This guest post is by Sanjeev Mohindra of Makewebworld.
What is asking? It is a simple act of putting together a query in order to obtain the answer. Whether you get an answer or not depends on how a question has been framed and asked.Asking has an awesome power, yet it is one of the most unused methods of advancement.
When you enter the blogging world, there are lots of things which you might want to know. You can get them by just asking. Still, most people avoid doing that: they try to get all the answers by themselves.
Asking in practice
When I started my new blog, I started to look for guest post opportunities and my first guest post What you can take from your Blog’s Worst Day got published on ProBlogger.
I created a draft and send it for consideration. I waited for the next 15 days to get a response to my email, but one came.
I could have assumed this was a rejection but rather than leaving it, I decided to ask about it. I sent a note to ask if the post was still under consideration … and I was amazed to see the response.
“So sorry for my late reply, and thanks very much for following up with me, because I thought I’d responded to your email already! I enjoyed this piece and will be happy to include it on the site.”
Now I want you to take a moment and think: what you would have done in this situation? If you’d have asked in the same manner as I did, you know the power of asking.
If you think logically, you’ll know that posts can be overlooked at ProBlogger, where they might be receiving hundreds of emails daily. It might not be the same on a fledgling blog where there are hardly any emails.
The power of asking
Asking is a sign of courage and a sign that you are ready to learn. Every question demands a response, so it generates active communication.
All you have to do is ask. And ask is what people in best-practices cultures do—all the time.—Winning – The Answers, by Jack and Suzy Welch
Winning – The Answers, is really a great book. It focuses on global business practices, but who doesn’t consider blogging as a business? Jack and Suzy Welch have mentioned one more important point in the book: if you are asking your direct competitors, you are most probably not going to get the answer.
This is true in blogging world, too. If you are looking for the best practices, look at the blogs other than those in your niche, check what is working for them and ask if it can work for your blog.
If you think that it can work for your blog, then go ahead and ask how they are using the technique. Arund 99% time you will get an answer—they will be happy to show you how they have created their blogs.
You can do the same within your niche, but be prepared for lower response rates. Still, you will find some nice people who are ready to welcome a new blogger into the niche.
Ask for topics
What do your readers want? It’s always a mystery! What could be a better way than asking them directly?
Bloggers do run many polls on our blogs as a means to engage the readers. How about running a poll for your next topic? Ask what they want to read. You may end up writing on each topic mentioned in the poll, but a poll can help you give priority to certain topics.
It also does one more thing: it engages your readers for the future posts so they will be tempted to come back and check what you wrote about the topic they suggested.
Ask for friends
Darren mentioned in 31DBBB that you need to find a blogging buddy, but what if you don’t have anybody close to you who can be your buddy?
Asking can help you find a friend or buddy. You can try asking some bloggers in your niche if they want to connect with you: just ask them. You might be surprised to see the responses. No, you might not get many responses, but you do not need many buddies.
You need to make sure that your question is clear enough to convey the message properly. Below are a few things to keep in mind when you ask for a blog buddy:
- Use open-ended questions to encourage conversations.
- It should not be about me—it should be about them and what they will get.
- Try to avoid trivial questions.
- Try to avoid Yes/No type question, as they don’t generate an opportunity for conversation.
- Give the person enough time to get an answer.
Asking is really easy and handy tool. The only thing to remember is that you need to ask with the intent of learning and improvement, not just for sake of it. People can feel your intent in your questions. So keep asking, and keep learning.
What was the last thing you asked for to help develop your blog? What happened when you asked? Share your experiences in the comments.