A blog should be a conversation.
I’m not talking about comments, necessarily. Yes, comments are awesome (who doesn’t love getting comments on her blog?!?), and they’re a big part of building a culture around your business and blog, but comments aren’t the only way to have a conversation with your blog audience.
We have to engage our audiences outside the comments section, too.
Jon Morrow tells a powerful story about asking a simple question — What do you most want to know about blogging? — and getting more than 270 responses. Yowza! Think about how that might work for your audience, and how many blog ideas you could get out of those answers.
And then think about how your audience would feel when you not only took the time to ask their opinion on something, but also then took the time to answer their question in a blog post. Pretty amazing, right?
Where to ask so that you get an answer.
That’s all well and good, but most of us would fall out of our chairs if we got 200+ comments on anything we wrote, amirite? (To be fair, I believe Mr. Morrow wrote that post as a guest post on Copyblogger, which has a ginormous audience.)
What if it seems like no one ever comments on your blog? Where should you ask these powerful questions so that they actually get answered?
- Start with your blog. Go ahead and ask the question. If it’s a powerful, provocative enough question, you might be surprised at the response.
- Ask on Facebook. Questions are actually a great way to boost engagement on Facebook. Be sure it’s pretty easy to answer, though. Ask questions that either a) require a simple answer, or b) elicit a really heartfelt response, so that people can’t wait to tell you their story.
- Ask on Twitter. Can your question be answered in 140 characters? Why not give it a try!
- Ask in your mailing list subscription confirmation email. Questions like one of the ones below are great to spice up that generic, “Thank you! You are now subscribed to our list!” email that your newsletter program sends out. The people who are signing up for your newsletter are the ones who desperately want what you’ve got to give.
- Ask on a sales call. These questions are a great way to get a prospect talking on a sales call so that you can listen and determine whether or not you can help them.
3 powerful questions:
Ready to add three of the most powerful questions I’ve ever asked to your repertoire? Here we go:
- What are you struggling with the most right now? This is an amazing conversation starter. It’s great for almost any occasion when you want to engage with someone in your audience, be they a casual Twitter follower or a hot lead on the phone for a free consultation. Add this to your mailing list confirmation email and watch the content ideas start magically appearing in your inbox. 😉
- Why did you want to spend this time with me? This question works great to get a sales call started as is, but you can also adjust it to whatever medium you’re asking, as in, “Why do you read my blog?” or “Why did you sign up for my mailing list?” Start asking this question, and you may be surprised at the answer.
- Why did you invest with me? Of course, this is a great question to ask in an exit call with a client, or when you’re asking for testimonials, but it can also be very powerful to ask on social media, where people who haven’t yet invested with you can see directly why other people have chosen to.
What to do with the answers.
While it’s great to start asking these questions, don’t just let the answers get lost in your inbox or Twitter feed. Create a way to capture and save the answers — I like a spreadsheet or other digital document — and save those answers for a rainy day. They’re great for when you need inspiration for what to blog about, when you’re trying to figure out what your next product should be, or when you need to use your customer’s actual words when you’re writing a sales page.
Those answers are, in many ways, like money in the bank for your content marketing efforts. Treat them like gold.
Have you had success asking a variation on one of these questions? Do you have a powerful question you always ask your customers or clients? Let us know in the comments below!