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3 ways to get readers to fill-in-the-blank on Facebook
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By David Arkin
Carlene Cox is a member of GateHouse Media's News & Interactive division, which provides training and support to newsrooms throughout the country. Cox started at GateHouse in 2007 as an editor with the Suburban Life newspaper group. Prior to that, ...
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Carlene Cox is a member of GateHouse Media's News & Interactive division, which provides training and support to newsrooms throughout the country. Cox started at GateHouse in 2007 as an editor with the Suburban Life newspaper group. Prior to that, she was the managing editor of the Tonawanda (N.Y.) News.
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More and more media companies are getting clever with their Facebook posts, all in an effort to engage more of their "friends" to participate with their social media site.

One somewhat new technique includes asking social media users to fill in the blank to a sentence or question, like this one from ESPN.

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I also like this one from ESPN's Fantasy Football site.

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I can't locate the image, but New York Times did something similar when the creator of Mad Libs died.

Sites that ask users to fill in the blank too often (like more than once a week), likely won't get much participation because it doesn't become a unique experience for the user. But, finding the right time to do it, can turn your average post into an engaging experience.

Here are three simple ideas on how you could do this:

1. East High School will beat West High School __ - __? Then link to your advance story on the game.

2. The city has decided to build a new high school. They shouldn't spend more than $_ million. Link your coverage of the event.

3. Thursday is Thanksgiving. You're going to gain __ how much weight this holiday season. Link a holiday-related story.

There are dozens of other ways you could use this tool. Try it a few times over the course of the next few weeks and see what kind of engagement you get. A mix of using questions, polls and this tool, will keep readers involved with your Facebook page which means more page traffic for your site.

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