Blogging & The Power of the Personal Ask

personal askOne of the biggest myths of the web is the well-worn quote from the movie Field of Dreams, “Build it and they will come.”

It seems like with every new generation of technology, the myth reappears.

A decade ago, it was websites.  The myth was build a website, and they will come – come to buy your stuff, join your church, support your ministry.  Sorry, but no.  You have to optimize your website for search engines if you want people.  Myth busted.

The myth has re-emerged with blogs.  The myth is if you set up a blog with the right social media sharing tools built in and write good content, they will come – come to your blog, post comments, share your posts on social media sites, and basically do whatever you ask in your posts.

Sorry, but no.

If you blog you probably already know this from experience.  Ever publish a blog post and ask a question only to get no replies in the comments?  Ever make a broad plea for feedback, retweets, guest bloggers, or donations to support a cause you care about and in response hear nothing but crickets?

People are busy.  There is a lot of noise.  People rarely respond to broad requests made to everyone.

But people will respond when you ask people personally.

Earlier this year, 12 other bloggers and I did a blog series called 20 Ways to Share Your Faith Online.  It was a tremendous success – one of the best series we’ve done on Christian Web Trends.  But what you probably don’t know is that only 3 or 4 people responded to the initial blog post I wrote asking for writers.  I then sent personal emails to a bunch people asking them if they would be a part of the series.  Most of them said yes.  But it would have been a complete failure if I hadn’t made personal asks.

A similar thing happened when we announced the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series.  It took a lot of emails, DMs, and other personal asks to get 60+ bloggers to join in on that series.

If you want your blog to be successful, make the personal ask.  Ask a leader in your niche to guest blog.  Ask if you can guest post on their blog.  Ask people to participate in a round-table discussion.  Ask if you can interview them.  Even if you’re blog is small and you’re relatively unknown, you’d be surprised how many people will say yes.

Have you been waiting for the masses to respond to your blog posts?  How could you take your blog to the next level by making some personal asks?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

7 Responses to “Blogging & The Power of the Personal Ask”

  1. Matches Malone Oct 13, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Well, in that spirit, I personally ask you and everyone that reads this comment to take the time to visit and leave a comment, as well as make a donation of any amount. Pray for me, and my team this year. Thanks!!!

    • PaulSteinbrueck Oct 13, 2010 at 10:17 am

      Dude, I hope you're being facetious, because posting a request in the comments of a blog is about as impersonal an ask as you can make.

  2. Sounds like me. Sometimes google brings them in but not a lot, need to do more personal asking. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Anicath, I appreciate your comment, but the links you included seemed a bit spammy so I removed them.

  4. Oh the irony. Loving these comments. Great article Paul!

    I'm feeling like I should drop a spammy link just to keep the trend going ;-)

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  1. Tweets that mention Blogging & The Power of the Personal Ask | Christian Web Trends Blog -- Topsy.com - Oct 13, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by OurChurch.Com, Mike Shields and Paul Steinbrueck, judith emily. judith emily said: RT @paulsteinbrueck: RT @OurChurchDotCom: Blogging & The Power of the Personal Ask ~ http://bit.ly/aexyt2 [...]

  2. The Power of the Personal Ask | Live Intentionally - Oct 13, 2010

    [...] how successful bloggers don’t wait around for people to respond to broad general appeals but they make personal asks of [...]