If you’re struggling for things to write about on the company blog, there’s a trough of ideas to be had from question-and-answer websites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, Facebook Questions and others. This is part four in my very irregular series looking at places to find inspiration for any company blog.
Q&A Sites for Blog Content Ideas
Two things I want to mention up front:
- The audience and general quality may change from one Q&A site to the next, so try more than one if your first choice doesn’t produce the kind of ideas you want.
- When you’re browsing these sites, you’re not only looking for questions to turn into blog posts; you’re also looking at people’s answers for ideas, too.
In the previous posts from this series, I’ve been using the example of a local bike store owner whose website also has a blog. I’ll keep on that same example here and I’ll focus on just one Q&A site….
Quora is a relatively new Q&A site that’s been around for a year or so now. It has the reputation of being a tech-heavy, early-adopter site … but there’s also plenty of very good, general consumer type of information.
Our bike store owner would visit www.quora.com and start typing keywords into the search box. Typing “bikes” bring up a list of several topics that are worth exploring.
If the store owner choose “Bicycles” from the dropdown, there are all kinds of questions to browse through under the “Latest Activity” tab, which shows up by default. It just so happens that the top three questions might make for good blog posts:
The first question about West Hollywood can be localized. A possible headline might be “5 Places You Can’t Ride a Bike in [cityname]” or maybe “Is It Really Illegal to Ride a Bike in [name of park, neighborhood, or wherever].”
The second question about kickstands can be turned into an idea about the evolution of bikes. “How Bikes Have Changed Since You Were a Kid” might be a possible title.
The third question about electric bikes can be used almost verbatim in any town. Just replace “San Francisco” with your hometown and answer the question. If our bike store owner doesn’t sell electric bikes, it’s still an opportunity to target that keyword and perhaps gain some traffic/exposure — and customers may remember that you helped them find a store, even if it’s someone else’s store.
Don’t Skip the Other Tabs
You’ll notice above that there are two other tabs at the top of the page: “Open Questions” and “Best Questions.” Our bike store owner should click on “Open Questions” and do the same thing described above — read the questions and look for inspiration. But she should also click the “Best Questions” tab, too, which leads to this:
I don’t know enough about bikes to know if that’s an easy or difficult question to answer. But if it’s difficult, and maybe something our bike store owner wasn’t aware of, she can still use this for a blog post.
There’s nothing wrong with writing a blog post and quoting Benjamin Running’s excellent answer as part of the post. Our bike store owner should also link to the question URL so readers can click through to see the entire answer.
In my experience, Quora tends to have a lot of smart people answering questions so you may find blog inspiration and information in other people’s answers, not just in the questions that are asked.
And be sure to go back to the original search when we chose “Bicycles” from the dropdown — choose some of the other topics and go through the same process described above. By the time our bike store owner is finished, she should have a lot of new ideas for blog posts.
You can do similar research through Yahoo Answers, Facebook Questions and other Q&A sites. The functionality will be different from what I’ve shown above, but the idea is the same — look for inspiration in people’s questions, and information in their answers.
If you missed the previous posts in this series, see “Related Entries” below.