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5 Ways to Get the Opinion of Others and Add Dimensions to Your Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 28th of March 2008 Featured Posts, Writing Content 0 Comments

One way to add depth to the posts that you write on your blog is to include the opinions of others on the topics that you’re exploring. The way that I see it is that when I write a post with just my own thoughts in it it can end up being a little one dimensional – but when I draw upon the experience of others also posts have the potential to become 2… or even 3 dimensional.

How do I do it?

Here are five ways that I’ve used lately to include the opinion of others in my posts:

1. Twitter – one of the things that I love about Twitter is that it has the ability to create instant conversations around virtually any topic. Next time you’re writing a post ask a question or two of your ‘followers’ on Twitter. Ask them for examples, get their opinion or survey them on their behavior on the topic you’re exploring.

Example: in my post with 9 benefits of Twitter I showed an example of this when I was writing a post about RSS and asked my ‘followers’ how many feeds they read each day. Within minutes I had over 30 answers.



2. LinkedIn Q&A – yesterday I decided to test the Questions and Answer feature on LinkedIn for the first time. I asked 200 of my connections about what social media services they use. 24 hours later 70 of those that I asked have given their opinion. What surprised me the most was the depth that some of the answers had in them with people really putting some effort into their responses.

Picture 4-6

3. Ask Your Readers – the last method is perhaps the most obvious, ask your blog readers for their opinions. Posts that are simply questions are great ways of getting comments on your blog but their real potential is to learn what your readers think. For example in the last week I asked readers about how they’d promote a new blog – I had just under 40 responses so far, some of which I featured in a followup post.

4. Google Your Topic – I’m surprised that I don’t see this done more but perhaps one of the most obvious ways to get a quote for a post you’re writing is to Google the topic and see what others have written on it previously. Rarely a topic goes by that some blogger hasn’t already covered in some way so it’d make sense to research it. Perhaps it’s our obsession with ‘fresh content’ that makes a little snobby towards what others have written previously – but I think it’s something well worth doing.

5. Target Specific Bloggers/Readers – the last method is where you ask a question of specific people. I’ve noticed more and more bloggers doing this lately – they write a post and then send an email out to 4-5 other bloggers in their niche to ask them for a quote or to do a ‘one question interview’. They then include these short quotes in their post – giving it more depth and also can add some expertise to your post (if you choose the right people to feature).

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Engagement is so important in attracting and keeping readers. I think twitter is best because It’s like an instant discussion forum amongst your readers, and it’s to the point as well. Obviously asking your readers is a great and humble way to engage your readers. I really like the interview style that Daniel Scocco did in interviewing advertising gurus in his blog at http://www.dailyblogtips.com.

    When http://www.fortunecookienotes.com has a larger readership, I’m definitely going to utilize these techniques to add dimension to my blog and increase the value for the reader.

  2. Agree taht twitter can be a great resource for adding a different perspective to a post – not only by getting answers from questions that you ask, but also by checking out the questions that other people ask.

    There are plenty of people posting questions on twitter, that can be used as a source of inspiration for future posts.

    Can’t comment on Linkedin, but seems to work well for you.

    Asking readers is definitely a great way to add a different perspective to a post and not only that, it allows the reader to become engaged with your site, which should aide in them staying around (hopefully for a long time)

    Google is alos good for finding out what others have posted reagrding a topic – a quick a easy way to get quotes for a post

    Nice tips Darren

  3. Good advice. I’m constantly amazed at who reads my blog. It is not the type of blog that you learn anything from. It is entertainment more than anything else. But it seems that people read it and leave me really good suggestions. So I do think asking for your readers point of view is a good idea.

    The Masked Millionarie

  4. I’ve found twitter to be a bit confusing so far but plan to give it some more time to try and figure out. I definitely see a lot more bloggers talking about it.

  5. I think you hit the nail on the head. By bringing in other context to the mix to support your current opinion it creates a higher likelihood of a person having a strong reaction to at least one.

    It’s not so much suggestions but more just the simple thank yous that really tell me where I’m dong good in and where not so much is really going on.

  6. Solid advice. Anything that stimulates reader participation in your blog is a good thing. An effective blog becomes more like a community discussion rather than one guy standing on a soapbox.

    And listening to your reader’s feedback and suggestions is a great way to come up with ideas for new posts, as your blog promotion post can attest to.

  7. Justin says: 03/28/2008 at 2:10 am

    Does anyone else find it mind boggling how many feeds those participants are tracking? How in the world do they have time to keep up with hundreds of feeds? I’m subscribed to 6 feeds, one of them is my own blog, and I barely have time to read them all.

  8. I’ve certainly been noticing the way you are using your Twitter audience in creative ways to enhance your blog recently – something I am also going to try.

    One thing that strikes me about most of these methods though is that they do require a certain amount of following. You need Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, lots of active readers and so on. Not everybody has that…

  9. @Justin, the key is to filter the informations you need form the feeds
    I have around 300 feeds in Google Reader, but I know when they are posting, and who of thme are interesting.

  10. I followed around 1000 using Thunderbird.
    Pc crashed, lost em all.

  11. Hey Darren,

    It’s funny that you mention this topic, as I used it last night to ask the question of my followers “What time of day do you read blogs / get the most hits”, in effort to see when’s the best time of day to post. I got 25 responses and found out some interesting information regarding the habits of a small demographic on twitter.

    You can read about it here: http://www.theresabloginmysoup.com/the-results-of-my-twitter-poll-on-best-time-to-blog-26-replies/

  12. Funny how things go around… I had tried doing the answer questions on linkedin a few weeks ago and got a pretty good response.

    The twitter thing is a little new to me but I like the integration you can get with it, great post. Scott

  13. I have looked at Twitter a bit, but have not really used it to gain an advantage for my web site.

    Am currently looking at making some friends in the blogging world who I can build a relationship with, in order to grow my blog.

    Then will move onto Twitter.

  14. Darren, that’s really excellent about Twitter. You’re proving the power of something many consider useless. I, for one, have taken your advice, and can’t get off the Twitter machine! =)

  15. I do agree with the commentor above. Also, it’s so surprising to see how many blogs people follow.. I thought I was the only one with so many! *=)

  16. Engagement works on so many levels. One, it adds to your content because no one person can know ‘everything’. Two, everyone wants to be an expert – so once you’ve used their ideas (with credit) they love you and your blog (project) even more and they become cheerleaders/evangelists for your project. Three, who doesn’t love social media?

  17. I signed up to twitter awhile ago and it’s only since subscribing to your blog that I have found it again, I find it quite useful for questions and little snippets and just general updates, in the two days that I have used it, I have 35 followers and most of them are affiliate marketing orientated, so that’s a plus!

    There are some great ways to be creative with this simple and easy to use networking site at Twitter and soon I shall be a Twitter Pro ( not a prostitute – a professional!!)

    Now back to reading the 9 benefits of Twitter….

  18. Great post, thanks. Another way to get a quote would be through groups on Facebook. Some groups are quite specialized and folks running them are authorities. You could post on the wall and see what people say.

  19. I’m using Twitter as a mini-blog for my webcomic. Thanks for the other great ideas.

  20. I used #5 a while back for a post about increasing blogging productivity. I only asked a few bloggers, but still got two responses from Daniel (daily blog tips) and seth godin. Worked pretty well – it got passed around a bit on social media sites.

  21. It can be daunting, for sure, but engagement is definitely key to a successful blog. I always always always answer my emails and comments (unless they’re obvious spam), and am just now becoming more active on Twitter.

    Great advice on how to optimize your time on twitter.

    Love Tabitha’s comment about making your readers “evangelists” for your blog. always loved Guy Kawasaki’s use of that term to refer to your best, most cheerleading customers. I’m relatively new and have just a handful of readers compared to Darren’s, but I have managed to develop a fairly loyal core.

  22. hi,
    I think Yahoo! Answers also provides a good way of getting opinions out of users. It is more of less like LinkedIn answers but a more open environment i feel.

  23. I’ve been a real doubter of twitter…but this post has me very curious about getting involved. Thanks for the tip.

  24. Very nice. I’ll try Twiter soon. And one question: How much traffic I will or I can get ? Thanks.


  25. very good tips Darren. personally ive never had much look with Twitter. As my blog is all about political and cultural critique and analysis I find that including authorative comment, ether from more established blogs or other mainstream news sources works the best. This also has the added advantage of generating trackbacks to more established blogs, and so can increase your exposure to more established bloggers in your niche.

  26. I haven’t tried Twitter and I got an invite to join LinkedIn. I’ll have to give them a try. Yet, I find it can be mezmerizing keeping up with all the social network possibilities.

  27. How come I keep resisting joining Twitter?

    For a couple reasons:

    1. I’m not sure I want people to know what the heck I’m doing all the time. Not because I’m doing bad things, but because I want to have a life beyond staring at gadgets all day long. I do that enough. I like looking at trees and oceans and sunsets and stuff.

    2. Isn’t a little isolated, solitary time better for the soul? Why must we constantly stay connected? Remember the good old days when we used drive with two hands on the wheel?

    Can you imagine Thoreau in his cabin at Walden, tweeting people every five freakin’ minutes?

    Can’t join yet!

  28. I always believe getting others opinion is a must to keep updated with different ideas and tactics. I sometimes amazed the kind of ideas readers are having. Its a matter a getting those ideas and keep learning from them. I always believe that social media have a huge role to play for our internet ventures. I am successfully utilizing these tools for my new blog.

    Once again a great post and many thanks for posting .


  29. Great post!

    I have never considered using Twitter to get ideas and content. I am going to have to try that.

    Asking for people a question on your blog is a great way to get opinions provided that blog gets sufficient traffic.

  30. In addition to point 4: Using Google Blogsearch is another great way to find peoples opinions on certain topics.

  31. Thanks for the great tips. I recently started a new blog geared towards the newbie internet marketer so I’m always looking for great tips to generate traffic. So far you haven’t let me down.

  32. Hi Darren – What a brilliant idea. Your way is far faster than emailing everyone you want to ask.

    I must get round to actually using Twitter. I guess I’ll never be described as an early adopter of social media.

  33. @Protycon – RE: Am currently looking at making some friends in the blogging world who I can build a relationship with, in order to grow my blog.

    There is nothing that I know of – Absolutely nothing that can build your network and relationship in the blogging world, as much as Twitter has built mine.

    If you have some ideas, though let me know. I recently took a post that would normally have 2-5 diggs, sent it to my twitter network, and now it has 40+ – Check the Digg Badge:


    I also did a poll to see who in my networks thinks it is ok to send diggs via twitter, and who doesn’t – so far I have about 40 who are ok with it and 1 who isn’t.

  34. Great advice – I just did #5 about two weeks ago. I got awesome responses from 11 bloggers in my niche.

  35. I just started using Twitter myself. It’s pretty cool. The only problem I find so far is that I can never remember to go and post about what I’m doing as often as I’d like. It’s a very cool concept though.

    I just discovered Sphinn to, always to much to do..

  36. excellent! these things definitely look like they are worth trying!

  37. Nice point.

    Maintaining interaction with the people who are coming to visit our site in all possible ways gives a feeling of respect for the beings.

  38. Good tips, Darren. I’ll apply it soon to make my blog better than now. Thanks…

  39. I haven’t tried out LinkedIn Q&A. I mostly just ask people on twitter, but sometimes I use the other ways you suggested. I’ll have to use the other ones more (especially LinkedIn Q&A).

    Thanks for the tips, Darren.

  40. it’s always a good idea to get people’s opinion on what they want to see on your website.

  41. Excellent tips. Adding others thoughts can definitely bring out another dimension to your posts, and I’m confident the readers will be pleased to read about various sides. Going to have to try this more often.

  42. 1. Twitter: I have been using Twitter more to talk to authors. Last month we did a twitter book tour for a novelist and she received traffic to her website doing that.

    2. Linked In: Haven’t thought about using Q & A for that. Definitely want to try that one. However, I do use Linked In to get news from publicists and magazine editors.

    3. Asked Readers: I have a Weekend Chatterbox feature that feeds from user comments. I got that idea from you, Daren. I get a nice number of hits from that.

    4. Google: I use google, bloglines, technorati, topix, and google blog search to locate who’s talking about my subject. I find new bloggers that way and introduce myself to them.

    5.I use #5 for my 1Question Author Series. My readers love it, because it’s short and I ask questions that newbie writers want to know from published authors and only publish the ones that have weight.

  43. Including other folk’s opinions is a great way to increase web traffic and create a buzz.

  44. When the topic is unusual like in my blog writing about esteem in our society then it’s even more interesting to hear what readers think about it.

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