You’re not dumb.
You know that to build a popular blog, you need to grow your email list.
And that offering your readers a juicy sign-up “bribe” will grow your list faster.
But despite this, you still don’t have one.
Of course, it’s on your to-do list. It just won’t reach your “have done” list anytime soon.
The problem is you always seem to have a ton of other stuff to take care of first.
And whenever you think about creating your bribe, you feel overwhelmed.
Creating one can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a mammoth task.
If you take the right approach, you can finish it quicker than you ever imagined…
Why Most Bloggers Don’t Have a Bribe (Even Though They Know They Should)
If having a juicy bribe is such an important part of building your blog, why do so many bloggers struggle to create one?
Usually they make one (or both) of two common mistakes:
- They go too broad. They try to tackle a high-level topic with their bribe, like “weight loss” or “blogging” or “happiness.” Or they consider so many different topics that they become paralyzed by all the possibilities and end up agonizing for weeks or even months over picking the “perfect” topic.
- They go too big. They think they have to create an epic, world-changing bribe. A 100-page e-book, or a 20-part email series. That seems like a ton of work, so, quite naturally, they procrastinate and don’t get it done. And the longer they go without a bribe, the better the bribe has to be to justify all that waiting, right?
But in almost every case, this kind of thinking doesn’t lead to an awesome bribe – it leads to no bribe at all.
Because they cast their net so wide – or set the bar so high – that creating a suitable bribe seems like an insurmountable task.
But here’s an important truth:
Even a basic bribe is miles better than no bribe at all.
And that’s the aim of this short post – to help you get unstuck and create your simple yet effective bribe to subscribe so you can attract more subscribers sooner.
How to Use Tunnel Vision to Finally Get Unstuck
You can make the task of creating your bribe massively more manageable by ruthlessly narrowing down your options.
So to avoid going too broad, we’ll focus on tackling just one topic – a common problem for your readers.
And to avoid going too big, we’ll focus on just one type of simple bribe – a one-page checklist.
And if you doubt that a highly-focused, one-page download can be useful and appealing, check out the following examples:
- Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, offers a downloadable PDF – 20 Questions Your Financially Unprepared Friends are Afraid Of – which is essentially just a single page of useful questions.
- Laura Roeder of LKR Social Media has a Master Blog Strategy Worksheet that is a single page containing just nine strategy-related questions.
- Copyblogger has 11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs, a simple one-pager that’s less than 100 words in its entirety!
How to Pick the Perfect Problem to Inspire Your Subscriber Bribe
Instead of trying to tackle all of your audience’s problems, you’ll narrow them down to just one specific problem.
And to make it super easy, we’ll only consider problems that fit the following template:
I want [goal], but [obstacle].
- I want to eat healthier, but it seems too complicated.
- I want to start a blog, but I’m not sure which topic to choose.
- I want to get more freelance clients, but I don’t know where to start.
But where do you find the problems that your audience is struggling with?
The following are some other ways:
- Analyze popular blogs. Use tools such as Social Crawlytics, Open Site Explorer and SEMrush to figure out what’s popular on other blogs in the same space. What problems do those popular posts tackle?
- Use Quora, Reddit and Digg. What questions, topics and links are popular on these sites within your niche? What problems do people struggle with that have no simple answers?
- Study Amazon book reviews. What sort of comments are people leaving in their reviews of the most popular books on your subject on Amazon? Pay particular attention to negative reviews – what problems have the books failed to solve?
How to Create a Checklist Your Readers Will Crave
Once you have identified some potential problems, write them out using the goal-obstacle template:
I want [goal], but [obstacle].
Then start thinking: which of these problems could be eased with a simple checklist?
Here the “obstacle” part is key – what type of checklist could you create that will help people overcome this obstacle?
Remember, a checklist could take many forms including:
- A list of tasks to complete – e.g., The Ultimate Pre-Publishing Checklist for WordPress.
- A list of features to have – e.g., The 10 Essential Features of a Winning Resume that Gets You an Interview Every Time.
- A list of questions to ask – e.g., 7 Smart Questions to Ask Any Prospect That Will Make Them Want to Hire You on the Spot.
Importantly, you’re not trying to solve the whole problem with your checklist, just helping the reader get a little closer to achieving their goal by removing (or reducing) the obstacle.
Example: A Healthy Eating Breakfast Checklist
Let’s take a look at the first of our earlier examples:
“I want to eat healthier, but it seems too complicated.”
In this case, we’d try to think of ways a simple checklist could make eating healthier feel a little less complicated.
Rather than trying to tackle the whole problem, we could focus on just one part of eating healthier – deciding what to have for breakfast.
So our healthy breakfast checklist might look something like this:
- I picked something with protein to help me stay full longer.
- I chose water or tea instead of juice.
- I included some kind of fruit or veggie.
- I made it myself so I know exactly what’s in it.
- I didn’t add any sugar or sweetener.
Of course you could provide more detail about why these guidelines produce the best choices, but try to keep everything simple and to the point.
Let’s look at our second example:
“I want to start a blog, but I’m not sure which topic I should choose.”
For this problem, we could offer a checklist of criteria that a successful blog topic should meet. Or a checklist of warning signs that a topic is the wrong choice.
And the third example:
“I want to get more freelance clients, but I don’t know where to start.”
We could offer a checklist of things that every successful freelancer website must have. Or a checklist of things to include in a follow-up email to a potential client after an exploratory call.
Remember, you’re not trying to solve the whole problem, just help the reader feel like they’re a little closer to achieving their goal.
And finally, don’t forget to give your checklist a tantalizing headline so potential subscribers will happily give you their email address to get their hands on it.
How to Create a Gorgeous Checklist (Even If You’re a Design Dummy)
Once you have your checklist in draft form, you need to turn it into an appealing download.
PDF is usually the best format, and you have two basic options:
- Do it yourself.
- Get someone else to do it.
If you want to go the DIY route, my favorite tool to create stylish PDFs is Canva. It’s simple to use and it’s free.
Just click “Document (A4)” under “Start a new design” and you’ll be able to create your checklist.
If you’re willing to spend a little cash, you can use Canva’s pre-made background templates. Or you can go the free route and just create your own from scratch.
After you’ve finalised your design, click “Download” then, “High Quality PDF” and you’ll get a copy of your new PDF downloaded to your computer.
If this seems like hard work, you absolutely can go the second route. A simple one-page checklist shouldn’t cost a fortune when created by a professional designer – you can find one on a site like Fiverr, Odesk, or Elance.
But whether you design your checklist yourself, or hire someone else to do it, make sure your blog name and URL are somewhere to be found on the PDF – you want to make sure people remember exactly who created this awesome checklist.
One final point – be sure to print out your checklist. That way you can check to make sure everything looks good on the computer screen, and in real life.
Ready to Get Serious About Growing Your Blog?
As a blogger, you always have tasks you know you should do — just haven’t done yet.
But creating an effective subscriber bribe is one you must bump to the top of your list.
Every day that passes without one, new subscribers are slipping through your fingers – people who may never visit your blog again.
So find a common problem and create a simple checklist to help out.
Because the simple bribe you actually create will always kick ass compared to the “perfect” one you never get around to making.
Go on. Get started today. Show everyone you’re serious about building a popular blog.