Participate, Participate, Participate

So now that you know a thing or two about the industry, you’re ready to test the waters; it’s time to join the community and get involved.  By joining the community I mean following and interacting with individuals and groups that share a common interest as yourself.  Blogs and forums are the best place to start, then once you begin to recognize particular individuals you can start interacting with them through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  Joining the community may be a bit intimidating at first, but the best approach is to follow along silently until you get to know the terrain and are ready to begin voicing your thoughts and opinions.

Blogs are a great way, if not the best way, to gain information about any given industry or niche.  Experts in every area of every subject are blogging nowadays, and so much knowledge is there for the learning.   There are a number of blog catalogs which allow you to search by subject, or if you know of a specific professional or expert, chances are they have their own blog.  You could even just do a Google search on a topic of interest + the word ‘blog’, e.g. ‘affiliate marketing blog’, and from here you can pick and choose which blogs to follow.  Be sure to check out the comment section on each individual blog post to see how other readers are reacting to the topic.  This not only gives you a number of additional opinions, but many bloggers also answer questions here if there’s any ambiguity or confusion.  And when you’re ready to include your two cents, join the conversation.

Forums are online message boards where the community comes together to interact with one another through discussion.  Forums can be thought of as an online bulletin board if you will, where each person’s question or thought is “tacked” on the message board.  Then other members can respond by “tacking” their thoughts underneath or starting a whole new conversation all together.  I’m an outdoorsman so I like to think of it as a gathering around a worldwide campfire where campers discuss their topic of interest.  Forums are a great place to go for answers to any questions you may have about any particular industry or network, but be sure to familiarize yourself with the community before you start to participate.  This can be done by reading through what’s known as a Sticky.  Stickies are permanent conversations, usually right at the top of the forum, that address the courtesy rules and FAQ’s of the message board.  Some forum moderators and members can be bullies or know-it-alls but don’t let this discourage you from participating.  Hell, I was even booted for life from the first forum I ever tried to participate in (screw you geeks! LOL).  ABestWeb is the best forum to join if you’re involved, or thinking of getting involved in affiliate marketing.

Participation is key in any industry, especially affiliate marketing.  Not only will you be able to take advantage of all the available information, but you’ll be joining a community with a common interest, and over time you’ll develop meaningful relationships.  Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be the one answering questions for the newbie.

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