Creating content for your website or blog is a never-ending challenge. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the use of interviews with other experts in your industry, or even performing Q&A sessions with your audience of readers. This is something BloggingTips.com has been doing for a while now, with their Meet the Bloggers series.
Thanks to the power of WordPress commenting and social media, it wouldn’t be hard to set up something similar for your own brand or blog.
Website content and question-and-answer sessions go together like peanut butter and jelly or salt and pepper. In fact, anyone who has ever attended a presentation or keynote speech would likely be caught off guard by the absence of a designated Q & A session. It seems intuitive: Deliver information then make sure nothing slipped through the cracks and expound on the most noteworthy points.
But not all Q & A lessons and collaborations are created equally. For example, take a look at how many websites will interview just one expert, while others will create expert roundups. It’s much easier to create individual interview posts, but in the long run, you will likely see more benefit and promotion from a roundup with 50+ experts included in one post. When executed well, this time provides audience members to interact with speakers in a meaningful way—clarifying burning questions, circling back to important concepts and making important conceptual connections. But when Q & A session go poorly, they tend to be nothing more than a waste of time for everyone involved.
Facilitating an effective question-and-answer session is a matter of planning, reacting well at the moment and having the right tools to make it all happen. Here are a few guidelines for capping off a presentation with successful audience interaction.
Anticipate Certain Queries
Some questions will inevitably seem to come out of left field. But many submissions will be at least somewhat predictable ahead of time, at least in the subject matter. Thus, it pays to make sure your speakers are prepared to answer these important inquiries without skipping a beat.
As Toastmasters notes, “How you handle questions determines how the audience feels about everything that preceded it. They recognize it for what it is—it’s the prism through which they evaluate your performance, your message, your competence, your credibility, and the success of the entire meeting.”
Fumbling the answer to a key question bodes badly for the session in general, interrupting the flow and challenging the speaker’s authority. Part of pulling off a successful Q & A session is ensuring each speaker knows their subject matter inside and out. Then they can predict what their audience may ask and brush up on the relevant information they need to develop exemplary answers.
Allow for Anonymous Submissions
Allowing anonymous audience submissions encourages people to ask the Q and A questions on their minds. A real-time audience response system, for example, allows people to submit questions—anonymously or with a name attached—using their mobile devices rather than the old-school method of passing around the microphone. This approach has several benefits.
- People can ask their questions without the social pressure of speaking in front of a group.
- Anonymity promotes honesty because participants don’t have to worry about blowback for their candidness.
- Audience members can upvote questions as if to say they “second” them, which allows the most pressing inquiries to rise to the top.
Chances are, if one audience member has a question, someone else does, too. Using anonymity as a vehicle for honesty serves to truly open the discussion. This sense of clarify means everyone can walk away from the session feeling they got the maximum benefit.
Answer the Question at Hand
This tip seems basic. But speakers often inadvertently talk around questions—answering something, but not necessarily the actual query at hand. This tends to leave audience members either confused or dissatisfied. Avoid talking around a question; the audience will quickly see through this tactic. The speaker should also make sure they fully understand the question before launching into an answer. Good listening skills will come in handy here because interpreting the question is just as important as responding. Speakers can always ask for clarification as needed so they can avoid wasting time or going off on a tangent.
With ample preparation and the right tools, you’ll be well on your way to facilitating an effective question-and-answer session for any audience.
4 Ways to Become More Detached from Blogging Outcomes
See that throwback featured image of me in Phuket, Thailand?
I became a globe trotting pro blogger in part through the power of detachment.
Blogging outcomes weigh you down and slow your blogging growth, if you are not careful.
Many bloggers mean well but are so obsessed with every view, Like, comment, share and dollar that they either struggle horribly or hold back stunning blogging success. How could I write over 100 eBooks if I obsessed with sales from my first eBook? How could I write 600 posts on Blogging Tips alone if I obsessed over metrics?
Eye-popping success finds largely detached, generous bloggers.
Follow these tips to become more detached from blogging outcomes.
1: Help More Ask Less
If you want blog comments, comment on other blogs.
Want blog traffic? Promote other bloggers.
Help bloggers to detach from your needs and to see greater success. Ask less and less for shares, comments and views, to detach from outcomes. Success finds generous bloggers.
2: Mention 2-5 Successful Bloggers Via All Posts
I recall focusing heavily on blogging profits early during my career. I linked to an ad or affiliate product once per post and linked to nothing else, obsessing over sales, attaching to outcomes. I gradually promoted other bloggers over years. Now I promote 2 to 5 bloggers virtually every post. I think more of helping them and less of helping me.
3: Manage Your Energy
Attachment is fear. Managing your energy helps you:
- face fear
- feel fear
- release fear
- dissolve attachments
I do 80 minutes of deep yin yoga daily. Plus I jog or walk for 45-60 minutes daily. Meditating helps too.
Managing your energy rocks because so many bloggers cling deeply to fear-attachments, to stats and money and to clients and blogging buddies, and need a daily ritual to unearth and release these attachments. I strongly suggest deep yin yoga because it helps you become comfortable. Big time quality developed by all generous, pretty darn detached, bloggers.
4: BE with Your Fear
I vividly recall sitting and BEING with my fear each time I checked my blogging inbox. I felt a general not enough energy pervade my being. Panic then ran through my body. Anger. Pain. Grief, at time lost. All fears reflected heavy attachments to:
- list subscribers
I totally believed I should have been further along at these points during my blogging career. Turns out, I was at the perfect place and time to feel deep fears, to dissolve attachments and to proceed from a generous, genuine, pretty detached, patient and persistent space.
Fighting fear only makes attachments grow. Not checking email for weeks because you feel terrified to check email makes the fear and attachment grow. But checking email hourly because you feel terrified that you:
- will miss out on clients
- are not making enough money, and need to check and see if you are making any aka enough money, yet
reflects your attachment to you. Ya know; “How am I doing-itis.” Check stats, check email, all the time, because you fear to see how you are doing.
Feel fear behind any strategy driven by fear. Let the fear go. Dissolve the attachment.
I check email here and there, never being attached to it. Email is not the source of my blogging success.
Treat blogging outcomes like mile markers on a highway, when you whiz by at 80 MPH. Note the stat for a few seconds and either move in a different direction or charge forward, based on how you feel about the stat, and what the feeling suggests to you.
Quick Tips to Easily Find People and Other Bloggers Online
Unlike Las Vegas — where ‘what happens there, stays there’ — once something is on the internet, it’s pretty much there forever. This is something bloggers, content creators and businesses know all too well. Whether it’s a WordPress article, social media updates, of photos making their way into the Google index, it’s likely going to be online forever.
It’s not just about posting and uploading content on the internet that you need to worry. It’s also all of the massive and easily accessible information that can be found online as well. With more data leaks taking place than ever before, and pretty much having privacy being a thing in the past, it’s easy to find information on anything and anyone with just a few clicks of a button.
For example, have you ever met someone at a blogging conference or event, but forgot to grab their business card? A lot of times we want to meet such people again but have no clue how to find them or their contact details. Through social media and using online tools like a people search, finding exactly what you need is now easier than ever before. Thankfully, we have this amazing platform called the internet – where we are able to find people around us ourselves.
There are plenty of other ways to find information or direct contacts for people online. In addition to using a People Search, social media is also a great method for finding whatever you are looking for. This is especially true if you can find someone on LinkedIn.
To start off, simply grab a notepad and write down the name of the person you want to search. Once you do that, branch out names of people you think are associated to them or at least the name of the person who introduced them to you if you were meeting them for the first time. Next, try and connect businesses, offices, college, university or any piece of information you think is or can be relevant to them. By now, you must have a web looking piece of information already giving you a clue.
How Do People Search Engines Work?
Making the best use of the amazing platform that we discussed – the internet, we need to find online people search engines which will process all the information we know and share possible match results for people we are looking for. To help you understand what a people search engine is and how do people search engines work, just imagine a library or a music record store. People search engines have a huge pool of database with information that is allowed to be displayed publicly. Such information contains phone numbers, education, employment history and sometimes criminal history as well. However, the information uploaded with any people search engine must be approved or must be in accordance with Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Once you have the maximum information with you uploaded in a people search engine, it will run a match and show most relevant list of result for people associated with that information. You may further screen the results by looking at each option individually to figure if that’s the same person you are searching for.
Meanwhile, there are other sources to track someone apart from people search engines. Finding people through social media platforms has also been observed to take a troll. Many youngsters put up millions of searches every day through social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc. to find people they just met or to know more about them.
In all, finding someone in today’s world is no longer a rocket science. With multiple online people search engines and various social media platforms, tracking someone down has become as easy as finding a book in a library or a record in a music store.
How to View the Relationship Between Your Blog and Social Media
Alonzo Pichardo says it best.
“Buy your own domain and hosting and make that your own main hub. Social media is a branch of the marketing tree. That’s all.”
He shared my video on Instagram. Video registered 3,926 views. Here it is:
I filmed the video because I spent 20 minutes clicking profile links of folks who Liked my updates. I found a few self-hosted WordPress blogs, read and commented on these blogs. Relationships established. But most Instagram users:
- had no blog to speak of
- linked to YouTube
- linked to Facebook
For the heck of it, I spent a good 3 minutes looking for one user’s blog. I found an obituary (he was young and alive but shared a common name) and a collection of spammy “look up his information sites.” He claimed to be a blogger via his Instagram bio but he is no more a blogger than I am a werewolf.
Think about Alonzo’s advice; the blog is your main hub, or root, or base of your tree, and social media acts like branches. Offshoots, nothing more.
Instagram owns Instagram. Instagram:
- can kick that kid off of Instagram for 1 of a billion reasons, in a heartbeat
- WILL change their algorithm, soon enough, forcing the kid to change his strategy, uprooting his online world
- forces the kid to make his brand, Instagram’s brand
Not investing is a domain and hosting is about the biggest mistake you can make online because not owning your site hands your power, your decision making, your branding potential and your monetizing potential to someone else.
Social media is a branch. Spend most of your time daily working on your blog and networking with other bloggers who own their self-hosted, WordPress blogs. Unless they change their values or quit blogging, this is the most sound, intelligent approach to blogging.
Use social media for a little bit daily to:
- tag bloggers you mention on your blog
- help bloggers in groups related to your niche
- share your blog posts
- share other blogger’s blog posts
You are a blogger. Not an Instagrammer. You are a blogger. Not a Facebook-er. Spend most of your day on blogs. Not social media.
Marios Tofarides runs an authority blog on eBooks. Not in a billion years could he make his social media profiles look anything like his branded, self-hosted blog. Paula at Contented Traveler runs a first class travel blog. She could never re-create her blog’s branding, style and voice on social media. Sarah Arrow built a well known brand and thriving business by making her blog stand out, through creating, through connecting and through smart blog branding. Impossible to do this, through social media alone.
Pay Up to Play Up
I can mention your blog on Blogging From Paradise, a DA 47 blog read by many influencers.
I can mention your blog on Blogging Tips, a DA 48 blog read by many blogging influencers.
But I never link to free platform blogs because no influencer or experienced reader trusts information on free platforms. If you cannot invest $3 a month, you carry too much of a fear-lack-poverty conscious energy, that seasoned readers and top bloggers know to avoid.
I never link to a social media profile because….social media is not a blog!
Pay up to play up.
Invest in a domain and hosting. Move up in blogging circles. See social media as branches, using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as secondary or even tertiary means for helping people. Spend most of your time on your self-hosted, WordPress blog and networking on other self-hosted, WordPress blogs.
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