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How to Create More Content for Your Blog and Kill 2 Birds With 1 Stone

“Darren, do you have any tips for creating more content for my blog? I have grown my blog to become reasonably successful but as it grows find myself with more and more requests and questions from readers that take me away from writing content. What should I do?”—William

Hi William and thanks for the question. I do have one tip that comes to mind that I hope you find useful. It certainly helped me keep my inbox load light and create more content!

I certainly understand the pressure of managing a growing blog, and the demands that come with it. A few years ago, I would wake up in the morning to many reader questions and wonder how I’d ever get any actual posts written.

That was until I realized that the emails in my inbox were actually part of the answer—not the problem.

What I came to see was that many of the questions readers were asking me about the topics of my blog were things that others would be interested in hearing about also. If one person is asking a question, many others are probably thinking it.

I began to approach writing answers to emails differently, so that I could capture my responses and repurpose them as blog posts.

Of course I would normally take off the greeting at the start and farewell remarks at the end of the email—and I might change the opening paragraph to introduce the topic a little more. But I would write the bulk of the response in such a way that it could simply be copied and pasted into a blog post.

In doing so, I killed two birds with one stone:

  1. Individual readers were satisfied. Actually, they were ecstatic because they were getting such comprehensive answers.
  2. I was creating relevant and useful content simply by clearing my inbox!

The added bonus of this approach is that these posts were written in a much more personal style than normal. It’s amazing how writing something in response to a real person with a real problem or need (instead of covering a random topic for a nameless audience) changes your style of writing.

I hope that this approach is helpful for you. It took a little while for me to build it into my natural workflow, but once I began to think this way, I started to see more and more opportunities to do it. I’d estimate I added three to four posts to my output each week using this technique.

The other thing I’d add is that you can apply the same approach to answering questions from other sources.

For example, I often find myself doing the same thing as I answer questions in forums, on Twitter or Facebook, in the comments on my blog—even the questions I see other bloggers asking on their blogs. Pretty much anywhere you’re asked a question (or where you see someone asking a question) you can use this principle: answer it in such a way that you can repurpose the information for publication on your blog.

Hoping this has given some food for thought! Thanks for the question, William!

Darren

PS: Do you mind if I use this as a blog post?!?

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. Ray Higdon says:

    That is exactly how I come up with content for my blog too, either questions over the phone (yes, I still use that) or email questions, good stuff

    • I’ve got a green light from an accountant to allow me to interview him and post it in my blog.
      Thats kill 2 bird with one stone for me.

      Thanks for the post Darren !
      Happy New Year, Cheers :-)

    • santana says:

      I am a new bee to the blogging world. I have good knowledge on how call center works and trying to expand my blog. Would appreciate if you can have a look at my blog and suggest improvement.

  2. Vuong says:

    Thanks Darren for an useful suggestion! I my case, a newbie blogger, sometimes I feel tons of ideas come to my mind but many of them have ever written somewhere.

    Yeah, let write what reader care. Happy New Year, my idol :-).

  3. Great idea. I’m trying not to solidify my blog into one genre or niche, so I woke up with the question of how to organize my content. I think this gives me an excellent idea of looking into what questions others have, and how I can answer ones pertaining to what I’m trying to do. Great post!

  4. This is sort of like reverse engineering to get what you want from helping others. This is a very good approach and allows you to make blog posts more relevant as they are actually what people are asking. The only problem is people ask the same questions over and over.

    • Zahra Brown says:

      PublisherMedia 12/28/2010: “The only problem is people ask the same questions over and over.”

      Very true. You see it on forums all the time when people don’t use the Search function. However, it would still save time because the blog owner could just send a link to the response instead of answering again and again.

  5. This is an great idea Darren, and this something I have done before in the past which not only answer the readers question..but also I was able to build more content…catch 22

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  6. Robin Marks says:

    Great stuff I think that if you are solving peoples problems no matter whether is clearing your inbox or coming up with content yourself its always going to be awesome. At least with answer questions in you know that your tackling exactly what on the readers mind.

  7. Darren, great post! I often find that I can repurpose the comments I leave on others’ blogs. I tend to leave thoughtful, detailed comments, then look at them, and think “I need to share that!”

    Thanks for always providing such useful advice. Happy New Year to you!

  8. I’ve been doing that for a couple of years.
    It works very well.

    Mark

  9. Simple Dude says:

    This is a great idea. And I think you can flip this around for someone (like me) that doesn’t necessarily get a ton of emails as my blog has more of a lifestyle / humor theme and not so much an advice theme. I may try soliciting questions with the INTENTION of using them as blog content.

    Hopefully this doesn’t turn into a deluge of emails, putting me into the position you have found yourself in with more emails than time.

    Thanks for all the great tips!

  10. Kellen says:

    I can’t wait until I have this problem again! When I was writing about taking the CPA exam, I got a ton of questions, especially from my readers studying in other countries. Now that I’ve switched topics to personal finance and accounting, I don’t get so many questions.

  11. Tech Yegg says:

    Darren, you are right i used this technique in my small blog last months and guess what? i have got more and more requests from my visitors so i created lot of content with this way
    any way you are very smart and i love your blog
    keep us updated we appreciate that

  12. Hi Darren,,
    Thanks for the idea, it certainly has gave me an idea on how to bundle blogger FAQ and post back a comprehensive reply covering all angle.

    Cheers

  13. Pankaj Gupta says:

    I am too following this approach but in my case I am not getting emails. Good Post and must read for every new bloggers.

  14. Shannon Lewis says:

    This is a great idea. Am just getting started, so not so many emails. But also helps those like me when we might have questions to know where to look for answers (which many times are already out there in the posts). Also shows most productive way to ask questions where will get the answers needed.

  15. Damion says:

    I am a beginner in the world of blogging so this is one of those posts that is so obvious and profound at the same time for me. My head is turning circles because it is so simple: Write what readers want to read by writing about what they are asking about. Build major loyalty by sending a direct, comprehensive response to the original request. I am having one of those “duh” moments. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

  16. tug says:

    definitely agree with you on this one darren.

    i’ve been doing my “ask tug” series for about 2.5 years now and due to the number of reader questions i get, it seems to be one of the most active categories on my blog. i’ve also found that several of the posts i’ve written in this category have become the most popular on my site – one of which as received around 100k views.

    whenever i formulate an answer, I’m always doing it with the intention of using the question/answer as a blog article, even if i decide not to later. i usually copy myself on the email back to the reader as well so the topic stays in my inbox so i can keep it in mind as a future topic.

    hope this helps!

    best,
    tug

  17. Maaike Quinn says:

    Nice post, thanks! I’ve just started my blog, so I don’t receive a ton of questions (yet, I hope!) but this is a good way to write posts indeed!

  18. rob place says:

    absolutely. When I write guest posts, traffic spikes significantly. Unless I do a significant amount of promotion, my own posts do much much less.

  19. Nice article Darren,

    Another method I use is to look at my sites’ stats and see what search terms are bringing people into the blog.

    I then write further content related to that search term, linking internally to other blog posts, to furhter reinforce my position in the SE’s.

    • Simon Duck says:

      Some great advice. I need to do this, I have once term in a post which brings in a lot of people, but the post doesn’t actually tell the user anything about what they have actually searched due to the post using the term, but in a different matter. I need to go back and make a post about this subject which will keep the people coming around.

  20. I must say I quite like this idea and will use it from now on. I may actually take it to the next level by turning answers into videos.

    Thanks Darren for sharing this great idea.

    Krizia

  21. Brian Welch says:

    That’s a great idea, I have done this a little in the past when I have either run dry on ideas or wasn’t motivated to write about any of the ideas in my “idea box”. For some reason, answering an email to a reader forced me to think about and respond to a question even if I wasn’t motivated to write about that particular topic right then and there.

  22. Rachelle says:

    I do this already, I even had a ask a question tab for a while. This worked great but then I changed things around and had to remove it. I might try to put it back for a while.

    People call me all the time and I do use their questions/concerns in my blog.

    I’ve been working in my field for a long time and there are a lot of skills I’ve learned a long time ago that I take for granted. Getting questions reminds me to get back to basics.

  23. Rose says:

    Work of gurus. It’s useful tips. Neophyte like can’t just imagine if that happens to me one day. I might as well resign to my computer set. But your tips will really work. Thanks.

  24. dee oneal says:

    I will surely apply this to my new set up blog. I’ve always like visiting your blog as I find lots of useful articles that could help me to improve my blog. Thanks for sharing and hopefully you’ll do more.

  25. I recently started doing this as a newsletter. I get a ton of questions via email that take me ages to respond to because I’m busy with paying clients or writing posts for the blog. I do what you said and “kill two birds with one stone” by using those questions to help build my mailing list. They’re questions readers obviously have but I save the content for those who sign up to get them. This way I can justify the time spent answering said questions and, while I give the advice away for free, I get something out of it as I grow my list. Win-win-win!!

  26. Dean Saliba says:

    Very spooky as I was just thinking about doing a weekly question and answer post on my blog. Maybe I’ll scrap that and just write separate posts answering their questions :)

  27. Marcus Baker says:

    Hi Darren,

    Great post and idea. I do this too and because many of the same questions come up again and again, when you have written a post about a certain topic you can always refer people to that post rather than needing to answer each question again personally. This has saved me a lot of time.

    ~Marcus

  28. Krissy Brady says:

    Great idea Darren! While my blog is very new (not even a month old yet), I look forward to the day where I have enough traffic to be able to turn my correspondance into content for my readers. And it’s true–when you’re writing someone back and personally answering their question, it makes your writing that much easier to connect to, rather than a blog post that you’re writing to a wide audience. Ingenious technique!

  29. Davida says:

    Thanks for sharing Darren

    I run a Question and Answer forum from my site, and I try to do the same as you’ve mentioned above. Just like another commenter made earlier on this blog post, I also reuse my comments (edited) on other people’s blogs as tips in my Ezine.

  30. Wasim says:

    Perfect, this will also save time, as you answer to your email questions, you also have an article for that day ready made.
    Great Idea

  31. That is so a great tip! I will implement it for sure!

  32. Willie says:

    I usually turn to youtube to draw some ideas for fresh content. However, I do like your concept. Will implement.

  33. Omo Naija says:

    This Idea seem so simple but i can already see the power of it. I am launching my blog in January so i probably wont have Williams problem as of yet, but it will definitely help to imbibe this practice earlier on.
    Thanks Darren

  34. I have done the same thing for a the last couple of years. When I get an email question, I often create a tutorial post to answer it. Next time it comes up, I have a place to point people. :)

  35. I love how you did exactly what you were writing about in the post with the post. Clever.

    It is amazing how the best answers are sometimes staring us right in the face. You just need to be able to stand back and look at it to see the solution.

  36. Mary says:

    I try to spend 15 minutes/day answering questions on the Google Blogger help forum (it’s insurance: having a reputation for answering questions makes other helpers more likely to help me when I ask a question.).

    It took me a while to see that many of the answers to the more interesting questions would make popular posts, because people were asking in the forum after not being able to find the answer anywhere else. When I realised, I went back and copied the good ones into a private blog where I store possible future posts: today it has 164 entries in it.

    Now, my biggest challenge is deciding which of these to work on next, (they need to be taken from terse forum answers into a full-blown posts that make sense without any of the rest of the question thread in them.).

  37. Roberto says:

    Nice one. I’ll start looking into my past email replies to see what I can use.

  38. Barbara says:

    What a great way of turning something that was looked at as a problem, but was really the answer to write more blogs! Turning a negative into a positive – so simple, but with massive effects. Brilliant idea!

  39. Hi, very nice post. Looks like this trick is widely used. I do so since a couple of week and will continue.

    Some of the questions come from my participation to Google groups…

    Best wishes to all of you.

    Camille

  40. Mel Menzies says:

    With the permission of people who’ve been in touch with me, asking for help, I’ve created whole series of blogs. I’ve used their names and their websites and their expertise to highlight their needs, and it’s worked really well.

    I now find that I’m being asked to write guest blogs on other websites, and I have agencies requesting placement of paid ads within the content of some of my posts. Recently – while I was visiting USA and not accessing my website at all – one of my blog posts went viral. I can’t tell you how gratifying that was! And it all began with Problogger teaching me how to blog. Thanks Darren ;)

  41. Noynoy says:

    Hi Darren and Hi to all readers here. I’m a newbie in blogging. My oldest blog is just about one-year-old. This blog has already been receiving questions from my readers. The good thing about the questions is that it gave me an idea on what to post.

    For instance, I was blogging about travel in Cebu and Davao, two of the great cities in the Philippines, and one reader came upon to ask how to get to Cebu from Davao by land transportation. So it gave me already a title: “How to reach Cebu from Davao by Land.”

    So question from readers really help me for writing content; but if the topic is out of the niche, I guess you have to answer their questions through emails as what Darren have said. You can also reply to their questions through email and posts at the same time, like what Darren did through this post.

  42. At the end of the day, solving people’s problems with blogging or marketing is what the big picture is all about. If you are lucky enough (like Darren) to get people emailing you questions that you can use as content later then you’ll be successful in no time.

    I always love your perspective on things Darren.

    Have a great day!

  43. Yes! This is something I stumbled over too, and I do it with comments too. Although I will acknowledge and give a short answer in a comment (my blog following is small enough still that I can do that–not like certain BIGGIES ;) ) when someone asks a question, I often turn those into full posts and refer back to the original post and comment. Interactions with others triggers lots of post ideas when you’re LISTENING. :)

  44. Rahul Singh says:

    This is so common sense. I wonder why did it not strike me before!
    Thanks Darren.

  45. Thats a really nice idea. A beautiful way to interlink your blog for SEO purposes by writing about previous posts and a way to get original content ideas. This is why i love ProBlogger! Guest post coming up on here on the 8th of Jan can’t wait!

  46. Jagan Mangat says:

    Idea is amazing and really it works.And one of the best thing dreen do is answering as many people as he can in an efficient way.

  47. John McNally says:

    This is a great idea Darren, thanks. 8)

    I haven’t had that many questions but next time I do I will answer with a blog post in mind. As you said, I can then give a really in depth reply, and kill two birds with one stone.

    I shall also be looking out for common questions on forums that I may be able to answer. I haven’t experienced any problems running out of post topics, and with this idea I never will. :lol:

    John

  48. Carlos says:

    Interesting approach Darren. Thanks for sharing this tip with us.

  49. I like when questions are asked on blogs because it expands the topic further and you will get more ideas for writing your next blog post.

    Lawrence Bergfeld

  50. Bogdan says:

    In my opinion, you can have new excelent content every day, but if you dont have good traffic, is difficult to write.