"Sky Diver Parachute Jumping" : Image by Horia Varlan
My latest Decoded Science
article, "Risk Assessment for Skydiving versus Grocery Shopping
", is a direct response to a reader's question.Decoded Science
offers a service called "Ask the Expert" so people can request answers on any topic of their choice. All the articles written in response are included in a category of that same name.While I'm not an expert on safety, whether for parachute jumping or buying groceries, I do know how to dig out statistics and make a case for one probability to be higher or lower than another.In essence, the "Ask the Expert" feature asks readers the question, "What topic do you want us to cover? What question do you want us to answer"?
A Canadian Connection for Risks in Grocery Shopping
One Writing Tip: Ask Questions to Drive Engagement
One important metric for the success of an online magazine or blog is "reader engagement". Do your readers ask questions or leave comments? Those people are "engaged".
Advertisers favour sites and pages with engaged readers, because it's clear that those people care about the contents.
As well, engaged readers are likely to return to the site and read the next article. They may even return to see whether their questions or comments have elicited replies.
So ask questions in your articles. Go beyond "agree or disagree" polls; try "what next" or "could you do better"?
What other generic questions should you use to engage your readers?
"Hiking in Wisconsin" image by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Four Writing Tips from a Guest Post
For once we have four writing tips blab'
First, notice that the guest article uses a number in the title. "5 Outdoor Activities..." promises that the article makes five points. This is becoming a standard for many bloggers, largely because readers like to know that the writer actually has limited his (or her) scope.
Second, I made one of the five outdoor activities the focus for my article...but doubled it to "walking and hiking" because they are related but not identical. Then I added more detail so the DeHaan Services article provides value on its own.
Third, I avoided naming the other four outdoor activities. If a reader really likes the walking and hiking article, he or she may be more inclined to navigate to the DeHaan Fitness article to see what else is available.
Fourth and finally, this is a good example of taking inspiration from another writer. In fact, the guest author and his article were suggested by a publicist; my only creative input was to ensure the article would fit the focus of my fitness blog. Once I read it, I recognized a new horizon of relevant topics for DeHaan Fitness.
Thanks for reading about summer outdoor fitness, walking and this latest set of writing tips.