Over the last week here on ProBlogger we’ve been digging deeper into the topic of ‘building community’ on a blog. See the series at:
- 9 Benefits [and 3 Costs] Of Building Community On Your Blog
- The 5 Stages of Building a Culture of Community on a Blog [A Case Study]
- 7 Strategies for Growing Community on Your Blog
- How to Build Community on a Blog: 24 Must Read Articles
Today it’s time for an opportunity for you to do something practical to actually build community on your blog – to create a discussion post as part of this weeks ‘Group Writing Project’.
What is a Group Writing Project?
These projects are quite simple – I name a type of blog post to write and ProBlogger readers all go and write a post on their blogs that fits into that theme and then come back here to let us know about the post.
The aim is to give you the chance to practice writing a different type of blog post but also for readers of ProBlogger to discover one another and to drive some traffic to your blog!
I’ll outline how to participate below.
What is a ‘Discussion Post’
This weeks series of posts has been about building community and deepening reader engagement on blogs. One of the techniques I described was something I do at Digital Photography School where on a semi-regular basis I write a post that is simply a question for readers to discuss.
The post doesn’t teach anything, express any opinion and is usually pretty short – it simply asks a question and allows readers to have their say.
Here are a few examples from dPS:
- If you had to discuss your camera kit…[Discuss]
- Discuss: Learning Photography is Easy. Becoming a Photographer… that’s a Different Story
- Tell us a Story of that missed shot
- Have You Ever Taken a Photography Class or Course? POLL
Feel free to take that approach or to take the challenge in another direction.
For example you might like to
- start a debate
- run a poll
- give readers a chance to write a tip
- take a reader question and post it for the community to answer
Really anything that is primarily aimed at getting readers discussing and commenting upon the post.
What if I don’t Have Any Readers to Discuss
The challenge with writing a ‘discussion post’ is that you may not feel you have enough readers to get discussion.
Please don’t let this stop you – hopefully by participating we’ll be able to send you a little traffic but if you’re lacking readers here’s a couple of tips:
- As a friend to comment – this was something I used to do in my early years. I didn’t do it with every post but certainly when a post was about getting a discussion going I would often email a friend (especially blogging friends) to ask (or beg) for a comment. Of course I’d repay the favour when they asked too.
- Kick off the discussion yourself – in the old days of my first blog I would write a question in the post and be the first commenters to kick things off. Feels a bit odd but it does sometimes work to get the discussion going
Sometimes just finding the first person to leave a comment is all it takes to get a discussion going.
Here’s How To Participate
Here’s how to participate and put yourself in the running for a prize (please note – one entry per person – not per blog and please only submit NEW posts).
1. Post a ‘Discussion’ Post
- Be as creative as you’d like – take it in any direction you want – it can be on any topic (keep it clean and ‘family friendly please), it can be serious, funny – what ever you like
- Give your post a good title. Once all the posts are listed it’ll only be your title that sets it apart from others. It doesn’t have to have the words ‘discuss’ in the title – but if can if you wish.
- Feel free to write your post in your own first language – I’ve previously included a number of non-english posts and am excited by the prospect of making this a multi-lingual project.
- Please consider putting a link back to this post here on ProBlogger on your post so that your readers know you’re participating. You don’t have to do this – but it’d be appreciated to help grow the project.
2. Let us Know about your Post
- Once you’ve posted your ‘Discussion Post’ let us know about it by leaving a comment below. Please make sure you include your name, your post title and the URL to your How to post.
- Comments must be received by midnight on Friday 12th April to be included in the prize draw (it will runs little longer this time as I’ll be travelling).
3. Surf Surf Surf
- This is where the project has potential to get pretty cool. Surf the submissions received in the comments below. Leave comments, make connections with other ProBlogger readers and enjoy reading what others have to say. By surfing each others links you’ll hopefully find some cool new blogs but also make some new connections (which may well lead to people visiting your blog too!
4. Link, Tweet, Share
- There is no formal ‘judging’ of the ‘discussion posts’ received as this is not a competition. Instead – I encourage you to surf through the links left in the comments below and not only comment but share those with your own network that you like the most. Link to them on your blog (you might even like to write a ‘top 5’ post), Tweet out some links to the ones you like or share them on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc. Share a little love and you might find it comes back at you!
- Probably the best part of the last group project was the amount of inter-linking I see happening between participating bloggers as a result of their posts. It’s obvious that people found new blogs through it and that the benefits of participating was way beyond getting a link here on ProBlogger me but flowed on to a lot of new connections and links between other bloggers.
- After 12th April I’ll randomly draw a winner and announce them on the blog. The winner will get a copy of each eBook in the ProBlogger Library of eBooks.