Creating a Discussion Post Strategy (Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge)

Fall 2017 Mini Bloggiesta


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.


Creating a Discussion Post Strategy

Introduction

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?
  • Lists?

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?

Briana

Mini Bloggiesta: Jan. 16-17

Mini Bloggiesta

Bloggiesta

Bloggiesta is an event held to encourage bloggers to work on their blogs while connecting with others.  You can find more information and sign-ups here.   This is a mini event, and I do have a lot of school work, lesson planning, and other real life things to catch up on, but I’m hoping to get a couple things done on the blog this weekend anyway.

My To-Do List

  • Schedule a couple reviews and discussion posts
  • Work on updating the review archives
  • Catch up on any emails that need responses
  • Find any graphics that need updating to the new blog theme
  • Continue planning our March Tolkien event
  • Schedule more posts for our Blogging Tips event in February
  • Visit other blogs and continue in the Commenting 365 Challenge

Mini Bloggiesta Starting Line: Summer 2013

Bloggiesta Start

This is the second time I will be participating in Bloggiesta, an event designed to encourage bloggers to update and improve their blogs.

From the Bloggiesta web site:

Welcome to the second Mini Bloggiesta!

It’s just like main events, only smaller! It’s just two days, with just a few mini challenges, and just the one Twitter chat (Saturday the 20th at 10 p.m. Eastern! @bloggiesta #bloggiesta)

We hope you have fun spending whatever time you have this weekend together with other participants working on your blogs! To join the fun, write a post listing what you hope to accomplish this weekend, and link up here. (Add your Twitter name too, so we can connect with you there!)

Be sure to connect with other bloggers to encourage each other and share all your expertise!

Thanks for participating!

My To-Do List:

  • Catch up on writing reviews
  • Brainstorm post ideas to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday on July 31
  • Schedule blogger interviews for August (If you want to be interviewed, email us!)
  • Schedule meme posts like Top Ten Tuesday
  • Update my blog calendar so it is is accurate
  • Learn to utilize Pinterest better
  • Participate in mini challenges
  • Visit other blogs

Mini Challenges Complete:

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge #1: Through a Visitor’s Eyes

Bloggiesta

On a Book Bender is hosting a mini-challenge for Bloggiesta called Through a Visitor’s Eyes.  The idea is to check how accessible your blog and content is to new visitors.  Below I’ll go through the checklists she suggests to see how well Pages Unbound is doing!

Part 1: Navigation

  • Navigation: Yes, we have a menu bar!
  • About Page: Check!
  • Social Media Links: Available both near the header and in the sidebar!
  • Contact: Our email address is on the “Review Policy” page.  We could add it to the sidebar, but I would like authors to at least look at the review page before sending review requests.
  • Search Bar: At the top of the sidebar
  • Review Archive: Available and up to date!

We did well in Part 1!

Part 2: Commenting

Log out and try adding a comment to your own blog.

  • How easy it is to comment on your blog:  Easy.  I could log in using WordPress, Twitter, or Facebook.  I also had the option to post using simply a name and email address, and I could add my website if I wanted.  Anyone with an email address could comment quickly.
  • If you have CAPTCHA and don’t realize it:  No!
  • What your visitors see/experience when they comment:  A form asking for the comment, name, email, and web URL.  Simple, and the same experience I have when I go to comment on Blogger blogs.
  • Ways that you can make commenting easier for your visitors: I’m not sure WordPress.com has tons of options for this.  Right now we have it set up so we have to approve a visitor’s first comment.  Then he/she should be able to comment and see their comments posted immediately.
  • Whether something is broken or not functioning as it should:  Everything looks great!

Part 3: Navigation and Searching

Your task is to choose a specific post you wrote and ask someone to find it. Ask them the questions I’ve asked you: How did you find it? I Was it easy to find? How long did it take you?

I think finding a review on our blog would be easy; simply use the search bar or check the Review Archive.  But if anyone wants to look for something more obscure, please try to find our L. M. Montgomery personality quiz and tell me how easy it was to find in the comments!

Bonus: Check Your Links

The social media links are all WordPress widgets and seem to be working well!

Bloggiesta 2013

Bloggiesta Start

This is the first time I will be participating in Bloggiesta, an event designed to encourage bloggers to update and improve their blogs.  I’ll be busy with other things for much of Friday, but should be able to participate more actively on Saturday and Sunday.

My To-Do List:

This is continuously growing as I find great ideas on other blogs!  I will bold the ones I have completed.

  • Reply to outstanding comments on Pages Unbound
  • Comment on some other blogs
  • Reply to any emails
  • Work on adding submissions for our Tolkien Reading Day survey (Feel free to participate! Just tell us what you like about Tolkien!)
  • Write outstanding book reviews (three at this point)
  • Add new reviews to our archives list
  • Schedule feature posts like “If You Like, Then Read”
  • Schedule some memes like Top Ten Tuesday
  • Find authors to ask for interviews
  • Try creating a Facebook cover image
  • Backup the blog

Mini-Challenges Completed: