UPDATE: I consider the Breakthrough Blogging materials a waste of money. DO NOT pay to part of the community if Pat Flynn opens it up again.
For those that follow my blog you might remember the Podcast Answer Man Review I did for the Only72 course a couple months ago. Since that was only 1 part of the 6 courses you got when you bought the Only72 course package I thought I'd post another review of a different course.
This time I will be reviewing the private Breakthrough Blogging community which is run by Pat Flynn. He's well known in the internet marketing space and included a membership to this community in the Only72 package. So let's see what's good, what's bad, and what is ugly.
Breakthrough Blogging Review
The Breakthrough Blogging site is divided up into a few different sections. There is a forum, a Library with video and audio content, and you can also send questions via Ask Pat.
Breakthrough Blogging Library
The Library is essentially a section with videos of Pat Flynn talking about different topics related to blogging and running a website on WordPress. What I like about the setup is that the are videos, downloadable MP3 files, and PDF transcripts. If you'd rather listen to the audio instead of watching a video or read the transcript it's nice that is provided. Not ever tutorial has a PDF though.
You might remember one of my complaints about the Podcast Answer Man course was that it was only a video course. A bit odd since Cliff Ravenscraft calls himself the “Podcast Answer Man.” I like how Breakthrough Blogging makes the content available in different ways since some people prefer reading vs listening or vice versa. If you want to download the audio files and put them on an MP3 player, you can do that.
With each tutorial you can click and leave a comment if you want. Some people seem to be quite active commentators in this section. Most of the topics are questions or issues that were submitted by readers of the Breakthrough Blogging community.
Pat Flynn offers some solid advice in his Library but some of the advice in my opinion feels a bit surface level. What do I mean by that? Well it's not bad advice but it isn't anything which I feel like is really killer. Hope that makes sense.
Breakthrough Blogging Forum
Whoever the developer was for the Breakthrough Blogging forum (and website) kudos to them. The forum is one of the cleanest phpBB forums I have ever seen. He must have had to do a fair amount of work to get it to look that nice and to integrate with WordPress.
I also respected he elected to use forum software instead of BuddyPress and bbPress. Even though both of those are built by Automattic, the company behind WordPress, if there is even a moderate amount of forum users posting in bbPress it will crash. (The typically response you get from a WordPress developer is, “Hire a PHP developer to fix it.”)
Honestly the biggest reason you would revisit Breakthrough Blogging is the forum. It's a nice community of people who want to build full-time online incomes. The Breakthrough Blogging forum has a “Challenges” section where Pat Flynn lays down different challenges for site owners. For instance, in November he wanted people to call a member of their audience to understand more about them. The forum also has a Resources, General Discussion, Introductions, and other sections as well.
To be honest the forum could be more useful, but it is not that active. If you notice in the picture a lot of threads are dormant. I asked a question on there the other day and it didn't get a response. The nice thing about a private forum is that not everyone sees it, but that can be a double-edge sword.
UPDATE 4-1-14: Checked the forum yesterday. Seems to be even more barren and inactive now. Also I don't see Pat Flynn posting at all or the community manager he hired for Breakthrough Blogging there. A public forum that is inactive is sad but a private forum that is not getting updated is even sadder.
Another issue with the forum is that it lacks functionality, like the ability to search threads. For those that like to private message other users there is no way to do that and you can't change or customize your profiles if you want. Your stick with the original settings which is really annoying. I assume this might have to do with the way the developer integrated WordPress with phpBB.
It seemed like the idea behind Breakthrough Blogging was to mainly to build out this forum. If that was the case it would have been a better idea to go with MyBB, which I prefer, but I guess you can't have everything.
Still the forum aspect of the site was good idea, it's just not that active. Remember despite what social media “gurus” might tell you about forums they are still quite useful in many circumstances. When I asked whether forums were better than social media, it was rhetorical question.
The “Ask Pat” section is pretty simple. You can submit a question that you want Pat Flynn to talk about or answer. The community will vote up a question if they think it is relevant and something they are curios to hear about too. If you click the “See Questions We've Answered” you will see questions that were answered by Pat Flynn and his team.
There is also a news section with updates regarding the Breakthrough Blogging community. Again pretty basic and not much to say other than check it if you want to see what is going on in the community.
Breakthrough Blogging Pros
Breakthrough Blogging is a nice private community of people who all have a goal to build a successful website or several online businesses. Some of the resources you might find helpful depending on where you are in your internet career.
One thing I like about Breakthrough Blogging is that there is no recurring cost to be part of the community. With most private forums and membership communities there is usually a monthly or yearly fee to stay a member. You only pay once, $200, for the Only72 set of courses and it seems you are a member for life. Unless I am missing something, which I don't believe I am.
A nice giveaway Pat Flynn provides when are part of Breakthrough Blogging is his book “Let Go” in a downloadable PDF. I haven't had a chance to read it though so I couldn't really say whether this is a positive add-on.
Breakthrough Blogging Cons
Like I said above it would be nice if the forum was more active as there would be a reason to revisit the site. Currently there really is no reason for me log onto Breakthrough Blogging. It does not seem like Pat Flynn and the people behind it care that much about keeping the forum threads current.
Kind of ironic since it is his community and he wrote a whole blog post about getting a forum started and keeping people active on the Smart Passive Income blog. I can you from personal experience from running my own forum that I try to not let any post or thread go unanswered for more than 24 hours, 48 hours maximum. I want people to feel like their questions or thoughts are being heard even if it is only by 1 person. If let things a thread site dormant it is unlikely that person will come back again to post.
Probably what they should do is pay moderators and people that are really knowledgeable to post in the forum. This suggestion might make some people cringe but it is not a uncommon way to get a forum started. Besides Pat Flynn is already paying someone to handle the community anyway and he makes plenty of money via affiliate marketing.
Some of the advice is a bit iffy in my opinion in the forum. I'm impressed by the work some of the people do with certain niche topics in blogging. but the reality is that not every topic is going to be profitable or provide full-time income no matter what you do. Nobody wants to say this to someone publicly though.
Also I don't know who started this myth of “passive income” but it honestly does not exist. Sure, the internet is great for earning income a lot faster than you could otherwise and you can make money while you sleep, but don't be fooled. Most people that make a full-time living online actually work long hours but they like what they do.
I guess you won't agree with all the advice given anywhere, but this will be true of any other online community you join.
Breakthrough Blogging Review Conclusion
I guess the real question in this Breakthrough Blogging review comes down this, Would I pay to be part of the community separately from the Only72 pacakge? Mmm… No, probably not.
If you love Pat Flynn and and shit bricks anytime he puts up a new post or podcast on his Smart Passive Income blog then probably no matter what I say about Breakthrough Blogging you will want to join anyway.
Most internet marketers would probably sell an organ to have as many raving fans as this guy. He makes roughly $40,000+ a month with his affiliate links, so I seriously doubt he cares what my Breakthrough Blogging review says.
Still, I hope this Breakthrough Blogging review has helped people out there that were considering joining the community. If you are part of the community please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts about it. If you have any additional questions about feel free to contact me privately via email as well.