In short, Bloggiesta is a blogging marathon revolving around ticking off those items on your to-do list and improving your blog while in the good company of other awesome bloggers doing the same thing. Our awesome mascot Pedro (Plan. Edit. Develop. Review. Organize) is ready to break out the nachos, enchiladas, drinks, mariachi music and whack a pinata or two! It’s nothing short of an awesome fiesta!
This fall’s mini Bloggiesta is officially Sept. 21-24, and I’m hosting a mini-challenge this time! Read on to challenge yourself to create a discussion post strategy.
Discussion posts are becoming increasingly popular on blogs, with both readers and bloggers. Are you making the most out of this interest? If you want to start writing discussion posts, or just start featuring more of them, complete this mini challenge to get your discussion post strategy going!
Creating Your Discussion Post Strategy
1. Plan How Often You Want to Post Discussions
The first step of your discussion post strategy is determining how often you want to feature discussion posts on your blog. This will determine how many ideas you’re going to need and how quickly you need to write them. It’s also helpful to know this so you can plan ahead for any type of research you’ll need to do in order to write the posts.
Do you want to do discussions once a month? Every other week? Once a week? Come up with your frequency goal and also decide which days you are going to post. For example, do you want to post a discussion every Wednesday? Write this information down on the calendar/planner where you keep your blog schedule. (Or start a blogging calendar if you don’t already have one!)
2. Consider What You Like to See in Discussion Posts
Before you think about what types of discussion you want to write, it is helpful to determine what types of discussions you like reading. Types of discussions may include:
- Discussions about personal experiences
- Discussions about your blogging topic (ex. discussions about books or reading)
- Discussions about blogging itself
You should also think about format:
- Do you like long-form discussions?
- Use of headers and subheaders?
Here are some thoughts I have on how you can make a discussion post memorable.
3. Brainstorm Ideas
Next you need to begin to decide what it is you’re going to discuss. This is a simple brainstorming stage, so don’t get too stressed out. Jot down any ideas that come to you, and don’t worry too much about whether they’re “good” ideas. You just want thoughts down on paper. Don’t worry too much about organization or neatness either; just let the ideas flow.
I wrote a list a while ago featuring 30 discussion post prompts for book bloggers that can get you started. If you’re not a book blogger, you can try adapting some of the prompts for your own niche. (For example, instead of writing about a favorite book from your childhood, maybe you can write about a favorite family recipe if you are a book blogger, or a favorite childhood vacation if you are a travel blogger.)
I also wrote a post about fostering creativity and brainstorming in general, which you may find helpful as you start making your list of potential discussion topics.
4. Make a Concrete Discussion Schedule
Once you have some ideas for potential discussion posts, pick 3-5 of them that you think you definitely want to write and put them into your blogging calendar. Think about what order you want them in. Consider:
- Do you want to separate ideas that are kind of similar by a couple weeks?
- Do you want to do a discussion series and purposely place certain topics close to each other on the schedule?
- Is there a specific event you want to time the discussion for? (Ex. a discussion about banned books around Banned Books Week)
*Note that being aware of events can also help you brainstorm posts. Maybe you want to write about libraries during library week, or about Shakespeare around his birthday, or about something Halloween-themed in October.
5. Draft One of the Posts
Since this is just a mini challenge for Bloggiesta, you don’t need to start writing the discussion posts right now. But you get virtual bonus points for drafting one and getting it scheduled on your blog!
6. Plan for Photos and Graphics
If you don’t yet feature many discussion posts on your blog, think about what graphics you want to include. Do you want to make just one graphic that says something like “Discussion” that you can use on all future posts to save time? Or do you want to create a specific graphic for each one? Will you ever need specialized graphics like infographics, flow charts, etc.? Are you going to take your own photography or use free resources online? Make notes of any graphic needs for each post from step 4.
7. Create a Promotion Plan
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste! Write some notes on how you’re going to promote your discussions once you write and schedule them. For example:
- What social media will you promote on? How often?
- Will you have a graphic to use on social media?
- Is there a “discussion post link-up” hosted anywhere in your blogging niche you can participate in?
- Do you belong to any Goodreads groups, Facebook groups, or other forums you can share the links?
- Do you want to do a post informing your readers that you will be doing more discussion posts and telling them what days to check your blog for them?