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How I Generated Over 6000 Ideas to Write About on My Blog in 15 Minutes

Ever run out of things to write about on your blog?

In this video screencast I want to show you how I came up with over 6000 ideas to write about on my blog using two tools – an Auto Responder (I use Aweber (aff)) and a Simple Survey.

Setting this up took me all of 15 minutes work – after that it’s just been a matter of sitting back and watching the ideas roll in.

You may not be able to generate 6000 ideas (and the reality is that I can’t use that many) but this technique can be used on even a smallish blog.

Video Notes

How to Generate Ideas to Write About on Your Blog – Transcript

I’ve had this video transcribed below for those who prefer to get it that way. The transcription provided by The Transcription People.

Today I want to show you a technique that I’ve been using just for the last few months, on how to come up with ideas to write about on your Blog.

A lot of blogger face this problem – after a few months of blogging you run out of all those great ideas that you had when you started your blog, and you want to come up with more.

This is a technique that will work best on a blog with lots of readers, but even just some readers that, particularly readers that are subscribing to your newsletter, it can be used quite effectively, even in small numbers over a longer period of time.

So, you can see on the screen here, I’ve opened up AWeber. AWeber’s my email newsletter tool that I’ve talked about numerous times on ProBlogger.

What I’ve opened up here is the auto responder sequence for my Digital Photography School (I have a number of them).

This is an auto-responder that I’ve set up for DPS and one of the newsletters, and you can see here that on this particular one I have seven different messages that go out once someone subscribes to my newsletter. These are automated messages that go out at pre-determined intervals. You can see here the intervals on the left, they get a Welcome to DPS message straight away on the first day they sign up. Then they get a series of informational newsletters including one promotional one. So they actually hear about he products that we have and get offered a discount, but they also get emails that are purely informational that give them quality links back into archives on the site.

Number seven here is the one I want to talk about today. “What would you like to learn about Photography Next?” is the title of it.

I’ve already opened it up here. Now, they’re getting this email, you’ll see there, it’s around four months into their sequence. So they’ve already been subscribed for a while, they’ve been getting our weekly newsletter updates, which is in addition to this auto-responder.

So they’ve got some connection with DPS, and then get this email. Basically thanks them for joining, and introduces the idea that we’re doing some planning for the site which we’re always doing, and at the time I started this auto-responder, I was actually doing a week of intensive planning, and introduces the concept we want it to be, DPS to be as helpful as possible and we’ve got a survey to help us to improve the site and to come up with topics to write about. And then it gives them a link to click. When they click on that link, they are taken to a survey.

Now, I’ve set it up in SurveyMonkey. SurveyMonkey is a great tool, I think you get a certain amount for free. I’ve signed up for the premium edition, because I’m sending so many people to this as part of my newsletter. This is the back end of SurveyMonkey where you set up your questions, but here you can see the questions that I’m asking.

I introduced the topic again, and talk about why I’m doing the survey. Then I get them to begin to describe themselves in terms of the level of photographer that they are.

Then I ask the question, “I would like to see Tutorials on DPS on the following topics,” and get them to choose all that apply. Now, these are pre-determined topics that we do write on from time to time. The idea of this question is just to work out what the priorities of people are.

Then I ask them which topics would you like to see a more comprehensive guide to? So here what I’m asking is, I’m trying to get a feel for what people might pay for information on, because I want to develop eBooks. So here I’m doing a bit of a survey on that. One of the biggest ones was Travel Photography, so we developed an eBook on that. Then I asked them a question about the post-production tools they use, Photoshop, Paintshop, you know, LightRoom, Aperture, that type of thing.

And this is the golden question, this is the one I want to talk about today. Apart from those listed above, what topics would you like to see covered more on DPS? Feel free to be as specific as you’d like. So anything from a general topic like underwater photography to more specific – like slow-synch flash, or how to sharpen images in Photoshop.

So I’m giving them permission there to go beyond those broad categories we covered earlier in the survey, and to ask specific questions.

Now, SurveyMonkey gives you some great analytics, and so you can see here the answer to that first question, I’ve graphed people. I’ve actually got 71% of readers who say they’ve had a camera for a while, they’re fairly confident, but they want to get more advanced. And we get same sort of stats on these other ones. But what I want to go do down here below, is this last question that I’ve talked about.

You can see here, I’ve had this survey running for a couple of months now. I’ve had 6,369 people tell me what they want to get more information on. Specific questions. Now this is gold. This is really gold.

You get a download button here, and you can download it as a PDF or as an Excel, whatever you’d like.

Now, 6,000+ people have told me what they want to get information on, and they’ve given me specific questions. Now, some of these questions aren’t very helpful, some of the answers aren’t very helpful, you know, I’ve got someone here that says, “Fashion.” Well, we kind of figured that they probably would have ticked the Fashion Photography box above, but here we go, look, fixing problems like blown out skies, or wrinkle removal or skin softening. There’s three topics that I could go away and write on. Fish-eye photography, taking pics of babies and pets. You’ve got a lot of quite interesting stuff here. A lot of these questions are very specific, they’re post-type questions. Some of them people joke and they give you crappy answers and stuff that they’re just trying to be funny. But this is gold. There is 6,000 responses here.

Now DPS has a fairly large audience and so we are able to get 6,000 responses and that’s great. But even a blog that may be getting only a small number of people signing up to it’s newsletter every day, what happens is, as an auto-responder, remember, I’ve set this up as the seventh thing, so they’re getting all this quality information first, but after a few months of being subscribed, they’re actually still got questions, and they’re answering them.

We have around eight or nine hundred people sign up a day for this. So eight or nine hundred people are getting sent to this survey every day. You may have only eight or nine people getting this information every day, but you will find over time, if you have this as part of your auto-responder for a year or two, you’ll begin to build up a bank of questions that you can then draw upon later.

So if I’m ever wondering, you know, “What should I write about today on my blog?” I tell you, that file, that Excel file that I opened up before is one of the first places that I go, because it is just gold, it’s got so much great information.

Hope this has been helpful for you. It’s a technique that I’ve been using over the last few months on my blog and it’s really helped me to come up with a lot of great things to write about on my site.
End of Recording.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I was looking for ideas for my blog, with this post I have started re-thinking on what to do next. Apart from SurveyMonkey we can also use Google Docs to create Survey.

  2. Thanks for sharing not only how to gleaned 6000 ideas from your readers but also how you processed the information, use auto responders, and survey tools to collect the data. Good Stuff.

  3. Great article!! As mentioned in the post, I left my blog sleeping for six months or so. Just because I never had the initial spark and I ran out of posts. Now, I am back!! I should have applied this technique when I ran out of posts. Hope this time I will not leave my blog sleeping.
    I would like to add a point to the above post. I have seen few blogs where I get pop ups asking for ideas!! I think that will provide more ideas. But the only drawback with this idea is that, the visitor might get annoyed due to such pop ups.
    Everything About Blogging

  4. Great article!! I ran out of posts and I left my blog sleeping for six months or so!! Though there were lots of other factors which lead to the break, I would primarily point to the lack of ideas for posting and the initial spark I had. I hope I do not make the same mistake again.

    I would like to add one more point with regards to the idea. I have seen few sites where in, you get pop ups asking for ideas to post!! I feel it will be more effective though there is a possibility of irritating the visitors!!
    Everything About Blogging

  5. Wow some really awesome advice Darren! Thanks!

  6. Thanks

    They key is ensuring that what you right appeals to a large cross section of your readers, or they will terminate their subscription. Fine balancing act

  7. thanks for your video. i will start using auto responder for my blog. i hope it’s work for me

  8. Thanks for the tips. I have heard many people recomend Aweber. Are there any free auto responders that you might suggest for thise starting out that have a small budget? Thanks again.

  9. I really liked this video although I misread the title as *How to generate over 6000 Ideas to write About Page on my blog in 15 Mins* :P

  10. What a great idea!

  11. I always laugh when people say they have no time to blog or can’t think of anything to write about. Building a community starts with great content.

  12. THANKS so much! This will be a lifesaver for vacation.

  13. 6000 ideas in 15 minutes, woah! haha!
    Very interesting and enjoyable post.
    I have heard abour aweber, might have to get a closer look into it :D

  14. Useful post Darren. Nothing better than asking users what they want!

    I recalled another idea from watching this post, shoot a 5 min video and have transcribed. Content creation Magic!

  15. Interesting idea and I am really impressed with your sidebar polls to get more ideas for blogging. I myself generate ideas from reading my readers’ comments :-)

  16. For some of us ideas can be hard to come by. This really opens it up. I like the auto responder idea. Thanks,

    Joe

  17. I have not yet started using Aweber. Once I started I will definitely implement some of these idea making tricks

  18. I also face this problem in many times, but then I read a lot of books or blogs and come up with some ideas. This idea is good too.

  19. A great idea darren…not sure i have the numbers of readers that you do, but useful info anyway!!

  20. Excellent idea, however, when you’re just starting off getting responses back from a list of anywhere near that scale is impossible. One thing I’ve found from list management in the past is that often, you build you self into an almost celebrity – why not invite a couple of the people on your list down the pub? Sounds crazy, but after a drink – on you, they’ll tell you exactly what they think and give you free (well nearly free) user consultancy.

  21. Hi Darren,

    Iam a hugeeeeeeee fan of yours…following you on twitter as well..great post…great information…Thanx…

    [email protected]
    http://www.lovelypriyanka.blogspot.com
    http://www.myeasytocookrecipes.blogspot.com
    http://www.samsondentalclinic.blogspot.com

  22. Darren,

    Thank you very much for this great idea. I am about to start a newsletter for my customers and I will use this idea as part of my newsletters. I think it is a great way to not only come up with ideas but to also engage your subscribers.

    Thanks.

  23. Hello Darrren,

    Great post on how you find ways of keeping up to date on how to find content to write about, certainly very interresting. Have to agree with you on the aweber part, I use it myself to capture emails and find out what people are looking for.

    Eamon.

  24. Simply great ideas, i simply can’t think what to write on my blog..lol

  25. Google instant search is THE tool. I don’t like twitter because it’s too “in”. I prefer use GIS tool and see if any tweet is interessant for me.

  26. Your post here has definitely gotten the juices flowing here for new topics I want to blog about on my sites. I think using twitter, facebook and blog comments is also a great way to get fresh new ideas to discuss too.

  27. Hi Darren

    Thanks for the informative and great article.
    This is really exiting that, there r really so many ideas through we can get the ideas to write about on blog. The survey monkey is really great way to do survey and get ideas for the blog.
    The slide show helped me a lot to understand this.
    Once again thanks a lot.

  28. Great idea. I’m planning to use it once I grow a good size readership. For now, I’m using GT, and SEOTools to find what people are searching for.

  29. Sometimes you think that you have written everything there is to write about a niche and you get lost. This idea is great cuz your users help you to find gems your competitors haven’t found yet. This will give a lot of advantage to your blog.

  30. This is awesome. I’ve been struggling for ways to come up with fresh content and your post is a great help. Thanks.

  31. Hi Darren,

    You are truly “The King of Content”. Another awesome post.

  32. Hi Darren,

    Super idea. The video is great and yes, Aweber is the best one, in my opinion.

    Thanks.

  33. Nice post.

    I have one gen question

    I want guest bloggers for my blog. Can you suggest how I may get guest bloggers?

  34. Good stuff Darren.

    One method which we use is to write a basic post on a core concept and base content around it after some more posts which ultimately lead to spin-offs as well as boost internal links between posts.

    Appreciate the info you gave.

  35. A great way to optimize your opt in list. Wonderful idea. So simple in theory but brilliant!

  36. Surveys are always good to have on a website as they encourage reader participation and are easy for lazy readers to do. easier than commenting.

    I have been following your blog more ever since I started on the 31 day challenge to better blogging and I have been noticing a lot of spelling and grammatical errors. Is it because someone else does your transcriptions? Amazing how popular you are despite this. I guess the old saying that we are supposed to write correctly doesn’t apply anymore. ;)

  37. This is info great! Thanks for sharing

  38. Great way to keep our blog current and relevant. Any alternatives to survey monkey?

  39. Hashim says: 09/13/2010 at 8:55 am

    Fantastic video, you really gave me new ideas on how to write more content for my blog. I have been reviewing youtube videos related to my topic http://www.definerothira.com for a while now, but the number of available videos have run out!!

    So this video is definitely a mind refresher

  40. Great Post. Hi Darren, i want some traffic on my yoga blog. http://www.yogamatpilate.com
    Can u suggest me some good method.

  41. I’ve only just got into the blogging thing and I’m loving it!! Not sure that the quality of my content is the same level as my enthusiasm, but still I’m having fun. Thanks for sharing your ideas I know I’ll be needing inspiration very, very soon.

  42. Thanks Darren for this very great post and video.

    I look forward to reading more of your blogging tips and keep up the good word!

  43. Very very good points to get ideas. I still prefer a little time thinking up ideas though. It’s quite relaxing now and then :)

  44. Great post Darren!!

  45. Hi

    True asking the reader (customer) what they would like to read about is sweet. A solid idea.

    For myself i’d like to hear your perspective on starting a blog today. What would you do specifically to get going in this highly saturated space?

    Thanks

    Tom

  46. I find Aweber is an invaluable tool for my business.

  47. I would like to ask one question: Is it possible to get ideas without aweber? Every one can not use aweber in starting. .Thanks for your help.

  48. The article gave me 60,000 more ideas :)

  49. I Generated ideas to write about on my blog by reading your blog.

  50. Writers block happens to me far more often than I’d like lately. This video was very innovative and I’ve already thought of several ways that this will help my blog. Since I write about the internet marketing niche, it’s often hard to come up with fresh content, but this has certainly exposed a new way to get the creative juices flowing. Thanks!

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