Jordan Ogren

September 24, 2021

3 steps to asking better questions.

Earlier this week, I shared an email on improving content by ending with a question (Missed it? Read here).

While I have nothing new to add to the original premise, I want to share some cautions.

In my short time mindlessly scrolling through LinkedIn, I've seen people go too far with this tactic. So far that they deplete the original benefit while kicking in adverse side effects.

How can you take the simple idea of ending your content with a question too far? Doing it with little intention.

What does this look like?
  • Asking generic questions that show how little you care about your audience (What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree?)
  • Using too many questions at the end (1 is sufficient)
  • Asking too specific of a question that does not elicit a response (Do you believe that the world is 95% populated and that we will explode in less than ten years?)

What does the successful execution of this tactic look like? 

First, it begins with a genuine concern for the thoughts and opinions of your audience. You need to actually give a f*ck about what they think, not just hope for more engagement.

Second, you need to get clear on what you want from them. For example, do you want to see if they agree with your argument? Or, do you want to hear examples of their experiences with x and y?

In practice: Asking someone, "how was your day?" is the worst way to find out how their day truly went. Instead, ask, "Did you do anything new or different today at school?" This will open the door that leads to how their day went.

Finally, you need to ask a better question instead of your initial inquiry. Once we know what we want from them (step 2), we uncover that by asking the question behind our first question. 

A question behind a question? Yes. (It's even a book, QBQ! The Question Behind the Question. I'd highly recommend reading.)

Let's imagine you are seeking to understand where your friend stands on abortion:

Your initial question could be, "What are your thoughts on abortion?" But a more profound and better question to ask would be, "Have you made any recent changes in how you think about abortion?"

One final note: Asking a question through a written medium (social media post) is vastly different from asking a question over voice (podcast). Keep this in mind as you craft your question for the specific medium it will appear on.

Marketing Insights 🗡
  • End your content with a question to remain on your audience's mind longer and leave a lasting positive impression
  • Avoid asking generic questions (Agree? Disagree?), asking too many questions, and using your initial question
  • Three steps to ask better questions: (1) Care for your audience, (2) understand what type of response you want from them, and (3) dig past your initial inquiry to find the *better* question 

Which of the three steps above can you focus on to improve the questions you ask in your content? 

(There was a ton of pressure to end with a *good* question, so I hope the above Q can spark action).

🧠 // JO