Scary, isn’t it?
You get traffic to your blog and then …
… your visitors start asking you questions.
And because you have a servant’s heart, you want to answer every question.
And not just well. You want your blog to have …
The Best Answers In The World
But then the inevitable happens.
Doubt creeps in!
After all …
You don’t want to make a mistake.
You don’t want to misguide one of your readers.
You don’t want to do anything that would reflect poorly on you or your blog’s brand.
That’s when you freeze up.
And the pile of unanswered comments and email correspondence grows.
The Ultimate Problem You Don’t Know You Have
Or maybe you’re not there yet.
Maybe you haven’t even started your blog.
Maybe because you have the subconscious fear that once you get started, you’ll have to take charge. And you know that when readers start vying for your attention and expertise … you really do need to step up.
After all, the old comic book quote we all know verbatim is 100% true:
With Great Blogging Power Comes Great Blogging Responsibility
Whether you’re already receiving questions from your readers or feel held back with your blog because you’re secretly afraid of success, today’s post is going to solve everything for you. Here are the exact mindsets and strategies you need for answering the pressing questions your blog receives.
For your convenience, I’ve divided them into two categories:
#1 The Q&A Rules For What You Must Always Avoid On Your Blog
#2 The Rules Of Answering Questions You Must Always Uphold
Ready to get started?
Awesome! Give it this post a thorough read. And please don’t hesitate to add your questions in the comment section. That way we can put these principles into practice together.
The Q&A Rules For What You Must Always Avoid On Your Blog
Let’s get the Darkside out of the way first.
The number one rule you must always avoid is:
Don’t Answer The Questions You Wish You’d Been Asked
A lot of people make this mistake.
Instead of listening deeply to the question they’ve received or reading between the lines to the real pain points for their readers …
… they see the question as an opportunity to stress one of their views or pet ideas.
There are times when this is appropriate, such as in what Jon Morrow’s community calls a “bonding post.” Usually, a bonding post contains a lesson linked to a personal story, with a huge emphasis on story.
But every time you skip over the question and play to the tune of your own agenda, you’re missing a tremendous opportunity to serve.
Not only to serve but to do a bit of digging.
Get Your Blogging Fingers Dirty
Provide some research. Go beyond the norm with your response.
Of course, you might be thinking …
If I answer just one hyper-focused question, don’t I risk alienating the rest of my audience?
It’s unlikely. In fact, the more specifically you treat just one person, the more something magical happens.
It's true: The more you focus on just one reader at a time, you make more people curious. They want to know what’s going on that could be so precious in your niche.
But when you give the answer to questions you wish your audience members were asking too often instead of what they want…
You risk looking preachy.
(I know because until I learned to think inside the box once in a while, I made this mistake many times!
Avoid Nailing Down Definitive Answers
There’s a lot of “talk” out there about being an “authority.”
I’m not so sure.
We’re living in the 21st century, after all.
We have links like never before.
We can do online research like never before.
We can connect people to ideas in the world like never before.
So why not put authority aside and answer questions as the connector of authorities? Show people that they have options and that you know some of the best. Be vulnerable to the expertise of others and point people in their direction.
Of course, there’s a potential problem when you provide a list of the other experts. You risk overwhelming your audience with too many options. So unless you’re doing a lightning-speed list post, 2-3 alternatives that dig into the expertise on offer will serve best.
In fact, a great strategy is to do expert profiles of people in your niche. It’s amazing how many people ask my opinion about memory expert Harry Lorayne, for example. I’m always delighted that I can tell people more about my competitors. Doing so establishes me as both a team player in my niche and an authority on the other stars in my universe.
Avoid Biting The Hand That Feeds You
This is the toughest of all the “Avoid” rules. That’s why I saved it for last.
Because the reality is this:
At a certain point, the temptation to criticize those who send you questions will arise.
It’s easy to understand why it happens too.
While you’re busy answering questions and putting out amazing authority content, many people won’t read everything you've written. In some cases, people won’t even know your material exists.
That, or they just won’t be able to penetrate something you’ve written. This gap could be due to a difference in communication or learning styles.
And when you start encountering these people by the dozens leading up to the thousands, you’re only human if you get frustrated from time to time.
But here’s the thing:
Most people who spend their time reaching you with their questions will be coming from a sensitive place.
They crave results they feel only you can give.
And we all know one essential truth: At some level, the answer you give will involve them doing some work.
After all, you’re there to teach people to fish, not fish for them.
But even though you can’t build the boat or get out into the water for the people in your audience, you can always be supportive. And that means you must include as much encouraging language as possible.
And that’s also why each “Always” rule of answering the questions your audience sends is going to be so helpful for you.
The Rules Of Answering Questions You Must Always Uphold
Before diving in, a warning:
Each of the following “Always” rules has been meticulously designed to cut all the issues we just talked about in the avoidance section. But that doesn’t make knowing what you need to avoid any less significant. Without awareness, we are in greater danger of making mistakes than necessary.
And of course, my avoidance list might be incomplete. I’d love to hear of any more things to avoid I may have missed down in the comments below.
Always Understand The Value Of The Questions You Receive
You want to know the true meaning of “gold”?Gold is the questions people ask on your blog, your social media and send directly to your inbox.Click To Tweet
Now, I realize that having a virtual assistant is all the rage these days. And it truly is an important part of an online business somewhere down the line.
That said, Dan Kennedy points out in 7-Figure Academy that really successful people keep their finger on the pulse of their audience at least once a quarter.
He even paints the unlikely, but I believe, a true portrait of old Uncle Dan seated at his desk reading through hundreds of letters and emails.
If there’s one person who understands the pain points of his audience, it’s definitely Dan Kennedy, and it shows in every element of his marketing and success.
How To Build A Business Just By Answering Questions
In many ways, a blog is just that: A compendium of answers to questions.
And once you realize that simple fact, you also realize:
1) Everything you need to know about your niche can be found in the questions asked by your audience.
2) You can create strong bonds with your audience by answering one person at a time in a way that also explains your solutions to thousands upon thousands of prospective followers.
3) You can monetize the Q&A work you do while building your online presence, expertise and entrepreneurialism.
There truly is gold to be squeezed from the questions you receive, so please develop your radar for them. That will help you serve people better and make you stand out far more than your competition.
Always Credit The Person Asking The Question
Did you know that the majority of classroom students with a question never raise their hand? It’s an unfortunate phenomenon discussed at length in the book, You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney.
When people find they can reach out to teachers with a simple email, however, a lot of opportunity for learning opens up.
But never assume that the same people who struggle to ask in a traditional educational setting don’t also struggle to send an email. Therefore, you should credit taking action when answering your questions.
And make it clear exactly what taking action means. It means they've thought about a problem, clarified it by putting it into words and send it your way. For many people, it’s not necessarily as easy as it sounds!
And let's face it: They easily could have sent it to someone else. But they chose you.
Always Know Your Stuff
I know, I know. I just recommended being a team player and deferring to other authorities.
But that’s no reason to be anything but the leading expert in your niche. In fact, the more you know about your competitors, the more wisely you can make your recommendations.
By knowing your stuff, you could also find yourself in the position of doing a JV with a competitor. They may even notice your expertise and come to you. That’s why it pays to be seen as a team player.
Hang A Mirror On Your About Page
Your About Page probably gets more traffic than you think.
And this is where a lot of bloggers trip up. They make their About Page about them when it should really be about your reader.
Take Sue’s About Page, for example. It wastes no time in making her ideal reader see exactly why SuccessfulBlogging.com is about them.
Because they can see themselves in the mirror she's placed there for them.
Further down the page, Sue shares a little about herself, but in a relatable way, one that makes sense for her audience.
And it does something even more ingenious: Sue's About Page answers questions, but also raises questions.
I think the core question it raises, even if readers experience it only at the subconscious level is:
How can I make blogging as fun and profitable for me as it is for Sue?
And since Sue’s entire blog is a tireless set of answers to that question, it’s no mystery why she’s made Successful Blogging such a success.
So let me ask you:
Are You Ready For The Flood Of Questions That Come With Blogging Success?
My hope is that this post will prepare you for some of the biggest situations that come with being a blogger.
Because the reality is this:
When you put yourself out there, people will ask you questions.
That’s not only a great thing.
It is the thing.
Questions are pure gold, free R&D and the bricks for laying the long road to success beneath your feet as you blog along.
You just need the discipline and the insight needed to answer the questions well. Now that you’ve got a the core ins-and-outs of answering the most pressing questions your blog receives, you can rest assured that your responses will be brimming with confidence.
Even better, every question you answer will increase the value of your blog. Your answers can be a value multiplier beyond measure if you put a bit of thought into using questions and answers strategically.
Above all, never forget the power of that personal touch. It really is the ultimate opportunity to create the change you want to see in the world through your blog.
Anthony Metivier is the blogger and voice behind the Magnetic Memory Method blog and podcast. His most recent venture will teach you how to build Mental Toughness and Daily Discipline with this free guide on his new Self-Improvement Supercharger blog. Download his Mental Toughness and Daily Discipline Guide Now.