My experience with the Internet started in the late ’90s when my family had a Gateway computer in the kitchen connected to the phone line with an AOL disc that came in the mail.
So it was pretty early on in the process.
I remember sitting at home at night and chatting or messaging friends with AOL messenger or whatever it was called. It’s amazing to me how that really hasn’t changed over the years. The messaging has just moved to different platforms, but the idea of talking to others in real time has remained larger the same.
Another early aspect of the Internet were forums. You could call it a chatroom or message board or a few other things. But basically it’s a website or platform where people have digital or typed conversations. One person asks a question and others join in with answers or additional questions.
Over the years blogs with comment sections and certainly social media has taken some of the attention away from the traditional forum, but forums seem to be as popular as ever. And I would even say more popular than those early days in terms of raw numbers. There are simply more people using the Internet today than in 1998.
You can get value from using a forum as it’s intended, but having conversations with others. But you can also use them to find inspiration for blogging or podcasting or creating videos for YouTube or other types of content creation.
Here are just a few ways to find a forum in your niche.
Google is probably the best way to find a forum. They’ve had the best search engines for years and it seems to get better every year. But you still need to know how to tweak your exact query or question or search term in order to find the best results.
It can be pretty basic. Let’s say you’re into Jordan shoes. You want to find forums in the niche. Simply type in “jordan shoes forum” into Google and you’ll get pretty good results.
You can also look for more general focus forums and find the niches within those. So start by searching something like “shoe forum” and you’ll likely find the most popular shoe forums. And from there you can dig one step into the categories to find the Jordan shoes forum.
Then also tweak the word “forum” with things like “discussion” or “chat” or “group” and things like that.
2. Big “Everything” Forums
Reddit is one. Quora is one. Stack Overflow is another. There are a dozen or so forums that kind of cover all topics under the sun. They’re kind of known for being more about personality types than specific topics. And it can even go beyond personality types and just be open to anybody and everybody.
On these forums you’ll often find the niches you’re looking for and usually there is some great discussion going on that you can interact with or use for content inspiration.
For example, I live in Wisconsin and lots of people here love the Green Bay Packers. Since the beginning of the Internet I’m sure packer forums have been popular. There are still niche forums dedicated only to the Packers. There are also sports forums with Packer sections. And there are some great forums about the Packers on sites like Reddit.
3. Social Media
Social media has taken over lots of the attention on the Internet. You can see a lot of the content that used to be shared in forums on the feeds on the various social media sites. Social media has also focused on creating groups, which are really a type of forum. But many seem to still focus more on the latest content in feed form than allowing users to see older conversations and threads.
That’s one thing to watch for forums and with social media. It’s good to know what’s trending. But for long-term content success it’s good to see what has been in demand over years. This can allow you to create that type of content, content that can succeed today and 10 years from now.
It’s relatively easy to find forums today. You can do a few variation searches on Google and find what you’re looking for. I think you can sometimes find the really dedicated and active forums and find a rich experience. But you can also look to the popular general forums and to social media for some discussions and content.
No matter what, there is a lot of inspiration out there for creating content.