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How to Generate Post Ideas, Understand Your Readership and Build Community On Your Blog

This week was a busy one for me in the lead up to our big Christmas promotion over at Digital Photography School, that we will kick off later in the week.

But in the middle of it all, I did something on the spur of the moment that I will definitely be doing again.

I created a quick Facebook post asking readers if they had questions that they’d like to see us write about on dPS.

You can see the thread here.

Questions facebook dps

I didn’t really know how the invitation to submit questions would go – but as you can see, it had a great response.

There were a few benefits from doing it:

  1. it gave us some great ideas for upcoming posts for the blog
  2. it gave us insight into our readership’s needs, but also the level they are at with their photography
  3. it gave our readers a chance to engage with us on a different level (and with each other)
  4. it showed our readers that we are genuinely interested in helping them improve their photography, and that we base our posts on their needs
  5. it highlighted some of the old posts in our archives (you’ll see that where we’d already covered a topic I linked to the older posts). This drove a little traffic.

The response was great both in the Facebook thread itself, but also in a couple of private messages of thanks that I received from readers afterward.

One recurring theme from these responses was that readers felt like we’d gone to the effort of giving them some individual attention.

This is really important – with a growing blog, it is easy for readers to feel a bit lost in the crowd. It is also easy as a blogger to let your ‘readership’ become a ‘thing’ and it was a good reminder to me this week that our readership is actually a group of very diverse individuals.

PS: I also asked a similar question on the ProBlogger Facebook Page this week. If you’ve got a question you’d like addressed in an upcoming post on ProBlogger – please feel free to ask it.

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. That is really a smart way of getting post ideas. Most of us are busy using google keywords tool for less competitive keywords instead of focusing on what your readers want. Customer (readers) needs should be more important to bloggers than thinking of which post will be on 1st page of google.

  2. Thanks for the inspiration. Just asked my readers on Facebook to help with planning topics for next year. :)

  3. Melissa says:

    I have used this method several times and it has worked out nicely. Interesting to compare the content you have been producing to what people ask for.

  4. Thanks for the informative article. One of the most crucial steps in building website is building your blog community. A great way in building blog community is engaging with your customers. Thanks for the insightful information.

  5. Jane says:

    This is a great idea Darren. Having responses from our own readers and customers is gold. Since we will be delivering what they asked for, this will greatly improve the quality of the blog.

    Doing this quite often might not work out well. But asking readers can be one of the major sources of getting blog post ideas. Nice that you’ve got such a vibrant community.

  6. David says:

    Hi Darren,

    Just found your website while looking for articles related to better blogging techniques. I am new to the blogging and affiliate marketing arena and look forward to learning more from you. I didn’t really think of facebook as a way to engage customers and get ideas using facebook until I read your post. Keep those great ideas coming!

  7. Phuong Le says:

    I have to admit that kicking a lot of blogs really helped in order to create blog posts on my own. not only that I have more time right now, thoughts are coming to my mind more easily. When you donot read the same stuff over and over again it is way more easy to think about different things and coming up with own opinions.

  8. Aman says:

    I am really happy that my favo blogger shares his every secret .

  9. another new experience gain for attracting my visitors and such a great technique for readers and fans. Thank you sir

  10. Peyer says:

    That was the brilliant advice? Ask your readers?

  11. This is a great way to help a person get over writers block I have never figured out how to ask my readers in order to get a response but when I do its amazing.Its a wonderful way to blog ideas and if in those posts you give your readers credit for thier questions with an honorable mention they lovvvvvvve it.It makes them feel part of the team!

  12. Edson Hale says:

    If a post will be written with that much pre-writing interaction with the readers it is enough to speak how problem solving it will be. I am looking forward to your next post based on this survey.

  13. sameer says:

    Hi john,
    Building community with your audience is very important in blogging.And now days social media is best way to generate post ideas.by using social media you will get more intresting topic to write.thank you for sharing.

  14. Hey Darren,

    You are very brilliant. I have been running out of blog post ideas and I didn’t remember that I could use social platforms and social media sites for new blog post ideas.

    The reason why this is effective as well is that you would be writing articles which are targeted to your readers.

    Thanks for the idea. Will be trying it out right now.

  15. Erin says:

    Fresh new ideas every day here. So glad I check in often :)

  16. Jagan says:

    Hi

    I like very much the idea you had implemented to get newer blog post ideas.It is really helpful for everyone.It is easy to get information from people, what they actually want. Good Blog Post- i like it and want to use this idea for my future blog posts.

  17. I blog as if I am talking to an individual rather than a group of readers. I think this makes the tone of my blog more accessible, but it also means I do get sent a lot of questions via email and twitter.

    I am planning to ask my readers what they’d like to see next year. I did this as a survey in January but I might try a facebook shout-out as well.

  18. Nikhil says:

    Awesome read throughout the article.. Sometimes I find myself totally blocked to generate ideas. This one might be helpful for the same cases in the future.

  19. Annalyn says:

    It pays to know what your readers really want.

    It gives you the ideas what to post in the future. It will also help you determine what your audience wants.

    It gives you a new way to communicate with others and more importantly drives more traffic to your business. For a blogging business that grows it is really important to let your readers be the center of your goal.

    Thanks for this one.

    This is a really good reminder for all bloggers.

    Just found it being shared at Kingged.com.

  20. Drewry says:

    what a very interesting form of marketing this is. maybe I need to start posting direct questions on Facebook and see how people will respond.

  21. I intend to keep a community feeling going as long as possible. If for some reason my blog really took off and was making a decent profit, where I could afford to pay salaries, I would hire people specifically for a job like this. Keeping in touch with our readership.

    Glad you got a little nudge to remember :P

  22. This is a great idea Darren and I noticed the ideas on your page pouring in. I use the technique to post questions or ask for feedback.

    For people who do not have tons of fans, offering a giveaway in exchange also helps ;)

  23. metz says:

    Nice!

    Asking your friends on a social media website just like Facebook is a nice idea! You can gather different suggestions and think about it after choosing the best topic to throw.

    Smart share Daren! I do like it a lot and probably, bloggers will do the same! Thanks for this!

    I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the Internet marketing content aggregator site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

  24. Yennan says:

    Wow, this is exactly what I needed! I’m actually just about to start my own personal blog that I think has a very niche audience but it just happens to be something I’m passionate about. This is a very interesting approach to building it up and I’m definitely going to try it out.

  25. Praveen says:

    Great idea for fulfilling readers need and also gaining readers love with real time experiment , Thanks

    Darren for effective post !

  26. Hello Darren,
    Thanks for publishing this quality article for ll bloggers. One of the leading source of post ideas for me is newspaper. A daily newspaper help me a lot & it lets me to write unique articles every day. Also, the article created with the help of newspaper is also called a unique article. And now, I’ll try your tips also.
    Thanks Regards
    Shivani Sharma

  27. Karleen says:

    I have to agree with everyone. Using the social media sites, especially FB, to find our what your readers would like to see on your blog is a great way to get ideas for posts. It’s a great way to engage with your readers and come up with ideas when you hit that wall called “writer’s block”.

    Thanks, Darren, for pointing out something that probably should have been obvious but that some of us just hadn’t thought of!

  28. Denis B says:

    I agree with Karleen, FB gives you all information about anyone. That was so obvious. Thank you for pointing on it Darren.

  29. Valerie says:

    Thanks for the great idea, Darren. Will definitely implement this. It seems a good way to engage my fans, help build community and give my audience what they want. And it will certainly help with my writer’s block!

  30. Alexa says:

    Content is a king! I agree: if you din’t have good ideas for your blog posts, you’re useless.

  31. JR John says:

    Unfortunately for me, I don’t have a large Facebook fanpage (yet) – only 32 likes thus far. Facebook isn’t much of a mainstay in traffic, and I don’t expect hardly any responses, were I to post this on my page.

    I’ll give it a try, though. Thanks for the tip!

    Regards,
    JR John

  32. Akash Agarwal says:

    Daren this is amazing. It’s a great idea and different from all. I loved it. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Darren, great strategy – thanks for sharing.

    Here’s another great resource, the 2014 Blogger’s PowerPack – 100s of specially selected free guides, articles and top-tips for coming up with fresh, new blog post ideas. http://flip.it/mIx44

    Over 18,000 people have used it to date… but it’s now fully updated for 2014, so you’ll never get stuck for what to blog about again.

    Cheers,
    Robin.