Whenever Steve and I do a presentation or give a talk, we pass out index cards for people to write down questions, comments, observations. We answer as many as we can during the program, and strive to get to the rest after we're back at the office. We email responses directly to the asker, but the fact is, this also is a great way to develop blog topics!

Here's a good question we got at a recent session on writing opinion pieces, like op/eds and blog posts:

When you blog, how do you avoid 'preaching to the choir'?

Of course, this is an issue no matter what format you're using. The first step is to consider those folks in the other choir as your audience, instead of writing for folks already in your choir box. That means knowing your audience, the questions they have and the details they need. (More tips on how to do that are here.) Doing this will change the key details you include in the piece, and impact your tone, word choice and main idea. If you're worried that your usual audience will be confused by the change in tone or content, drop a quick "editor's note" at the top of the post explaining what you're doing.

Once written, it's time to spread the word. Here are some distribution ideas off the top of my head:

  1. Ask for help. It's true that most of the people reading your blog are probably in agreement with you on the big stuff. But they can still help you reach people who aren't. Ask readers to share your post with folks they know who are on the fence, or on the other side altogether. Do this in the post and in whatever other channels you push it through (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
  2. Comment strategically. Identify blogs where people are discussing all sides of your issue and excerpt your own post there as a comment. You don't want to hijack the other blogs, nor do you want to pick a fight. But contributing to the discourse, even if you're on the opposite side of most people, is usually welcomed. When in doubt, write the blog owner directly and ask if you can post.
  3. Go old-school. Submit your post as a letter to the editor or op/ed piece or condense it into a commentary for your local radio/TV station. This automatically expands your audience.
  4. Use other social formats. Another option is to record a podcast or short video or make a slide deck, and share the heck out of it. Similarly, you could participate in local TEDx or Ignite events, or other gatherings that bring together people who are interested in various ideas and points of view. Again, look for places where people who don't share your views are gathered, but remember to play nice.

Anyone else want to weigh in with additional ideas?