Goldilocks Blogging Approach to Keep Reader Eyeballs Glued to Your Entire Blog Post”. I enjoyed writing it and if it wasn’t for your influence it wouldn’t have been written :-)

    I look forward to participating in your next challenge too.

  • Shamelle@BetterBloggingWays

    Thanks Pat. For include my post “Goldilocks Blogging Approach to Keep Reader Eyeballs Glued to Your Entire Blog Post”. I enjoyed writing it and it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for your influence.

    Looking forward to participating in your next reader challenge too.

  • Phil Jensen

    Wow…lots to read up there, I’ll have to take some time to filter through a few posts.

    Great idea.


  • Phanindra

    Thanks Pat. You are doing really great and especially the way you motivate people to do something new is awesome. Definitely would like to take up this challenge and will try to do something new for me which i haven’t done previously.

    And also, there are really some great posts in this article.Thanks for them.
    Had spent great time in going through most of the posts :)

  • Brian Kwong

    Thanks for featuring “How Daria Musk build a 18,000+ fan base from scratch using Google+ Hangouts”!

    It took me a full week JUST to edit and upload that video but this challenge with a deadline (very important,I submitted this on Oct 31st lol) is really what got me started and I follow through because of it.

    Thank you again and looking forward to participating in your next challenge Pat!


  • Scott Dudley

    It is a great idea for a challenge, but you didn’t go into much detail about what makes a great case study, or some practical examples.

    What’s a good example from SPI?

  • Scott

    Pat, thanks for sharing my story. You’ve definitely been a catalyst to help me get my blog off the ground. I appreciate all of the valuable content you provide here at SPI. Keep up the good work.

  • Emily

    Thanks for the link, Pat! It really was a great experience to write out my story. I may just take you up on the next challenge, as well.

  • James Dibben

    Pat, thank you for the challenge and for featuring my story!

  • Steve Scott


    Great list of articles here. Thanks for sharing all these and giving these poeple a chance to tell their great stories. Great idea, I love these posts where you let people share.

  • Rose

    Your timing is great! Am in the middle of a case study right now! Will definitely do a big write up and get back to you in Feb.

  • Caroline

    Thank you Pat, for the opportunity to participate and for the gift card!

    All the submissions are excellent and I’m thinking of what to do for the next one!

  • Mike F

    Hey Pat,
    Does the topic of the case study have to fit into any category?

    I recently started reading about typing in the Dvorak Keyboard (supposedly you can type faster, and much more comfortably) – I can’t find ANY blog posts about people’s experience on the internet anywhere. I think I could log my experience with it – things like words per minute, people’s reactions, etc…

  • Jerry

    Sweet now I’m set for weekend reading =)

    The wheels are turning on the case study challenge…

  • Glenn


    What a great post, certainly something different! :)

    I wasn’t around for the last reader challenge, I dont mean I wasnt born! just wasnt a reader of your blog.

    This time I will take part, just gotta think of what to do.

    All the best,

  • seoin dia

    WOW! this is something new to me. Next time I’ll take part too. Thanks PAT :)

  • Gavin McMaster

    Pat, a little off topic here, but have you ever thought about putting a job board or forum on SPI? It would be great to talk to othere readers about partnering up on products or ideas or just paying someone to do a specific task that I am not an expert in and don’t have the time to learn.

    For example, I want to lauch my first product shortly and I would be looking to team up and profit share with someone who is experienced with product launches and has been through all the Product Launch Formula course work. It helps me, in that I team up with someone who can help me improve my launch and get more sales and it helps another of your readers who can make some extra income doing something they are an expert in.

    Anyway, just an idea for you.

  • Dean Ethridge

    Incredible ideas Pat! Which comment form are you using to include the opt-in for the eBook? Love the story idea and will use it on my blog as well. I will be back and take action on my blog immediately. Thanks so much for the tips and advice Pat

  • Sokopedian

    Wow, this is great > I will participate in the case study challenge. I missed the last two challenges, I don’t want to miss this one.

  • Stuart Brander

    Great idea. I’ve just started using personal stories in my posts and it does up the engagement level 10-fold. I’m going to be doing it more and more to make the user experience more personal.

  • Family Meals and Cooking Tips

    Talk about a great to get readers to take action! I haven’t joined any challenge yet but I hope to be involved in the next one. I enjoyed reading about how to use Twitter to engage with your audience. I am now going to search your site to learn more about where to start with Twitter in terms of making it work for your business. ..

  • Custom Software Development

    Thanks for the roundup. Hope I missed some posts. I will be surely reading on working on it. Thanks for sharing the posts.

  • Stacey

    Thanks Pat! I look forward to participating in this case study! YOU ARE SUCH AN INSPIRATION!

  • Chris R. Keller from Profitworks

    Great list of submissions. Somehow I missed this reader challenge.

    Here is my link to an article I wrote where I told a story.

    If anyone has time to read it and send me feedback I would love to hear it.

  • Sam Clarke

    Hey Pat,

    I’ve posted a Insane Twitter Challenge to go with this. How to get 10,000 followers. I update my progress every week along with tips to get the followers. is the link to the initial challenge. So far I’m pretty close to being on track but this is just the beginning! The game can change at any time.

    BTW Glad to see you hit your subscriber goals I bet the expo and bloggers conference really helped out with that.

  • Andre Garde

    Thanks Pat! I really enjoyed reading some of these. I’m going to try for the February 2012 challenge. Wish me luck!

  • WhiteKnight

    Great challenge, Pat! I’m a newcomer to your blog so hopefully I’ll be in a position to take part in the next one! Grats to all who did, I’ve been working my way around all of your blogs…

  • Kanwal Sarai @ Simply Investing

    Wow! This list of stories is awesome! I am honored to be included amongst this list. Thanks Pat!

  • Elise Connors

    Hi, Pat — I must say, I’m quite addicted to reading your blog. I’m of the opinion that this is the way that all blogs should be. Unfortunately, they aren’t, but that’s OK because it makes the ones that are all the more special.

    I plan to participate in the challenge and my goal is to start a niche site. After reviewing your niche site duel posts several times, I’ve come up with my 777 list and downloaded the free trial of Market Samurai so far. I plan to do a bit more research tomorrow (today) and possibly come up with a domain name to purchase.

    I love the work that I do, and I’m not paid hourly or on a project basis, so I already have passive income of sorts, however, I want to start building my online real estate and meeting new people to connect with online. I’m looking forward to participating.

  • Jay Sallas

    Wow thanks for this, Pat! It’s a bit of reading to do, but I find I always learn something on your blog! I’m eventually going to take you on the challenge once I start getting more traffic

  • Mark

    Wow! Fantastic and broad range of topics here. I think this is the first one I missed since you started having them. Will try to get my SPI on for the next one. 😉


  • Carolina Ayerbe

    OMG! OMG! Thanks for featuring my story! And great stories, everybody! It’s so funny how we all have something to share, even if we’re thousands of miles apart! How cool is that??

  • zahzel

    Fantastic! You are so inspiring! I joined ibm cuz of u and started masteringweightloss and fitness with the ideas from ibm. Still have Not made any money ahh. Get over 1000 comments daily on my insurance noBs site alot of spam tho. Will keep the faith. TY! for the articles you put on here. I will read them. LOVE your podcasts!

  • Alexis

    Hey pat,
    I’ve to admit until now I did not pay attention to your challenges. I think It’s a brilliant idea.The topics listed above are really interesting.I’ll do my best to be part of the next challenge.

    Thanks Pat.

  • Cameron Perry

    What a great idea for a challenge. I already have to projects I’m thinking about doing this on. What can be so great about case studies is that people are interested in the nitty gritty details of a project… how’d it get done? What were the results?

    I’m looking forward to this.

  • Aleshia Green

    I have been reading your blog for the past couple weeks and I am thrilled to say it is definitely encouraging and thrill seeking to see what I can do myself. I have been dying to make money online without depending on a regular boring job. I have put in a lot of time—-mostly reading–little acting—I must say, but every time I read your blog I am more moved to get moving and take action. Thanks for the insights and I will be starting my own personal achievements blog soon.

  • Ming Jong Tey

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for the challenge. Glad to see my post on the list above! Writing a story is something new to me on my blog. I’m up for the case study challenge!