In the 10 Resolutions for Better Online Business in 2011 article, the very first tip was to “ask for help”.
In this article, you will learn how to get the help you need – when you need it – by asking better questions.
Here are 2 examples of how NOT to write questions.
how do i get started with cpa? is affiliate marketing hard? when can i start earning some income? can 250k my first year? can i earn millions? do you work alot?
Could you point me to an article that explains step by step how to get started with blogging from beginning to end? I need every detail of the process. Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice for success.
Yes, those were real questions that were posted to the NPT blog and guess what? You won't see those questions posted anywhere, because my eyes were rolled too far back into my head that I couldn't see to answer them.
To avoid frustrating your expert to the point of blindness, here are 8 tips for asking better questions.
- Do your homework. Between topic and product research, writing blog posts, tending to social media marketing and responding to comments on their blogs; most professional bloggers are very busy people.
Respect their time.
- Ask the right expert. As much as I'd like to help everyone all the time, there's not much point in asking me how to improve your golf swing or get rid of belly fat.
Those clearly aren't my areas of expertise. 🙂
- Be concise. Although I really enjoy learning about my readers' lives and interests, I don't have time to read through a book's worth of anecdotes while trying to field and answer 10 questions.
Share personal stories in private member forums where such information is encouraged, welcomed and enjoyed.
- Ask precise questions. “I don't know how” and “I can't” are the basis for statements, not questions.
Well-formed questions make the “I don't know's” obvious.
Preface questions with “what, who, when, where, how or why”, eg. “How do I change my H1 font colors?”
- Ask just one question. Peppering a comment form with several unrelated questions is just poor form.
Look for posts relavent to each question and post them separately.
This approach is much more helpful to other readers of the blog and will serve you better in SEO terms as well — providing more backlinks to your site.
- Be literate. Native English speakers could (and should) use what they learned about punctuation and grammar in Grade 2 if they want their questions taken seriously — especially those posed by aspiring bloggers!
Using ALL CAPS is only slightly more annoying than using none.
Missing commas can completely change the meaning of a sentence, causing confusion and wasted time during clarification. Eats, Shoots & Leaves is an excellent resource for the comma-challenged.
- Be patient. Unlike my tech guy who apparently gets a wakeup call everytime a tech support request arrives by email, I cherish my sleep. I also value my time off and the ability to go to lunch with a friend at the drop of a hat without communication devices at hand. Those are some of the biggest benefits to having an online business.
So, if you don't get a reply to your question within 2 minutes of posting it, consider the many reasons your expert may not immediately respond. They may live halfway around the world, be offline (on an airplane or hiking in Alaska) or attending their godson's birthday party.
Be patient. Allow 24 – 72 hours for a response. If after 72 hours you still haven't heard anything, revisit the question to determine whether it follows the recommondations above.
Most of all, don't badger for a response. Sending 5 followup emails is a sure way to get ignored and your address blocked.
- Be courteous. Courtesy might not help get your question answered, but it certainly won't hurt. “Please”, “Thank you” and acknowledging effort go a long way to cultivating goodwill.
In a nutshell, all of the recommendations above boil down to a single element – Respect others' time to gain respect (and help) in return.
Any questions? 🙂
Comments, questions or suggestions? Please leave a comment below!