Kick up your writing!

How to find out what your readers want before you write

When I was a fresh face on Medium, I didn’t know what topics to write about. What people enjoyed reading. What I even wanted to achieve on Medium.

All I knew was, writing calmed me down.

And Medium was my perfect haven for unleashing all those years of negative thoughts, stress and hurt, that I’d hid away from the world.

So I wrote about myself — what I did. How I felt. With NO regards to my readers. And guess what?

I didn’t get much.

The sad stats of my early stories on Medium (September 2015).

Eventually as my voice grew stronger and stronger and my following count continued to climb, I started to care about my readers.

Which story did they like? Which story sparked an incredible insight? Which story touched their hearts? What other stories did they recommend?

These were questions that kept poking my head every time I opened a new draft.

It wasn’t until recently (3 months ago) when one of my inspiring posts received disappointing results.

A story I unlisted after 1 week (February 2017).

16,000+ fans, and only 161 read it?!

That was the last straw.

I finally decided to resolve my on-going crisis of never knowing what to write, by making a bold move.

I emailed my readers a survey.

Landing page of my survey | Google Forms
Some of my survey questions

In 2 days, I’d received 51 responses. More than I would’ve ever imagined.

And based on this open-ended question,

…I knew exactly what to write.

My readers wanted to hear stories where I’d spill out my emotions, my thoughts, my inner struggles with life, the things that’ve changed me after spending years living under someone’s shadow. Stories that’d make their skin tingle. Stories that’d make them rethink their lives.

These are stories nobody else could tell, but me. And I knew this was my strong suit that’d not only attract more readers to my blog, but to help me build a real following.

No longer would I be wasting time writing stuff no one bothers to click.

Photo Credit: Thought Catalog

Want to find out what YOUR readers want?

You need 3 things:

  • An email list
  • Survey
  • Newsletter service

1. Create an email list

There’re many platforms for collecting emails on Medium.

You can display a vivid email box on your post from…

Rabbut sign-up form sign-up form
    This requires you to offer a content upgrade (like ebooks, guides, checklists) for an email.

But if you prefer a link that jumps to a landing page, there’s…

I specifically chose these platforms, because they’re free. Well, unless you already have thousands of subscribers on Mailchimp and Mailerlite.

2. Create a survey

I used Google Forms to create my survey. It’s very simple and quick to set up.

  1. Create a Gmail account. If you have one already, skip to #2.
  2. Go to Google Forms. Or click the 9-square icon on the top bar of your inbox > Google Drive > New > More > Google Forms.
  3. Start adding questions.

Your questions should be straightforward, easy for the reader to answer (at least in the beginning), and fun!

Feel free to take a look at my survey for a good example. OR you can use some questions here:

  • How did you find out about my blog?
  • How often do you visit my blog?
  • How do you find out about new posts from my blog?
  • Where do you usually read my blog?
  • What was your 1st impression when you read my blog?
  • Which story is your favorite?
  • Which story is your least favorite?
  • Which country do you live in?
  • What do you do?
  • What do you want to read about when you’re on Medium?
  • What other blogs do you read?
  • What other social channels do you follow me on?
  • Do you write too?
  • What’s your blog URL?

When you’re done with your survey, hit save. Make sure you check “Edit after submit” so people can change their answers anytime.

 [kad_vimeo url=”″ ]

3. Find a newsletter service

I recommend these 3:

  • Mailchimp
    Send 12,000 email sends/mo for free if you have less than 2k subscribers.
Mailchimp newsletter
  • Mailerlite
    Send unlimited email sends/mo for free if you have less than 1k subscribers.
Mailerlite newsletter
  • Revue
    Send unlimited email sends/mo for free if you have less than 200 subscribers.
Revue newsletter

Don’t worry, they’re all free. You don’t start paying until you start getting your first few thousand subscribers. 🙂

Copy-paste your survey link to your newsletter. It’ll be under the eye icon called “preview.”

Then voilà, you’re all set!

Published by Tiffany

I’m fighting to rebuild my life by doing the things I never dreamed of doing. Now in Southeast Asia, writing my journey.


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