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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.

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Comments

  1. Mukesh says:

    I am going to try it very soon with my blog. I know that my readers definitely will have more information that I can think of. Thank you for giving me this idea.

    Regards,
    Team – Free Calls Hub

  2. I just started a blog of my own, and yours has given me a lot of great ideas. Keep up the good work!

  3. Brad Smith says:

    Very cool!
    I just added a survey to my email list after watching this. Now I just need to wait for the 6,000 ideas to roll in…

  4. Sye Wells says:

    Hi Darren,

    I found your blog via Yaro Starak. I am so thankful to now be connected to your content as well. I loved the informational video that you posted above.. as having enough topics to blog about is the key questions for every blogger. I appreciate the tips I received and learned. I look forward to coming back here again soon. Life is great! Sye- :)

  5. Sase Antic says:

    Useful info, Darren. Worth a bookmark.
    Going to implement it. ;)

  6. Lumber Trade says:

    Sometimes, I got ideas from my dreams. ha…

  7. Karl Foxley says:

    This is a great way to gather feedback, suggestions and even encourage collaboration.

    Great tips and even more encouragement for those that have yet to take the plunge and build an email subscriber list of readers (well, hopefully fans).

    Karl

  8. Great content Darren. You have a wealth of value on your blog and I look forward to reading more of your posts. Keeping new fresh ideas is so important on your blog.

  9. NicheQuest says:

    an easy way to come up with ideas is keyword research. Keyword research always reveals what your customers or readers are looking for. Find a relevant phrase and give your reader what they want.

  10. That’s a great post. It provides an insight into how bloggers should think and act. Thanks….

  11. 6000?? great content btw darren… keyword is the main thing.

  12. Oli HIlle says:

    Thanks. I still have plenty of ideas given that I only started my blog a few weeks ago but I am sure you are right – I will run out of ideas at some point.

    Thanks for the info!

    Oli

  13. yzen says:

    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!

  14. Jonny C. says:

    Haha, at first I was like 6,000 ideas??? So brilliant yet so simple! Surveys = ideas

    Well, that should keep you busy for awhile Darren!

  15. Great title for the blog post! Definitely got me intrigued. Very simple yet effective idea. Got any tips for how to get 6,000+ subscibers? Cheers.