Need Blog Content Ideas? Ask Your Readers!

Filed in Blogging, Featured by Matt McGee on June 22, 2011 2 Comments

ask-questionOver the last month or two, I’ve been writing an occasional series of posts offering different ways/places that you can find inspiration for new blog posts. In this, the final post of the series, let’s talk about the absolute easiest way to get new ideas: Just ask!

The Obvious Reason Why Asking Readers Is Smart

You’re writing for your readers’ benefit, right? So doesn’t it make sense to ask them once in a while what you should be writing about?

It does.

Think of it like a radio DJ taking listener requests — it’s smart business to give the people what they want.

There’s one caveat to this: If your blog is new and/or you don’t have a ton of readers, you’ll probably strike out if you start asking a non-existent audience what they want to read.

No Tips, Just Some Examples

No one needs a “5 Ways To Ask Your Readers for Blog Content Ideas,” right? You just do it. But let me share a couple examples of this in action.

Dr. Cynthia Bailey, Dermatologist

Dr. Bailey is a successful dermatologist in Northern California who started blogging in September 2009 and slowly built up a very solid audience. (Disclaimer: She’s also a client.) Here’s what happened:

  1. In early 2010, she started a feature called “Ask Dr. Bailey.” Her blog was about six months old at the time.
  2. After an initial burst, questions were few and far between. But Dr. Bailey persisted and wrote new posts based on reader questions whenever possible. (Lesson: The more you answer reader questions, the more questions you’ll get.)
  3. The “Ask Dr. Bailey” posts were put into their own blog category for readers to access more easily.
  4. The blog’s contact form was updated with specific messaging about using questions in blog posts, along with the necessary disclaimers that are inherent to the medical industry.
  5. A graphic was placed in the blog sidebar to let readers know that questions are accepted for possible use in “Ask Dr. Bailey” blog posts. (see below)


The results? It’s not very quantifiable, but I can report that the two most-commented posts on Dr. B’s blog are both from the “Ask Dr. Bailey” series. And that the series has become a fixture that doesn’t lack for new blog post ideas.

My Blog: Small Business Search Marketing

You may know that I also like to answer reader questions here on this blog. But unlike Dr. B, I don’t have a specific blog category — I put the posts into the SEO or Social Media or whatever category they fit.

Instead, I try to occasionally post a reminder that I’m interested in getting questions from readers. And like Dr. B, my contact form also mentions the Q&A opportunity.

Some of my favorite posts have come from questions sent in by readers:

Final Thought

Short and sweet: If you have an audience that reads your blog and are struggling for things to write about … ask them. Publish a post saying “What do you want me to write about?” and let your readers leave ideas in the comments. Or start a formal series like Dr. B, or just informally remind your readers every once in a while that you want to get their questions like I do on this blog.

Your readers are a great source of blog content ideas. Don’t forget to rely on them when you need inspiration.

(Stock image courtesy of Shutterstock.)

Comments (2)

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  1. I haven’t done it in some time, but I think you should answer questions from people who SHOULD be reading your blog. If I get a great question in an email that I think my readers would benefit from, I’ll answer the question in a post and then send the link to the person who asked the question. Similarly, if I get asked a great question in the grocery store, I’ll turn it into a blog post.

    • Matt McGee says:

      I’m with you on that, Geordie. I think when you really focus on building out a blog, you get in the habit of looking for content ideas in all kinds of places. Inspiration can strike anytime, anywhere.

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