Today’s task in the Rediscover Your Blogging Groove project is to ask your readers a question.
The ‘question post’ idea comes directly from one of my own weekend strategies for posting . I like question posts for a number of reasons:
- It gives readers a sense of Community and Participation
- It increases Blog Stickiness
- These posts don’t take a whole lot of effort to write (although can take some moderation)
- They are great for helping you to gauge where your readers are at on certain topics and can even give you ideas for future posts.
- They open up opportunities for followup posts as you summarize the answers, pick up conversations and even answer the question yourself etc.
- They can be great for generating incoming links to your blog as other bloggers pick up the conversation on their own blogs.
Of course some readers resist these types of posts because they are scared that nobody will answer the question. This can be a little disheartening – but if you construct the post well and include your own answer to the question then at least there is something there of value even if the conversation doesn’t emerge.
Remember that only around 1% of blog readers tend to leave comments – so if you don’t get a lot of responses it doesn’t mean that no one is reading – keep trying.
What question should you ask?
Really anything goes – however a few ideas come to mind to help you formulate effective questions:
- Keep the question relevant to Your Blog’s Topic
- You might like to try asking a question that builds on a previous post
- Ask questions that are answerable (and not ones that are to hard answer)
- Ask questions that readers will want to know the answer to
- Suggest to your readers some possible answers
- Sometimes either/or questions (where there are only two answers to choose from) can be great for generating a debate – they are easy to answer and a great way to help train your readers to comment
- You may like to try using a Poll tool to give your readers a way to vote on a number of options
- Controversial questions can be a great way to get a conversation going – but be aware readers could get fired up.
- Be willing to share your own answer – but if you’re confident you’ll get people responding you might want to consider holding off on your own answer and do it in a follow up post (this means 2 posts instead of 1 but also means you won’t skew your reader’s answers)
- Do you have a frequently asked question that you don’t know how to answer? Ask your readers for their opinion – you might learn something.
- Sometimes more personal (yet on topic) questions can be worth asking. Ask your readers how they do something or what tools they use. For example a while back I asked readers to tell me what their favorite lens was at DPS and followed it up with a summary of popular DSLR lenses. The response from these two posts was fantastic as many readers not only had a say on a topic but enjoyed reading what others were doing.
Having all that in mind – your homework for today is to go back to your blog/s and ask a question. Once you’ve done that, come back to this post and share the link with us so we can check it out and see how you’ve approached it.
note: while your previous question posts might be interesting – I’d prefer it if you only posted links to new posts below – after all, this series is about helping you to improve your blog NOW rather than looking back – thanks.
Read the rest of the Rediscover Your Blogging Groove project.
PS: Thanks to Mark for the inspiration on a new logo for this series.