Opening day for the greatest blogging event of the year is finally here! And so begins the 2015 edition of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (follow the link to learn more). If you still would like to jump in to join us click here--the Linky List will remain open until Thursday night April 2nd).
Insecure Writer's Support Group
And this being the first Wednesday of the month it's also time for Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group where writers convene to discuss what's on their minds. You can find that list at this link.
Battle of the Bands
Then it being April 1st it's also the first monthly installment of the Battle of the Bands blog event founded by Stephen T McCarthy and Faraway Eyes. On the 1st and 15th of each month several bloggers post two versions of one song in order for their readers to vote for their favorite. After you've voted on your favorite of the two selections I've offered, please visit the participants who are listed at the end of this post to vote on their Battles.
If this all sounds like the perfect storm of blogging, well never fear Arlee's got it under control! Ironically Wednesdays are also "Ask Arlee" day and "Asking" is not only the first element of blogging that I want to discuss, but an important insecurity that many of us face.
Who hasn't had some fear of asking a stupid question? No sincere question is stupid. Whether it's to have something repeated because you missed it or to have it explained because you didn't understand, knowing is better than screwing up royally later because you don't know.
You can learn much from asking. Research is excellent and often necessary, but asking someone who knows can save time and create bonds with others. Of course, we shouldn't absolutely take every answer we get without checking when there is doubt, but some answers can stand on their own.
Asking is an important--a vital--part of communication. Posing questions stimulates discussions. Requesting assistance can help you get better results and make your life easier. This latter point is especially true in marketing. Since word of mouth gets buzz going about your product, it's better to delegate the job and ask others to help you spread the word. Ask and you will receive--and even if some people can't help, you can find somebody who will. But you might have to ask first.
When composing a blog post it's best to include a few questions along the way. A blog title in the form of a question is an excellent way to attract readers as most people enjoy answering questions or seeing what the answers are. I like to close my blog posts with a few questions in order to better encourage comments.
Questions in blog posts can be used in many ways and they are important for you to consider. If you aren't taking advantage of asking readers anything then you are essentially telling them that you want to do all the talking and you don't care what they think. Now, that may not be exactly true in every case, but think about it. When someone asks you for some feedback don't you feel a little more invested in the conversation?
Remember that blogging is social media and social implies interaction. Asking readers what they think about what you are saying in a post is kind of sociable, don't you think so? And it's not just about what readers think. You can ask them to come back to your blog, go to a guest post you're doing, go read another blogger, join you in an event, or even buy your book (just please ask tactfully and not overdo it too much). Ask anything that makes sense. Asking does get results.
"Ask Me No Questions"
This conflicts the advice I've given above, but the song is talking about the sometimes irrational state of love. I guess there are some things we shouldn't ask. These two song versions were recorded about a decade apart. They sound fairly similar since the song's co-writer Debbi Peterson is vocalist on both though performing in different groups in each version. This is a lovely song with a sound that is reminiscent of the early Beatles and other groups of that era.
The Bangles "Ask Me No Questions" (2003)
Kindred Spirit "Ask Me No Questions" (1994)
Time to Vote!
Which do you prefer? It's up to you to determine the winner. Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.
Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:
‘FAR AWAY SERIES’
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’
DC Relief Battle of the Bands
Results on Wednesday April 8th
There will be daily posts at Tossing It Out throughout the month of April for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge so please try to stop as often as you are able to keep up with my "Elements of Blogging" posts. Do come back next Wednesday April 8th though if you want to see which song version came out on top.
Do you feel awkward or afraid to ask questions? Do you mind asking others for help or to do you a favor? Where do you usually go when you don't understand something or need answers?