As an expert in your field, you have answers for your blog readers. Lots of them.

But do know the right questions?

Business bloggers often get too close to their expertise and passion—eventually losing touch with what readers really want to know.

Many of us find ourselves going off on blogging tangents and traveling down roads relevant to our peers, but not necessarily to our subscribers and customers. Those tangents are okay (even essential), so long as they’re also mixed with content that counts towards meeting our readers’ needs.

So how do you uncover the questions that matter most?

Find Questions Close to Home

  1. Ask – Yes, this seems obvious. Identify people who reflect your ideal subscriber or reader. Ask them, outright, what they’d like to hear more about. Email them, IM them. Hit `em up on Facebook or Twitter. Keep it casual. Chances are they’ll be flattered you asked!
  2. Meet – Social networking has opened up relationships that still amaze me. However, sometimes nothing beats face-to-face networking—whether it be trade shows, local associations or professional groups.  Assuming you’re rubbing elbows with your ideal subscribers or customers, pay close attention to those in-person discussions. I continuously find that the information I feel is most basic or trivial is of major interest at networking events. Go figure!
  3. Remember – Your email is a treasure trove of information. Take a look at the past week. Did you help contacts or clients with an issue? Did you answer a question or send them a list of online resources? Chances are others have the same question.

Seek Questions Far and Wide

Ready to get in touch with questions outside your immediate inner circle? Start practicing the golden rule of social networking—listen! Go seek out conversations that you didn’t initiate and see what potential readers are asking about. First, make a list of keyword phrases related to your area of expertise or related to a topic you have in mind. Then, start searching, seeking and taking notes! If you’re a seasoned networker, you’ll be tempted to answer the questions right on the spot. Instead, make a note of where you got the idea and return after you can share a link to your awesome new content!

  1. Google Blog Search – Comments left on others’ blogs are a terrific source of discussions and inquiries. Check out Google Blog Search, enter your keywords and see what’s buzzing!
  2. LinkedIn Answers – For professional service providers, specialists, consultants and speakers—LinkedIn is superb for marketing your blog. But, the network is also a goldmine for finding questions and discussions related to your industry. Used to be that joining group discussions was the only way to find questions. Today, the LinkedIn Answers area provides a sea of questions just waiting for your seasoned answers! Jot down the questions that require expanded answers and get blogging!
  3. Twitter – Twitter can be like drinking from a firehose but, if your audience is there, listen up! Search sites like CrowdEye, OneRiot and Twitter Search are great places to see what’s buzzing in your field. For more ideas, check out Josh Peters’ 50 Ways to Search Twitter.
  4. Facebook – You may have a Fan Page, but are you participating on others? Go find pages similar to yours or, better yet, some that complement yours. You may find some questions that spark an idea.
  5. Q&A Sites – Broad as they are, Yedda and Yahoo Answers are great sources for finding questions from anyone and everyone on the web.
  6. Cross Network Search Engines – One way to test out whether a topic you have in mind is in demand is to search blogs, microblogs and Q&A sites simultaneously. Sites like WhosTalkin and Social Mention help streamline searches. Remember, these services don’t cover Facebook and Linkedin too well, so don’t be tempted to eliminate the other “listening” methods above.

You have the answers. Now go find the questions!

So, naturally at the end of this post…

What are some burning questions about blogging, content and social media that you’d love for someone (okay…me) to answer?


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Deana Goldasich

Deana Goldasich, CEO and founder of Well Planned Web, plans and implements Content Marketing to help clients nurture leads, market their expertise and create an impactful presence online.

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18 Comments

  1. robynscheller on May 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you for the info. Great for getting ideas on what to write as well as resources to research topics that will help answer questions traget audience may be asking.



  2. Deana Goldasich on May 4, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Robyn! I'm so glad the list will help with getting the ideas flowing! Thanks for your comment and happy blogging!



  3. Deana Goldasich on May 4, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Robyn! I'm so glad the list will help with getting the ideas flowing! Thanks for your comment and happy blogging!



  4. robynscheller on May 4, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Thank you for the info. Great for getting ideas on what to write as well as resources to research topics that will help answer questions traget audience may be asking.



  5. Deana Goldasich on May 4, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Hi Robyn! I'm so glad the list will help with getting the ideas flowing! Thanks for your comment and happy blogging!



  6. salamicat on July 2, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    RT @goldasich: Does Your Blog Answer the Right Questions? — Well Planned Web http://www.wellplannedweb.com/2010/05/fi



  7. dnewman on July 3, 2010 at 12:18 am

    RT @goldasich: Does Your Blog Answer the Right Questions? — Well Planned Web http://www.wellplannedweb.com/2010/05/fi



  8. goldasich on July 2, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Does Your Blog Answer the Right Questions? — Well Planned Web http://www.wellplannedweb.com/2010/05/fi



  9. goldasich on July 10, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    @heidithorne: Thanks for the RT Heidi! – Does Your #Blog Answer the Right Questions? | Well Planned Web http://www.wellplannedweb.com/2010/05/fi



  10. heidithorne on July 10, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    @goldasich Really liked your idea of scanning through emails for #blog ideas. Doing that always brings up something for me. Happy Weekend!



  11. goldasich on July 12, 2010 at 3:20 am

    @heidithorne Yes, email is one of those often forgotten sorces of inspiration!



  12. Brett Widmann on October 26, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Great article. It’s full of usefull information! Thanks.



  13. LisaNewkirk on November 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    RT @goldasich: Learn to Listen. Then, answer the RIGHT questions… http://www.wellplannedweb.com/2010/05/fi



  14. psiddiqshow on November 2, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    @goldasich. Great advice!



  15. goldasich on November 2, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Learn to Listen. Then, answer the RIGHT questions… http://www.wellplannedweb.com/2010/05/fi



  16. goldasich on November 2, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    @psiddiqshow thanks Phillip!



  17. Deana Goldasich on November 3, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Thanks Brett! So glad you found the info helpful!



  18. wonderboy on November 24, 2014 at 3:58 am

    sbobet Do You Mind If I Quote A Few
    Of Your Articles
    As Long As I Provide Credit And Sources Back To Your Blog?
    My Blog
    Is In The Exact
    Same
    Area
    Of Interest
    As Yours And My Users
    Would Really
    Benefit From A
    Lot Of The
    Information You Present
    Here. Please Let Me Know If This Ok
    With You. Thanks!



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