Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Blog Like a Pro Lesson 6: Ask People to Share

This is Day 6 in our 7-day Blog Like a Pro (BLP) Challenge. If you missed yesterday’s lesson on strategic generosity start there. Also, check in on Facebook to see what others are doing!

So at this point, you may be wondering: where is everyone? Where are all the readers, the visitors, the fans of your blog? You’re doing all these things to improve your blog, but nobody’s showing up. What’re you doing wrong?

Blog Like a Pro Lesson 6: Ask People to Share

You want more readers? Want more fans? You really, really do? Well, it comes down to one simple tactic that many bloggers neglect: you have to ask.

You have not, because you ask not.

The art of the bold ask

Look. There’s a time to give, and there’s a time to ask. And you’ll never get to pro status as a blogger if you don’t eventually put your work out there and ask people to not only engage in it but share.

The trick here, as we observed yesterday, is to give more than you try to take. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with occasionally making a plea for some readers. Time and time again, I’m amazed at the power of asking when it’s preceded by a season of giving.

Here’s a recent example.

A friend and I went out to lunch the other day. While at lunch, my friend gave me a copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book, #AskGaryVee.

“Oh, thanks,” I said. “I’ve been meaning to get this.”

“Yeah,” he said. “I bought nine copies.”

“Nine copies?!” I said. Of a $25 book?! That’s no small thing.

“Yep.”

“Why?”

“Because, look. I have watched every episode of Gary’s free YouTube show. And he has not asked for a single thing in these past two years… except to buy his book. So I bought nine copies and gave them to friends.”

Wow. That’s the power of two things:

First, you have to give your way into influence (we talked about this yesterday).

And second, you can’t complain that nobody is listening to you or buying your books or paying attention to you if you don’t occasionally ask your audience to care about the things that you care about.

You can’t do this all the time. But every once in a while, a well-placed ask is powerful.

I realized this years ago when I started meeting influential people and saw that how, over time (i.e. the course of months), when I would ask them for things, they would almost always say yes.

You have not, because you ask not.

So be generous. And then be bold. And be okay with when they say no.

A final warning

One word of caution on this: don’t be the guy or gal who’s constantly running around asking people for favors. That is not what I am saying here. At the same time, don’t go broke or neglect your blog because you’re afraid of a little rejection.

If you ask, you’re going to get rejected. Eventually. So just get used to it.

But if you serve first, and ask later, and you don’t hold it against people when they turn you down, you will be surprised at the kind of favor you receive.

Maybe you’ll be awed (like I was) to see that sometimes when you put an important piece of work out there, like a book or a conference or a blog, there will be a long line of people waiting to help you make this thing succeed.

But you’ll never know if you don’t ask.

Ask People to Share

Assignment: Ask people to share your blog. Write something useful or helpful or use something you’ve already written and then personally ask 10 people to share it online. They can tweet or Facebook or email or link to it or all of the above. Ask a few people you know will say yes but then a few you would love to share your work but are secretly afraid to ask.

And here’s the thing: don’t tell them what’s in it for you. They know that part. Tell them what’s in it for them and why this piece is perfect for their audience. Make it relevant to them, ask nicely without any coercion or manipulation, and be gracious if they say no (and incredibly grateful if they say yes).

Then reach out and try to do the same for someone else. Remember to pay it forward. Leave a comment here once you’ve completed the assignment.

Speaking of which, could you share this post?

Thank you!


Also published on Medium.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Woke up this morning with a horrid migraine. After my first 40 hour work week in 12 years, I think that can be expected. It means I need a day off.

    But, when the pain is less and the clarity more, I will send out one email to someone on the “scared to ask” list because I really want to ask him.

  • Done! I asked someone with a big following in my niche to share my giveaway. I told her that I’m giving it away just to give it away—no Rafflecopter gimmicks or anything—which is true!

    • …and she shared it! Yay!

  • saltshakmk@msn.com

    Ugh! This is my worst thing! I was discussing the idea of asking for help and support to move my message, mission, and (currently) my book launch on April 4th forward. I make the mistake by assuming four things: 1. Nobody cares; 2. They’re too busy to help me; 3. They’ll think I’m a shameless promoter; 4. My message, mission, and books are sub-par. BUT–yesterday, following up on this week’s assignments, I anticipated this assignment and reached out to a traditionally published writer friend with a large following in my target area and asked her to review my new picture book and companion audio book. SHE SAID YES! I also asked another friend with a network of families with interests in my focus work, to share the invitation to my FB launch party. SHE DID–and I have a new RSVP on the event page. Biting the bullet and asking more folks today–I have a complementary review copy of my book and audio dramatization to give to someone interested in connecting with my Book Launch Team.

  • Thea

    I have PM’d 25 FB friends to ask them to share, as well as tweeting and posting to LJ. Hopefully at least one or two of them will 😀

  • I have series of Holy Week meditations I wrote last year that I’m really proud of. And since Holy Week starts tomorrow, I PMd a bunch of people on Facebook, like Thea. Some were easy, but I had to psych myself up to do the rest. I gave a soft ask, suggesting that I thought they might get something out of them this week, but if they knew someone who could benefit from them, they should share it. If you are interested, here’s the main page for it: http://drewdowns.net/2015/03/28/holy-week-meditations/

  • Bailey Gillespie

    Here’s a link to a special online Travel Writing course I host about once a year. Please share with a friend if you’re interested – it’s always better to have a friend along! http://baileygillespie.com/2016/03/19/7-day-blogging-challenge-6-travel-writing-online-course-pre-registration/

  • I actually already do this periodically. In fact, last week, I asked my followers on FB if they had been encouraged by anything that I’ve written, would they consider inviting friends to like my page. I received 60 more likes that day! It definitely works! I also already this week asked people to read and share my Christian Mom’s Manifesto. I gained a couple new readers from that as well!

    • Jayna Coppedge

      I missed getting your Manifesto. Please tell me, I think I will want to share it in my parenting Facebook group.

      • Hi Jayna! Here is my manifesto: http://iliterallylol.com/the-christian-moms-manifesto/ Thank you for your interest. I actually extended it and turned it into an ebook to use as my lead magnet along with a super cute printable and screen saver! Those will be available in the next few days when I set up mail chimp! So excited! Where do you blog at?

  • Jayna Coppedge

    I gave away over a 100 PDF copies of my book on Wednesday. It was day after it went on Amazon. I told them the truth:
    “My goal is not to make money or become famous, my goal is to change society.
    My dream is to see parents raise their children with values and character as their number one goal.
    My hope is that child abuse will lessen.
    My desire is that God would be glorified.
    I think you want those things too.”

    If any of you reading this have the same goal, I will send it to you as well.

  • Love this lesson.. I am going to leave this as a season of giving for a while. But I will be bold when the time is right and Ill pray about it to and when I feel the peace that it is the right time to ask, I promise I will do it. I am going to give a free ebook and Mp4 music file.

  • I just asked two big influencers in my niche to share my giveaway. I’ll be going through my FB and Twitter contacts to ask as well. I like this because it forced me to be assertive and bold, which is definitely not easy with my writing and blog. I spent so much time thinking I’m not good enough that I forget how many people with more influence have published and shared my stuff without asking, they may be just as willing if I ask! Also, you are right Jeff about how surprising it can be when big asks are successful- my giveaway is one example. I asked the author if he minding me using his book as a giveaway and he went farther to offer an autographed copy. There are so many generous people out there and I pray that I will always be so generous and helpful with others. Thanks for this challenge! Its amazing!

  • Good news is day six challenge is complete. I actually incorperated this a few weeks ago after reading something you wrote or post o Facebook, maybe.

    However since I got this reminder I did post on all the social media platforms I use and ask to share. I have also contacted ten people directly as the assignment says and asked them to share.

  • Chris

    Loved this one. Assignment completed. Pinterest is also a great place to ask people to share.

    • Nicole Akers

      Wow, Pinterest! I wouldn’t have thought of asking/sharing there. I thought it was more for the craft geared person. Thanks for opening my mind to something new.

  • Sharing is easier than asking for me. With my book release last week I’ve had to do some asking. I like how you put this.

  • Samantha Roose

    Done!

  • Charles S Areson

    Here we go Jeff, both sharing and asking.
    I have asked those that follow my blog, personally asked everyone on my mailing list, and asked others to share a link to get a free Kindle copy of my Children’s book on Sunday March 20th. http://amzn.com/B00AXANGKS or http://amzn.com/B00F6IRNDI

    So why give away a great little illustrated book?
    To help build an audience and to get name recognition.
    Not to mention it is cool to think your book has been read world wide.

    Thanks in advance for the help.
    CSA

  • Nicole Akers

    Okay, this is going to be fun! I hit up my regular social media channels, then some friends. Finally I sent a personal email to some friends that I cannot reach through social media. I also included a few well connected people, causing me to hold my breath and cross my fingers as I hit send (Have you checked your email lately, Jeff?) 😉

    • Nicole Akers

      Yes, I really added Jeff Goins to my email solicitations today, and have the bounce back to prove it. A bold ask, for sure, and I shared your post today too. The bounce back says that Jeff won’t be back until March 21, which is after this challenge concludes. Jeff, how is the new baby? Next week I’ll be picking up with Module 3 of the Intentional Blog Course, this week it’s all action.

  • Courtney Hunt

    Today, I sent an email to several friends and family, asking them to share my “In Defense of Romance Novels” blog. TBH, most of these people aren’t overly interested in my writing so I have low expectations. Maybe they’ll surprise me.

    I also applied for the second season of Liz Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast and had a lovely Twitter conversation with another well-known historical author.

    So, all in all, a good day for this introvert!

    • Christine

      Good luck with the family & friends. 😉 As you say in your TBH, “A prophet is not without honor except among his own kin” often proves true. I think my daughter looks at my blog every blue moon. ‘Always been a bit embarrassed by old Ma’ kind of thing. oh, well…

  • Kelly Belmonte

    I have combined this assignment with yesterday’s (be generous), and came up with this: https://allninemuses.wordpress.com/2016/03/19/poetry-will-make-you-fit/

  • I’m asking anyone I can to share this article on being transgender. For me, it’s important because it’s a factual educational article that might help people who just can’t comprehend the issues transgender people face and by default, just might make life easier for those who find themselves at odds with how they identify with their body. Please share it, because there but for the grace of the powers that me could have gone you or I. Thank you. http://www.writehonest.com/get-real-about-gender-what-you-need-to-know/

  • John Donahue

    Hello everyone, Lesson 5 Complete, I’ve asked a few people for shares and included a share request at the bottom of my posts. FYI, My Freedom Journal givaway is still underway. Please share my post and enter the drawing!
    https://medium.pushingitup.com/you-re-wrong-about-planning-94e92c745c29#.4g736sjks

  • Done! I shared my facebook page and asked for those interested in social media marketing and digital marketing tips and tricks for creatives to like the page as well as share with their friends and colleagues. https://www.facebook.com/YouPlusSocial/

  • Jennifer Jepsen

    I hit up the Big Guns – Rachel Held Evans; Emily Freeman; and Liz Gilbert. We will see..
    jenniferjepsen.org

  • Caty Dearing

    I emailed 10 people and asked them to share my blog on their favorite social media outlet. I gained 7 new subscribers today, and 2 out of 10 have shared my blog. I’m optimistic that those who haven’t shared just haven’t seen the email yet. So far, I’ve completed all of the tasks and have really enjoyed this challenge!

  • Melanie Glinsmann

    Asking for help, whether big or small, has always been hard for me. I’m used to doing things for myself. In the last year, though, I’ve had to learn how to ask for help because the side effects of a medical condition cause me to lose most of the vision in one eye. But social media is different than asking for a ride somewhere. I feel like there’s a fine line between genuinely asking for others to share your message and being spammy. I hate when people are constantly asking for retweets of everything, etc… But I also understand that sharing posts is the whole point of social media. I plan to ask followers on my Facebook page and on Twitter to share the contest I am running as part of the previous challenge. I would love to have a variety of people enter. http://www.melanieglinsmann.com/?p=243

  • Brian Evans

    Assignment 6 done. A little intimidating, since a couple of the people in my 10 were friends I’ve lost touch with, but I tried to frame it as an opportunity to reconnect.
    My article was “The Danger (or Power?) of Discontent”: http://wp.me/p3Vrbb-5g
    If you read it, I hope it speaks to you.

  • This was a fantastic exercise. I really needed this push to get me to do something that I’ve been procrastinating over for a while. I’ve always been reluctant to ask people to share my work. So I decided to first look for someone else who was asking and see if I could help them.

    An influential writer in my niche was asking for beta readers of a project she is working on as well as people who would help her promote it. I offered to help and asked if she could also share my giveaway. She said yes and also connected me with several other opportunities to network with other writers.

    Next, I asked several other writers in my network and friends. Some I am waiting to hear back from, other were happy to help. Now for the most difficult step. I’ve drawn up a list of bloggers that I follow whose work has been really influential in inspiring me to start my own site and pursue my writing dreams. I’ve begun slowly working my way down the list. I want to send each a thank you and a link back to a post on my site that they might be interested in sharing with their readers. But I don’t want to rush through this step so I’ll probably continue with this tomorrow. I’m figuring the more emails I send out the better anyway. :)

    Again, another great assignment. Thanks, Jeff! I emailed 10 people today.

  • Chelsea

    Okay, this was a challenge for someone like me. I completed asking and I’ve shared as well. Off to share some more!

  • Adam J. Hillis

    Finally added share buttons to my site! But also reached out to some influential people in my life to ask them to share in their circles and spheres of influence. In writing about being a husband and a father, I figured I reach out to some of those that have impacted the way I do both of those things. They may not have a “far reach” in terms of who they share to, but hopefully it will be the start of my subscriber growth!

  • Humbling assignment. I don’t like to ask for favors (well, maybe if I’m too lazy to wash the dishes I might ask then), but it was good to stretch those muscles. 10 emails sent.

  • Penny Plautz

    This is exactly my reasoning for buying whatever you offer! You give so much value that I’m always looking for the opportunity to pay you back.

    On a whim I did your 30 day 500 word/day blogging challenge in January of 2015. It totally changed the way I thought of myself as a writer. Although I thought about writing all the time, it wasn’t until I had to post 500 words a day that other people could read and comment on (not just write in my journal) that I finally considered myself a “real” writer.

    Sometimes it’s the small and seemingly obvious things we forget to do that make all the difference. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Adelyn Siew

    Oh! I didn’t realise I was ahead of the game when I did assignment 5. I did a giveaway on my instagram and facebook and they all had to share or repost to enter the giveaway. :) I will however sit and think about who to approach personally to ask if they could share my work.

    • N K

      Wow that’s great you are ahead in the game :) !! Best wishes !!

  • Ashley Nance

    I invited everyone on my list (13 people) to participate in my new free e-course, and to invite others they knew to sign up as well. That was early Saturday morning. Before that I also posted my ecourse and invite to a Facebook group interested in what I’m offering. I invited a friend personally to join up last week and she invited her friend without my even asking her to. Now my course us almost full, and we are ready to begin today! Saturday I started a list of pros I want to ask to share my blog with their readership as soon as I either finish my current ecourse beta or figure out how to segment my list so I can offer to course versions at the same time. Asking and sharing are powerful things! Thank you for the challenge!

  • Trudie Schar

    I asked people to comment, or share my blogs with a friend. They are all working on it :)