Rob Hof over at Business Week has stumbled upon one of the secrets of growing interactivity on a blog – it’s about not knowing all the answers. He notices that the posts with most comments on his blog are where he asks for help.
‘The tough thing for journalists, I think, is that we’re supposed to provide answers, not just pose questions. So what makes a really good story–insight into an issue or person or company, wrapped up in a tidy, complete package–is precisely what doesn’t work on a blog. People are more interested in responding to questions. Provide just answers, and, well, there’s nothing more to say….’
This is so true yet I’d not write off posts that provide answers altogether.
What I’ve discovered over the last couple of years is that people want a mixture of expertise but also room to speak from their own experience. I’ve tried in the past few months to create this type of space in the way I blog here at Problogger – blending posts that are are quite ‘How To’ in nature (with lots of tips and answers) with plenty of opportunities for readers to share their own expertise.
In a sense this was my motivation behind the 31 Day Project and my invitation for readers to submit their blog tip posts. The result is quite spectacular with around 160 reader submissions already in addition to my own 45 or so ‘expert’ pieces.