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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. I’m a late arrival to the blogging party and am finding it an ever steepening learning curve. Much thanks to Darren and others like him for the clear and free advice. I’ve wasted the last week drudging through the quagmire that is SEO and would really like to hear your thoughts on my post at

    http://www.simmeringnicely.com/seo-snake-oil-and-the-post-penguin-apocalypse/

  2. Darcy says:

    I’m asking for thoughts on… Does Social Media Make You Second Guess Your Parenting?

    http://www.darcyandbrian.com/2013/04/03/does-social-media-you-second-guess-your-parenting/

  3. Steph says:

    Hey Everyone!
    I joined in on the fun and wrote a blog post called: 4 Reasons Why Twitter Doesn’t Suck.
    Found here: http://atmr.ch/2sF9
    Would love your comments on what your favourite social network(s) are.

  4. Mary Corbet says:

    Ok, here’s my “discussion” post: To Pin or Not To Pin: Why I Use Pinterest & Love It!

    http://www.needlenthread.com/2013/04/needlenthread-on-pinterest.html

    In my niche, there tends to be controversy over the use of Pinterest, because of misconceptions on the terms of use and Pinterest’s alleged “rights” over images posted on Pinterest, copyright violation, and so forth. But I love Pinterest, and it has served my blog well, especially when it comes to driving traffic.

    What has surprised me so far about the comments on the article is that they are, for the most part, very positive. The only negative aspect of Pinterest mentioned is that it tends to suck time. When Pinterest first emerged, though, there was quite a bit of heated discussion and adamant anti-Pinterest opinion expressed in my niche, so I was expecting to see more of that coming out in the comments. So far, though, nothing along those lines. We shall see…

    ~MC

  5. I’m a little late to the party but I wanted to link up my attempt at a discussion. I tried to add a survey to the end of another really long post that I knew would get lots of traffic but I didn’t get very good engagement. So here is my second attempt at a survey: http://wp.me/p38Tfs-aZ

    I don’t have a huge following and my comments sections often sounds like crickets so this is the perfect challenge for me. I’m starting small with the survey since I figured it was easier and safer than a full comment discussion (for the readers I mean).

  6. Euforilla says:

    I wrote “10 valuable life and survival lessons from TV shows” and I’d really like to know about yours too!!!

    Now I’m going to read your posts!
    Thanx again Darren for this opportunity :)

    Here’s the link, in english of course, but ehy, if you want I’ve got it also in italian :D Bilingual blogger here!

    http://www.euforilla.com/?p=3173&lang=en

  7. Steph says:

    Thought I’d join in on the fun too!
    Here’s my discussion post!

    Author: Steph
    Title: 4 Reasons Why Twitter Doesn’t Suck
    (Looking for feedback on your fav. social networks, and why they’re your favourite)
    URL: http://blog.atomicreach.com/4-reasons-why-twitter-doesnt-suck/

    • Jon Rhodes says:

      Comment made Steph! I tried to add you as a connection on LinkedIn using the icon at the top right of your page but it said your page couldn’t be found?

  8. Tisha says:

    I missed the How-To writing challenge but I’m going to jump in on the Discussion challenge, and any future ones that come up

    http://cajuntisha.tumblr.com/post/47117693660/im-sick

    • Tammy Eakes says:

      Hi Tisha. I could not figure out how to leave a comment on your blog. I’d probably love your blog though – I love to cook cajun food (or try to anyhow! LOL).

  9. Nicole says:

    Thanks, Darren! This was a great challenge. My blog is barely a month old so I don’t have a big following yet, but I’m hoping this post will help generate some discussion.

    Here’s mine:

    Discuss: Is Technology Changing How We Learn?
    http://inkwellscholars.org/discuss-is-technology-changing-how-we-learn/

  10. Rohit Sharma says:

    I have initiated the discussion thread pertaining to my niche – What is your revolution?

    and here is the link http://rhour.com/what-is-your-revolution/

  11. shamsudeen says:

    I wrote this post based on a true life argument between members in one of the online community of bloggers on Facebook.

    Here is the url to the post

    http://cybernaira.com/2013/targetting-global-audience-does-domain-name-matter/

  12. Corinne says:

    Here’s mine. Let me know what you think!
    What Kind of Traveler are You? http://www.rovingvails.com/blog/2013/04/04/who-are-you-as-a-world-traveler/

  13. A parenting discussion – Picky Eating; Should You Give In To Your Child? http://www.therealsupermumblog.com/2013/04/picky-eating/

  14. Hi, a bit late, but I have finally completed this project. My blog provides eco tips for busy mums, so my discussion post is “What freaks you out the most?” I’m hoping to find out what motivates my readers to live cleaner and greener.

    http://downtoearthmother.com/2013/04/08/what-freaks-you-out-the-most-discussion/

  15. Hi, guys! My name is Vincent and I run Self Stairway.

    I started a discussion called “Who Do You Want to Be in 2030?”. In it, I include my own goals for self-improvement and open the question up to my readers.

    http://www.selfstairway.com/who-do-you-want-to-be-in-2030

  16. Thank you for this opportunity. I was wondering what to write for my next blog post and this one just hit the spot.

    Here is my entry.

    http://networkmarketingdigital.com/social-media-stop/

  17. Hi all,

    Thanks Darren, great post.
    My discussion post is on Blogging Frame of Mind and is here:
    http://dexterousdiva.co.uk/2013/04/08/the-blogging-frame-of-mind/

    I would love for anyone to take a look and join in the debate ;)
    Jo

  18. Okay, I know I’m late, but here’s my discussion post:

    http://www.slwrites.com/how-do-you-define-courage/

    I’m asking readers and all interested parties, How do you define courage?

    I’ll be chiming in on as many other discussions as I can.

  19. Tammy Eakes says:

    Great idea to post discussion blog. Excited to participate in this. Can’t wait to read the other posts. I own a fitness and nutrition blog that I don’t want to come off as the same old boring weight loss gimmicky type blog. My post asks “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

  20. Ethan Pepper says:

    Hi, everybody this is such a great idea to connect bloggers from around the web. Just finished my post on my website at http://www.videogameselling.com/2013/04/your-favorite-and-least-favorite-ebay-tools.html hope somebody finds it interesting enough to leave a comment or two on. Thanks.

    • Hi ethan pepper,
      a good discussion, and a good idea too because I had to go through the other two articles related to your question, do go through my post too…

    • Tammy Eakes says:

      Hi Ethan, I read your post. I wish I could add value but the truth is I don’t like Ebay and don’t use it. If I need something my husband handles it for me. I was planning to leave a comment on your blog itself but it said that I would be posting via Facebook and I wasn’t sure I really wanted to do that???? Sorry, I’m not always hip to the newest ways to do things on the internet. LOL. Anyhow, 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

  21. My discussion post today is: “Where’s the Best Place in the World to Live?

    Can’t wait to see where in the world other peeps live (or would like to live) and why they are great.

    http://zigazag.com/best-place-in-the-world-to-live/

    Love these group exercises, Darren. Thank you. They are such a great way to get us thinking out of the box when deciding how to present posts so that our blog content is fresh and interesting.

  22. dawn says:

    My post is geared toward people who have adopted a pet. The question is “Have you ever renamed your pet?”

    http://www.nepapets.com/have-you-ever-renamed-your-pet

  23. DonaB says:

    I wanted to open a discussion on the idea of how we edit our lives on Facebook or Instagram, which was prompted by an article I read last week and my different take on the topic. My post is Zen of Instagram: http://www.nurturedmama.net/zen-of-instagram/

  24. Hi, I am a beginner and have entered into this group writing project for the first time, hope fellow bloggers would accept me and guide me too.
    I have always been confused as to which would be the best for a woman – a successful career or a happy family. one can always take a middle path, but still I feel when you take a middle path you always lose somethings, lets discuss
    http://simpleindianmom.in/career-or-family-what-should-a-woman-choose-discuss/

  25. Jon Rhodes says:

    Hi Dona, your link doesn’t seem to be working!

  26. These all look fascinating, I love a good discussion! Here is my post about pet peeves, let me know what your pet peeve is! (It’s endlessly fascinating to me to find out what annoys people.)

    http://kathleencaron.com/what-is-your-pet-peeve-and-why-are-you-petting-it-anyway/

    I look forward to reading all the posts and joining the discussions.

  27. Cathy says:

    I’ve been writing a lot on Spring Cleaning on my blog. I wrote a discussion post asking for the best and easiest cleaning tips you have. I have a lot of people comment to me IRL about my blog but none of them will leave comments on the actual blog. I’d love it if you stopped by and checked it out.

    http://tnstayinthecarmom.blogspot.com/2013/04/discussion-your-best-and-easiest.html

  28. My discussion post is How Do You Stay Positive? My blog is a personal development blog with a positive psychology theme. I’m after some tips on what people do to keep themselves positive.

    Keep these projects going Darren. I think they are really useful.

  29. I think my post may have slipped through the cracks, but I wanted to start a discussion about pet peeves, because I find it endlessly amusing and interesting what annoys people, I hope you will all join the discussion! I have read most of your posts and found them fascinating and thought provoking.

    Here’s the post “What is your pet peeve (and why are you petting it anyway?)” http://kathleencaron.com/what-is-your-pet-peeve-and-why-are-you-petting-it-anyway/

  30. As parents we get a “do-over” when our kids reach middle school. All of a sudden we have the opportunity to give to our kids what we think that we should have had–at least this is the case for me! It is our duty as adults to help our children be the best version of themselves–even on the hard days–when we aren’t even the best versions of ourselves!

    This is a post that I wrote from my son’s question: “Mom, what should I be when I grow up?”

    http://wp.me/p30aWS-KD or http://reneebaude.com/2013/04/11/mom-what-shoul…when-i-grow-up/

    Be Blessed.

  31. Barbara says:

    Thank you, Darren, for this great challenge.

    Here is my post. Discuss: What meal have you adapted for food allergies?

    http://www.glutenfreehomestead.com/2013/04/discuss-is-there-a-special-meal-that-you-have-adapted-for-food-allergies-in-your-family/

  32. I have never really done a discussion type of post on my blog, but earlier this week I did a post of just that nature, as I could not believe a plan our government has to reduce the waitlist for people waiting for kidney or liver doners. Would love to know your thoughts. xx

    http://www.wonderfullywomen.com/would-you-sell-your-kidney-for-3600/

  33. Cheri says:

    I was pointed toward this post from a participant in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and I’m so glad she led the way; this is a fun project!

    My discussion is pretty straight forward– I always like to know what places people really want to visit, so my post for today is Open Mic Night– Travel Bucket List.

    http://cherisidlechatter.blogspot.com/2013/04/open-mic-nighttravel-bucket-list.html

    Thanks!

  34. seth says:

    Name: Seth
    Post title: Are you blogging too long without breaks?
    url: http://sethwork.wordpress.com

    Hi everyone, please find my discussion post here – http://sethwork.wordpress.com. As you will see, it’s a site that not much work has been put into. I literally started making it yesterday. Hopefully you will read it and comment.

    Feel free to tell me what to change about my website. I know I’ll need to change almost everything about the website because it’s still in default setting theme – and I will.

    You don’t have to if u prefer to just read my post and comment. I would be more than grateful already.

    You will find this duplicate message in my post: I won’t be online in the next 24 hours. So if you left a comment, I can only reply after that. I’ll also return comments on your blog for the Problogger discussion competition made at my blog within the next week before 19 April 2013.

    If you can’t click on the link, let me know and I’ll fix it when I get back

  35. ToscaSac says:

    Gotta love it when a post you were meaning to write and finally scheduled to post before a challenge or idea comes up fits right in with what is going on. hahahahha

    http://toscasac.blogspot.com/2013/04/monkier-me.html

  36. Sounds like a great idea. Makes me think of all the different things relevant to our blog that could be discussed. Seems like the best responses we get are to recipes so I suppose a food discussion?

  37. I love this idea, and posted on my blog.

    Simple title…

    Margaret Thatcher – Discuss!
    http://thegreatgordino.com/margaret-thatcher-discuss/

  38. Carrie says:

    What a great idea! I had a post lined up and just added a question to it – such a simple thing to do! Thanks for all the great ideas you share!
    http://whittskitsfabricscrafts.blogspot.com/2013/04/find-it-free-on-friday-stop-by-for-tea.html

    Carrie

    • Isobel says:

      I enjoyed your post Teressa – made me realize I have a better support system now in my new country than I ever had at “home” :)

  39. Lacy says:

    I think I’ve always been afraid to do a post like this because of the crickets I imagined that would follow! But I’m part of a blog challenge and part of this list, so I hope to get at least a COUPLE of responses!

    Do you think buying organic food is worth the cost? Why or why not?

    http://laughinglemonpie.com/is-buying-organic-worth-the-cost-discuss/

  40. Sonia Rao says:

    Spring’s here and it’s time to celebrate. How do you plan to celebrate this brand new Spring in your life, fellow bloggers?

    I think I missed a previous challenge, but glad I could be a part of this one Thank you, Darren.

    Looking forward to meeting and interacting with so many new blogger friends.

    :)

  41. What makes a blog awesome? What is it that makes a good impression on you? That makes you read, click around, and read some more?

    Share with me at http://blogformatting.com/blog-awesome/

    Cannot wait to hear from you!

  42. Buddy Hodges says:

    Thanks Darren! This will be interesting, to say the least. This is my first “Discussion Post”:

    Discuss: How is the Social Media Tsunami Affecting Relationships?

    http://relatingonline.com/archives/1089

    Cheers! Buddy Hodges

  43. Kat says:

    If you could make one change, what would it be? Discuss!

    This is a great challenge! Look forward to hearing from many of you and getting involved in your conversations too!

    http://www.millerandmillerconsulting.co.uk/1/post/2013/04/if-you-could-make-one-change-what-would-it-be.html or http://millerandmillerconsulting.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/if-you-could-change-one-thing-what-would-it-be/ #blogboost #ultimateblogchallenge

  44. Thanks so much for this idea! I am completely new to blogging and have so much to learn. My post inspired by this one is Spring Cleaning Checklist for True Happiness. (I guess I have a lot to learn about creating titles too!) Anyway, thanks again!

  45. Isobel says:

    Wow, I think I just got in under the wire! My post is about starting your day:

    Do You Have a Morning Ritual? Powerful Ways to Start Your Day
    http://becomeyourvision.com/do-you-have-a-morning-ritual-powerful-ways-to-start-your-day/

    and I’m about to go and check out as many of the others posts in this thread as I can get to. Would love some comments about your morning routines or lack of :)

  46. Patrick says:

    Awesome group discussion, glad to participate!

    http://www.betterlivedlife.com/2013/04/13/change-time/

  47. Amy Blevins says:

    Nothing like a last minute entry! My post is Discuss: What is your favorite meal and why?

    http://www.bowofbronze.com/amysblog/2013/04/discuss-what-is-your-favorite-meal-and-why/

    Amy Blevins

  48. What Spring Home Improvement Projects are on your List this Year?

    http://allutahhomerepair.com/108/what-is-your-spring-home-improvement-project/