Will Bloom: You know about icebergs, dad?
Senior Ed Bloom: Do I? I saw an iceberg once. They were hauling it down to Texas for drinking water. They didn’t count on there being an elephant frozen inside. The wooly kind. A mammoth.
Will Bloom: Dad!
Senior Ed Bloom: What?
Will Bloom: I’m trying to make a metaphor here.
Senior Ed Bloom: Well you shouldn’t have started with a question, because most people want to answer questions. You should’ve started with “the thing about icebergs is.”
The Author Daniel Wallace and screenplay writer John August did a beautiful job addressing the problem of starting a blog post with a question. Most blog posts by technical bloggers, those offering tips and techniques in their specialty, start with a question.
When a blogger starts with a question, the reader expect to answer the question. They assume they are being asked. If you answer the question, you’ve left no room for them to provide their own answers. They probably have a few.
In the blog exercise, “I Don’t Have Any Comments,” I explained that the desire for dialog needs to be met with dialog. If you ask a question, expect your readers to answer. Deliver on the commitment you made to them at the beginning of the post. If you do, they will answer. Answer it for them, they’ll keep quiet because you’ve left them nothing to say.
Today’s blog exercise encourages you to go back through your past posts and reframe your opening questions.
If you regularly start a blog post with a question, read through the post. Did you answer the question? Did you invite the reader to respond? Did you leave part of the answer for them to offer to you and the other readers?
Many professional bloggers template their blog posts to start with a metaphor without a question, a story to introduce the subject, then end the post with a question, instructing the reader to now have their say by responding with their answers, their solutions to the issue.
This method works, but only if the question is not “What do you think?” That is one of the sure-fire ways to end a conversation.
Edit the posts to ensure there is room for the reader. When you make room for them to sit at your table and join in the discussion, the odds are you will increase the interactivity on your site.