so what question

Actually, it is the most important thing you can ask about anything you think, you do or you want.

If such an important question exists, why won’t most readers have a clue what this question is? I think it is because we are not taught to ask tough questions about what we do, what we want, or in this case as a blogger, what we write. It is ingrained in our culture that we simply follow our impulses without stopping to ask this very important question… a question that could make us face the fact what we FEEL like doing might not match what we SHOULD be doing.

With regards to writing blog content, this question allows us to take an honest look at what we are producing to make sure that it really does serve the purpose that we intend. Hopefully that purpose is to benefit our readers in various ways such as educating or entertaining. Like most things in life, the most effective and powerful things are surprisingly simple. That is supremely true when it comes to the most important question you can ever ask about the content you put on your blog:

So What?

Two words. Those two words represent the most effective and objective filter you can use to make sure that your blog content is going to be successful. You should ask yourself “so what?” before you start writing, as you write, as you rewrite, and when you click the publish button. “So what?” should be a question that runs through your mind continually about every aspect of your entire blog, but especially your writing.

Those two little words force you to answer these types of questions not only about a single blog post but about the entire body of content you present on your blog:

  • Does it matter to my reader?
  • What does it do for my readers?
  • Will it make a difference to the reader?
  • Will my readers be able to answer the question “so what?” positively or will they be left thinking “so what, who cares”.

It forces you as the writer to evaluate the effectiveness, usefulness, clarity and practicality of your content.

If You Cannot Answer “So What?” Neither Can Your Readers

If you cannot definitively answer “so what” in a positive way, how can you expect your readers too? Whether people articulate it or not, subconsciously they are continually asking the question “so what?” This question is another way of asking “was it worth my time?”, “Is it useful to me?”, “Can I do something practical or beneficial with this information?”

When you get done reading this blog post I’m writing, ask yourself “so what?” Of course I hope your answer will be that you have learned a valuable lesson that will help you greatly and rapidly improve your blog content by engaging in a purposeful evaluation of your own writing by using this simple question: “so what?”

Sometimes we let our emotions, our enthusiasm and our own personal desires get in the way of objectively answering of this question. I wish I could say that I have never written a blog post that failed the question of “so what?” and left the reader hanging, feeling like I wasted their time. Last week I wrote about the five basic questions every blogger must continually ask themselves about their blog. When you get to the end of that post the answer to “so what?” is very clear. The five basic questions are extremely useful to any blogger regardless of experience. When you ask “so what?” after reading that post there many obvious answers such as “I need to make sure I am asking myself these questions about my blog on a routine basis” or “I need to go examine my blogs right now in light of these questions.”

Compare that to another blog post I wrote a couple of weeks ago letting people know that one of my online efforts had reached a “1 million click” milestone. When you ask yourself “so what?” about that post there is no answer other than “who cares except Brent?”. I was just excited about reaching that goal but presented in such a way it meant absolutely nothing to the readers and provided them with no benefit whatsoever. When they asked themselves “so what?” they were left with the realization that I had asked them to invest their time to read a blog post that made me feel happy but was absolutely useless to them. I failed the “so what?” test miserably.

So What? Is Really Multiple Questions

The two little words “so what” represent many questions that we constantly answer in our mind although we may not verbalize them. Your readers are doing this constantly, so learn to put yourself in their shoes and examine your content with the questions they are asking: For example:

  • So what does this do for me?
  • So what? Who really cares?
  • So what? Does this allow me to improve myself, make more money, be happier or feel good?
  • So what? Can I take what you are saying and practically apply it to my own life or effort?
  • So what? Are you telling me something I don’t know, or telling me from a fresh angle?
  • So what? Are you manipulating me, lying, exaggerating or trying to get something from me?
  • So what? Is this worth telling anyone about?
  • So what? Am I glad I took time to read this?

The trick is to HONESTLY ask “so what?” about your own writing. It doesn’t do any good to lie to yourself about it because the result is the same: lost readers, decreased loyalty. So be BRUTAL when filtering your writing through “so what?”

In closing, let me throw out a little something you can chew on later… do you ask yourself “so what?” about other things in your life such as… What you say? What you spend your time and money on? Your work? Your expectations of people?

“So what?” cuts through all the bull, and allows us to really figure out what matters in life, what is effective, what is beneficial and what is worth investing time and emotion on. Here’s some questions I ask myself routinely about decisions, circumstances or goals:

  • So what? Will it matter in 10, 100 or 1000 years?
  • So what? Does it count towards eternity?
  • So what? Does the help anyone else or is it singularly selfish?
  • So what? Is it worth the investment in time, emotions and “life”?
  • So what? Are the most important things in life enhanced and supported by this?
  • So what? Does it matter to God?

Just food for thought.

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