Picking a niche for your blog is the easy part.
Figuring out the topic you want to write about is step one of your blogging journey – but how do you know if people actually want to read that article you just busted your butt on?
Well, most online marketers would tell you to start with keyword research – and they’d be right to.
But don’t worry, this isn’t another SEO/Keyword Research/Backlinking post flogging the same dead horse that they all do!
I mean, it’s pretty obvious, but checking what people are searching for is a damn good indicator of whether what you’re writing is in demand or not. I use Long Tail Pro for all of my keyword research by the way, and you should too.
But, it’s going to take you a while to start showing up on search engines, and so targeting specific keywords alone probably isn’t going to yield much reward at this point.
So, your blog traffic strategy is most likely going to be geared more towards social media and email marketing right now, right?
Unlike Google, there is no passive data to collect from email or social media that can provide metrics to indicate what your readers want to know about – and so, you’re going to have to start collecting that data yourself.
But how do you do that?!
Well, it’s actually much simpler than I made it seem with my talk of “data” and “metrics”, and if the sound of those words sent a shiver down your spine, fear not, this will be as easy as pie.
You see, to find out what your readers want to read about, all you need to do is ask them.What simpler way is there to find out what someone wants, than to just ask? Click To Tweet
However, while reaching out to each of your followers and subscribers one by one sounds nice, we both know that you’re way more efficient than that.
So, you need a way to ask everyone at once. Get everyone’s attention in one hit, and find out exactly what you need to know in one fell swoop.
Polls have the ability to allow your readers to anonymously tell you their opinion quickly and easily.
Facebook and Twitter both have built in poll options – but that limits you to one platform to gather information. Having your polls in different places is impractical, and means you’re going to have to combine the results to get an overall result.
If you have enough followers, using separate platforms may be useful to plan your social media posts, as people on Twitter may be more interested in different topics to what your followers on Facebook are interested in, for example.
But as far as writing posts for your blog goes, you should be looking to please your overall reading population, not just a social media sub-niche of followers.
To make this page, I simply created a new WordPress page, put a background on there and then used this plugin provided by OpinionStage.com to design and embed the form. (There are plenty of others available, take a look in the WordPress plugin directory)
I used the free version, which offers enough functionality for the purposes I needed it for, but it worked pretty well, so I may consider using the paid version in future.
The design of the form doesn’t have to be anything special. The purpose of it is to quickly gather an answer, and if it works for that purpose, then it’s perfect.
So, now you have your form, ready to rock n roll! Except… where is everyone?
Oh right, you still need to ask them to fill it out!
This works in the same way as you would promote anything on your blog. Any place you can promote your blog posts, you can promote this form page.
I went with social media and email, here’s what I put out there and why;
On social media (Twitter specifically above) I made simple posts that let people know about the poll. I angled it so that while it’s not a competition, and there’s nothing immediate for participants to gain from it; this will in fact help me write more relevant articles that will help them on their own blogging journeys in the future.
For my email blast, I had a similar approach, but made sure I also emphasized how quick and easy it would be for them to complete – here is the email word for word;
I need your help.
You see, this whole blogging thing doesn’t really work, if the information I’m giving you isn’t really what you want to read.
So, here’s your opportunity to have an input in what I write about.
It’s really simple, just head over here: http://blogtrafficbuilder.com/survey/ and click a button – nothing more, nothing less.
It’ll take you less than 5 seconds, and it’ll help me create content that you truly want to read about – after all, isn’t that why you’re on this list anyway?
So please, answer this short poll and I will be truly grateful for your help.
If you want to tell me directly or you have a specific question for me, just hit reply to this email!
Notice how polite I was too?
I also reached out at the end and said, if you want to speak to me directly, then here’s how. Not all of your readers are going to want to engage with you on that level, but some will, so it’s nice to give them the option.
Another great way to promote your poll is an even more obvious one – and that’s to write about it.
I’ve written this post to give you an idea on how to write content that your audience wants to read (and hopefully I’m providing you with some value) but at the same time, you’re now aware of my poll.
You would need to take a slightly different approach, and maybe write a post about the various topics you blog about and mention your poll a few times throughout the article – but be creative.
So far I’ve had 38 votes on my poll, and it’s starting to show a clear winner.
“Making Money From Blogging” is taking a lead, but it’s not over yet. I’m going to keep the poll up for at least another couple of weeks.
This will give more people the opportunity to answer it, and in the end, give me better results to base the future of my blog on.
You probably noticed already, but I also included the same poll in the sidebar of my blog. This increases its visibility to new users and people reading other articles.
That’s basically it! All you need to do to find out what people think is to ask them.
If you haven’t already filled out my poll, please do so here!
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