‘Ask a Question’, Day 25 #31DBBBDay25 with @problogger

Image purchased from iStockphoto by Digital Fingerprint

10 reasons why asking your readers questions work:

  1. Gives readers a sense of community/participation & a sense of the blog being alive [This is why we have asked #digidisciple(s) to consider blogging less often, but undertaking to comment on other’s blogs]
  2. Increases stickiness as people more likely to return to a blog they’ve contributed to.
  3. Effortless to write, though not necessarily to moderate!
  4. Helps you understand where your readers are at with particular topics.
  5. Answers can fuel future post ideas.
  6. “They open up opportunities for follow-up posts as you summarize the answers, pick up conversations, and even answer the question yourself.”
  7. Well-worded questions that people will ask for in search engines can help pagerank.
  8. As other bloggers pick up the conversation on their own blogs – it provides incoming links.
  9. Allows you to enter into a conversation with people commenting.

10. “Reader answers can sometimes be used as actual posts. I’ve promoted the comments people have made on my blog to actual blog posts, adding a few extra comments of my own and giving credit to the comment leaver, of course.”

It can be worrying putting such questions out in fear that no one responses, but a well constructed post which contains your own answer can still be valuable. Darren continues to reassure that only about 1% of readers tend to comment – so keep trying!

12 tips for asking readers questions on your blog

  1. Be relevant to blog topic.
  2. Ask a question that builds on a previous (popular) post
  3. Ask questions that are answerable
  4. Ask questions people will what to know the answer to
  5. Suggest possible answers which help start a discussion.
  6. Start with an either/or question – e.g. Twitter or Facebook?
  7. Try using a poll with a limited number of options
  8. Ask a controversial question – but be prepared for responses.
  9. If you’re confident people will respond – hold back on your answer and turn it into a separate post.

10. Use a ‘community workshop’ – pose a question and ask readers to contribute advice on the topic – with the comments section becoming a resource. (e.g. How would you photograph a funeral?)

  1. Ask personal questions – what do people do rather than think – e.g. favourite Bible verse. (Gives great insight into readers, and what they might be interested in).

12. Follow up question posts with summaries of answers – demonstrating that you value answers/contributions.

Don’t limit yourself to a blog post: Ask a question on social media (with a hashtag, etc.) allowing immediacy of responses – then seek ways to collate and share those.  [Potentially a blog post – but I often do this with Storify!]

Today’s Notes

What happens if you don’t think you’ll get any comment:

  1. Write your question post. Keep it on-topic and easy to answer. A poll might be a good starting place, as it’s easy for people to complete, and keeps the responses anonymous.
  2. Be the first person to answer your own question. This will start the ball rolling.
  3. 3.    Email a few friends, pull in some favors,
and ask others to help out by answering the question or voting in the poll… .which may then draw out lurking readers who don’t want to be the first to post.

[This is how I started with Big Bible – hence you will see many well-commented early posts .. just not sure how to keep that momentum going…]

Darren mentions how https://www.facebook.com/tommyismyname used the number of readers he had in his Facebook group to run a Facebook course – offering options daily as to what people wanted to see the next day.

Further Reading

About bigbible

The #BigBible Project. Educating in the digital spaces, creating 'bigger Bible conversations' between #digidisciple(s). Look out for #bigread14.