It’s OK to not have all the answers. Let’s face it, everything changes so fast, it’s hard to keep up with absolutely everything. Sometimes though we have burning questions that Google can’t solve. What should we do?
Well, as bloggers, a great thing to do is to ask the question and publish the answers.
If you don’t know the answer, it could well be lots of people want to know too. Plus, if you can’t find the answer in Google then you just might have an idea that will bring you regular search traffic if you implement it right. It’s always a good thing to get your audience thinking and involved. Even if their response is “I don’t know, but good question!”
Sometimes there is no right or wrong answer, but opinions can create valuable discussions which are still attractive content, thought provoking, community building and good for entertainment and engagement. Just look at Liz’ Open Mike discussions.
The question does not always have to be asked on your blog either. It might be that you know a forum or discussion list with topical experts on board, or it might be that you need to cast your net wide and get the biggest possible response by asking in multiple places.
Here are five ways to get answers outside of comments that jump to mind:
- Twitter - For my post about getting the most out of LinkedIn I asked for suggestions on Twitter. Twitter, after my blog, is my go-to place for getting quick answers as I know I will get a response. Of course you need a few followers first!
- LinkedIn – I have only asked one question on LinkedIn and just got the one response, but it was a good one. Others have far more success. LinkedIn is chock full of business people, and is probably more appropriate for those kinds of issues, but also those people have lives outside of business so might be worth a try.
- Yahoo! Answers - Same kind of deal as LinkedIn answers but wider in audience and more general purpose and more consumer oriented.
- A survey/poll – Rather than just ask a question and get responses in comments, surveys and polls can be useful for narrowing the answers for quantitative results as I have done in my blogging survey (still a chance to win a book or blog critique!)
- Email – If you know certain people will have the answers you need then email them. If you make it easy and quick to answer you might be surprised at the responses you get. I did this with my Cluetrain Social Media article and is something Jonathan Fields does routinely to great effect.
Make sure you always credit the people who provide answers. Also try to give people credit even if you disagree with what they say, show all sides.
Got any tips to share? Do you ask questions in your blogging? How? Or do you prefer blogs to be about answers? Please share in the comments …