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Group Writing Project: Write a ‘Discussion’ Post

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:

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:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

5. Prizes

  • 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.
About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Drewry says:

    That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I used dictation to write all of my content uniquely from scratch. It motivates me to write more lengthy content pages and possibly start an online discussion about what I’ve written and published. One thing that I learned about writing content and starting group discussions online is that content brings people together. It does way more good didn’t help increase online advertising revenue. It’s actually helping me to better understand people’s behavior through writing discussion forum threads and getting people’s reactions. Another thing I like doing after I write and post my discussion threads is write a teaser headline on Facebook before sharing the link. People will feel him more personal with them when I do that. Thank you for this thought-provoking post, Darren! :-)

  2. Funny you mention this as I tried to tie a small discussion into my iPhone Friday post on my site – What Do You Think of iPhoneography – Some of the discussion points I tried to bring up was whether or not the abundance of iPhone photographs and apps like instagram has reduced cheapened the art of photography or if we’re actually seeing the emergence of a new craft all together. Would love some comments other there.

  3. jon says:

    great blog post. I’m in on the Post a ‘Discussion’ challenge, Will get the brain working on it and post a link asap. great stuff.

  4. Sharon says:

    I have readers, but they’re mostly lurkers and I’ve not been able to build a community, so thank you for this project. Here is my post below:

    Name: Sharon D. Fiberesima
    Post Title: Writers Block? You’re Just Being Lazy [DISCUSS]
    URL: http://www.fictionblueprints.com/writers-block-youre-just-being-lazy-discuss/

  5. I have a blog, a new blog, a small blog, a two post blog. Hardly a blog at all .. yet. I like this idea, gives people like me an opportunity to get started without feeling like the casually dressed party crasher at a black tie affair.

  6. marty says:

    So excited I am going write something now

  7. Anshu says:

    Hmm…interesting exercise. I always feel nervous about this kind because user interaction has been pretty low on my blog, but I just gave it a shot here:
    http://bloomsnbugs.blogspot.com/2013/03/sewing-with-patterns-yaay-or-nay.html

  8. Guess I’m first up then :) Clear throat, adopt AA voice:

    Hi, my name is William Cowie and I blog about everybody’s need to invest at Bite the Bullet Investing.

    Blog post title: Someone just gave you $15,000. What now?

    And you can find it here:
    http://bitethebulletinvesting.com/Blog/what-now/

    Go ahead — I really want to know what you’ll do! (Darren of course doesn’t need to, because he gets that every day… he can just rattle his jewelry like John Lennon said at the Royal Albert Hall. :)

  9. Love this idea Darren, I will get cracking right now.

    Ryan

  10. Hi Darren,

    Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful idea. Here is my post:

    http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog/what-online-money-making-tips-can-you-share/

    I am asking my readers to share their online money making tips with our community.

    Thanks again, looking forward to making good friends in the comments section here.

    Ryan

  11. marty says:

    On my blog every month I like to pose a question to the crowd its a good way to get the conversation flowing here is mine

    What is the American Dream Anyway ? [Come Join the Disscusion] http://www.thoughtsonlifeandmoney.com/2013/03/what-is-american-dream.html

  12. Arbaz Khan says:

    Wow that’s a great exercise!!!
    It will surely help me to come up with some thing new and interesting :)

  13. Prasanta says:

    Hi Darren,

    Very good idea. Thanks for allowing me to participate in your blog writing competition. Please find my entry.

    Post Title: Frequently Asked Questions in Industrial Engineering Job Interviews [Discussion Post].

    Post URL: http://www.onlineclothingstudy.com/2013/03/frequently-asked-questions-in.html

  14. Lisa-Marie says:

    I have more reader comments on Facebook, I don’t get many comments on my blog.

    Here is my post:

    Name: Lisa-Marie Pierre
    Post Title: Would you be upset if your fiancé purchased your engagement ring from Costco?
    URL: http://www.lisainks.com/2013/03/30/would-you-be-upset-if-your-fiance-purchased-your-engagement-ring-from-costco/

  15. Thanks for another great group writing project. My post is titled “What Inspires You?”
    You can view it here: http://lachmancollection.blogspot.com/2013/03/what-inspires-you.html

    • Christelle says:

      Hi Jennifer, I left a comment on your blog but didn’t find your commenting system very easy to use. I wasn’t able to enter my website, email or gravatar.
      Anyway nice question, I hope you get a few comments.

    • Tammy Eakes says:

      Hi Jennifer. I tried to leave this comment: “What inspires me depends on what I am doing at the moment. If I am getting ready to workout then great music inspires me. If I am tackling an organizing project then picturing how the room will be so much more useful when I am finished inspires me. So on.
      I found you on Problogger Discussion Post contest. I am participating too.” I’m not sure if the reply actually posted. My post is “Do Fitness & Weight Loss Gimmicks Make You Want to Shoot Someone?” http://noskinnies.com/blog/2013/4/6/what-do-you-want-to-see-or-not-see-in-a-fitness-inspiration-blog

  16. Meg says:

    Perfect timing on this exercise – I’m about to embark on a new path and would really appreciate any advice or words of wisdom:

    Going Part-time: What Now?
    http://www.2coffeecups.blogspot.com/

    • Christelle says:

      I put my 2 cents on your comments, not an easy choice but a great one if you can make it work! Check out my blog, I’d be interested by your feedback.

  17. Danny says:

    It sounds like a great concept that will increase the overall interaction of a site….

    As you mentioned in this post, it’s a good idea to ask a few questions to readers, and that in it self can help to encourage readers to get involved….

  18. Frugal Guru says:

    If you have a blog that has anything yo do with money, life strategies, personal living, or finance, I’d love to trade links.

    http://frugalguruguide.com/how-do-you-stretch-your-grocery-dollar/

  19. I’ve just writing a discussion post about Learning. Moving to a more self sufficient lifestyle has been a huge learning curve with lots of questions.

    http://thelifeofclare.com.au/learning/

  20. Icess says:

    Great idea! Here’s mine!

    Self-publish or traditional publishing? [DISCUSS]

    http://www.writingtoinsanity.com/2013/03/self-publish-or-traditional-publishing.html

  21. Zweischneid says:

    Love the new (old?) direction of Problogger.net

    Here is my contribution inspired by this exercise, titled: Discuss: I Pledge Money on Kickstarter Because…

    http://pinsofwar.com/kickstarter-discussion/

    Looking forward to see how this goes (and feedback on the post).

  22. Ross says:

    Hey again Darren – awesome again, I’m loving getting involved and using this to keep the momentum going on my content!

    Here’s my discussion post: Discuss: What’s the HARDEST Part of Getting Started on the Alkaline Diet?

    http://www.energiseforlife.com/wordpress/2013/03/31/the-hardest-part-of-getting-alkaline/

    Can’t wait to read everyone’s posts!
    Ross

  23. Tam says:

    Loved this prompt. The best bit? Not having to come up with a whole heap of ideas – just chuck it to the crowd and let them come up with the goods! Perfect!

    http://www.somewherearoundhere.com.au/2013/03/do-you-gotta-have-faith/

    Found some great blogs from this last week and looking forward to seeing what I find this week.

  24. This is a great idea, Darren. Thanks for encouraging discussion & blogger interaction.

    So my discussion question is, “What are you doing to make the world a better place?”

    Instead of sitting back and waiting for others to make positive change, please share what you are doing to bring about positive change in your life, your community, your country and/or the world. Please leave your comments/solutions at http://www.ptvshow.com/2013/03/31/what-are-you-doing-to-help-the-environment/

  25. Jaimie says:

    Since online discussion is different from in person, you want to put down what you’re saying clearly and concisely. Leave as little room for misinterpretation possible.

  26. J.D. Meier says:

    Great way to start a spark.

    > 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
    Relevancy is queen, and there is something to be said for building relevant links in a purpose driven way.

    I liked the days when links lived on in pages, more than just shared by social media.

    BTW — You always do a great job of prompting through choice questions, and thought-provoking pros.

  27. Jennifer says:

    I need plenty of help getting a community going on my blog, so this is a great series. Thanks for that. Here’s my discussion post:
    Are you a better hiker than my dad and me? The Grand Canyon Experience
    http://updownstrangecharm.com/blog/are-you-a-better-hiker-than-my-dad-and-me-the-grand-canyon-experience/

    Thanks! -Jennifer

  28. Rhonda says:

    Hi Darren, this is the first time I’ve commented on your blog but like most Australian bloggers I know of you. I came here in response to one of my commenters who is taking part in your discussion group.

    I have a large blog and forum attached with about 12,000 members, although we’re moving to a larger server at the moment, so it’s closed. Commenting on other blogs is how I started building my community. It’s a great strategy because it does bring people to you and it opens your eyes to so many other ways of blogging. Blogs need readers to develop their true potential but it’s a two way street because as each blog community develops, it changes the blog. The trick is to manage those changes without changing the part of it that each reader seeks.

  29. I am happy to participate with my brand new blog (4 days old).

    Title: How Will You Make a Difference? [Discuss]
    URL: http://workfromyourhome101.com/how-will-you-make-a-difference/

  30. Great idea, Darren! I hope this post provides a robust discussion on scam ads: fame or infamy, boon or bane…?

    Here then is the link:

    http://sixinchesdeepblogger.blogspot.in/2013/03/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none.html

  31. Ferb says:

    In a discussion post, it’s really important to have equally against and for. This type of post can really increase the interaction of readers.

  32. Looking forward to this one as I find it very hard to write like this. Can’t wait to see your list of the best posts for some inspiration.

  33. This was a great idea for me as I’ve been looking to gain more of a community feel at my blog. Thanks for the inspiration! Here’s my post:

    Title: Let’s Gripe, Let’s Share, Join an Online Therapy Session
    http://angstanxietypanic.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/lets-gripe-lets-share-join-an-online-therapy-session/

  34. Jon Rhodes says:

    I run a blog that helps affiliate marketers, but it has a strong focus on helping bloggers. So I have asked experienced bloggers to share one piece of advice that they would give someone just starting out. The advice can be from a wide source of angles, such as hosting, choosing the niche, work ethic, writing skill etc.

    The post can be found at http://www.affiliatehelp.info/2013/04/01/what-one-piece-of-advice-would-you-give-to-a-new-blogger/#comment-2996

    The best 5 contributions will get added to the blog post with a link back to their site. : )
    I will also check out the site of everyone who comments on my post and I will join their discussion if I can. Lets do this!

  35. My discussion question is “What do you think the financial impact of healthcare reform will be on your personal budget and how are you preparing?”

    http://thriftgenuity.com/2013/04/01/healthcare-ref…-you-preparing/

    I am being cautiously optimistic, but still looking for ways that I can cut my budget or make some extra cash if need be.

    Thanks.

  36. Thank you for this opportunity. Like some who have said before, I do not have engagement on my blog. People will email me and let me know that they enjoy the post, or some will call me, and others will let me know when they bump into me. But seldom do they actually comment on the blog. For instance, among other things, I write book reviews on The Invisible Mentor blog and people will let me know that they bought the books and read them, but I didn’t know that until I talked to them. I invite comments, but that doesn’t help. Hopefully this Group Writing Project will help http://theinvisiblementor.com/2013/04/01/first-virtual-literary-world-tour-what-am-i-missing/.

    Avil Beckford

  37. Obinna says:

    Building a community is quite hard especially for startup bloggers like me. But i do try my best, the highest number of comments I have ever gotten on a post is 9.

    Thanks Darren Rowse for the opportunity to network and build a community with other bloggers. My post on this topic is: You are here: What is Your Preferred Alternative to the Dying Google Reader?
    http://www.onwaweb.com/2013/04/preferred-google-reader-alternatives.html

  38. Here is mine. It is titled My Blog Reimagined. I don’t generally do discussion posts so I am really worried that no one will respond & I will have no discussion :)

    http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/2013/04/my-blog-reimagined.html

  39. I like the idea of asking a friend to comment, to get that discussion going. What a great way to spend time with friends, creating a discussion, bonding, and blogging!

  40. What a great idea for community building. I think I should be doing some writing right now.

  41. daniel says:

    Wow! I really like the Ideas i this post; I’m going to bookmark and will check back later

  42. shamsudeen says:

    I will be reading through the list when they are out, though will try and put something together. But honestly, i will have to do some extras on this type of post. Is a big challenge.

  43. shamsudeen says:

    Okay Darren, I have to come back and leave a comment here after visiting your DPS the first time and read through the links you gave here, you started those post with a real life event that took place and at the end ask readers to decide on it.

    Did I got it right?

  44. Sharon says:

    I just want to say that if you use blogger, please enable the Name/Url feature in your comments…that might be why not many people are leaving comments. Make it as easy as possible for people to leave their comments.

  45. Lisa M. says:

    I love this group writing project. I have been blogging for about a month, and I am learning a lot from these Problogger challenges. I wrote about whether or not to follow your passion or get a job where you can earn a decent living, even if you don’t love the job. Do you work for passion or for a paycheck? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

    http://savvycareer.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/do-you-work-for-passion-or-a-paycheck/

  46. Christelle says:

    I love this series on creating a community, it’s definitely a challenge for me, but one that I’m happy to work on. Thanks for this group project, it’s fun and a good kick where needed.

    My post is: “Discussion: how would you celebrate your business 10th anniversary?”

    And it can be found here: “http://www.handymarketer.com/celebrate-your-business-anniversary/”

    I’m actually really interested to get some answers, so feel free to comment!

  47. Iain says:

    I thought this was a pretty sweet idea, so I made a short post with my discussion question.

    It is something that has been bothering me for a while, so I felt it deserved a question. I am so happy that this was the arena where I could ask it.

    Are YouTube comments worth it?

    http://www.marketingyourfarm.com/marketing-your-farm/are-youtube-comments-worth-it-discussion/

    I’m very interested to hear what you all have to say.

  48. Amanda says:

    I haven’t read through the comments yet, but wanted to leave one before I forgot to participate in this challenge. I hope you’ll all join in the discussion.

    Name: Amanda
    Title: Could You See Cloud-based Computing Replacing Your Traditional Desktop Experience?
    URL: http://customerservant.com/2013/04/02/could-you-see-cloud-based-computing-replacing-your-traditional-desktop-experience/

    Back to reading the comments and clicking.

  49. Dhruv says:

    Yeah, Group Writing projects works good these days.. Also, you can get familiar with people which is a good sign in blogging..

    You can also discuss things in many of the Question-Answer forums…

    Great post indeed :)

  50. Musa says:

    Hello,

    I’ve tried my first discussion post thanks to you and I hope it will work a bit :)
    My blog is in French but you’re more than welcome to participate in English (nowadays, with Google Translate, we can do miracles ;) )
    Thank so much in advance to all of you and thank you Darren for this nice advice! :)
    Have a nice day (or night in this side of the world?)