General questions aren’t your best bet when buying a used car or moving into an apartment. What is? Probing questions that presume there are problems. Negative assumption questions such as “What problems have you had with it?” will tend to elicit the most honest information, advises Mary Loftus of Psychology Today. And keep the question open-ended, Loftus adds. For example, “Does the piano have anything wrong with it?” can be answered with a simple “No”. Better to ask “What do you dislike about this piano?”
For purposes of business blog content writing, the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak; the content typically represents the point of view of the seller, with the blog readers representing potential buyers. In creating content for SEO marketing blogs, we need to keep in mind that people are online searching for answers to questions they have and for solutions for dilemmas they're facing. But searchers haven’t always formulated their questions, and so what I suggest is that we do that for them. After all, we’re out to engage our blog readers and show them we understand the dilemmas they’re facing.
Of course, we encourage interaction in the form of comments on our posts, but whether or not readers post comments, a business blog is the ideal vehicle for anticipating blog readers’ negative assumption questions. I remember listening to a speech by radio host Michael Medved in which he told us that we need to listen to our clients with “three ears”. That’s because we need to hear what they say, hear what they’re not saying, and even discern what they don’t even know how to say!
Although corporate blogs are closer to advertorials than to ads, content writers can learn from sales trainer D. Forbes Ley’s idea that being able to ask questions satisfies prospects’ need to control the situation. So if we as blog writers can go right to the heart of any possible customer fears or concerns by addressing negative assumption questions (before they’ve been asked!) we have the potential to breed understanding and trust.
If there are misunderstandings or negative myths surrounding our products and services, let’s get those questions – including the ones the readers don’t even know how to ask – out on the table. If the piano has any flaws or drawbacks, best to talk about them here and now. Where better to do that than in a business blog?