Writing

Skribit – Letting Readers Tell You What To Write

Ever have one of those days where you just don’t know what to write about? Thanks to a service called Skribit, that should no longer be an issue. Skribit allows for two way interaction between the blogger and the reader, allowing both to play a role in terms of which topics are written about.

Signing Up:

Signing up to the service is simple as well as free. In fact, Skribit is one of those services which allows you to sign up via your OpenID account. Once you signup, you’ll be taken to a page where you can add your blog name as well as the blog url. There is also a configurable option to allow anonymous suggestions. Anonymous suggestions simply means that those who do not have an account with Skribit will be able to suggest writing topics.

The next step is to configure your widget. This widget is what will provide the two way interaction. If you prefer not to use the widget, you can use either the badge presentation or a simple link. However, I highly suggest using the widget as it allows the interaction to take place right from your blog instead of having to browse to your specific Skribit page. The Widget supports integration with Blogger, TypePad and Self-Hosted WordPress blogs. Because of the limitations imposed on WordPress.com, this widget will not work their. However, WP.com bloggers can use the badge or link embed methods instead. For all other websites or publishing platforms Skribit provides a chunk of embeddable HTML code you can use to place the service on your site. Once you add the widget, badge, or embeddable code to your blog, you’ll want to click the verify button to let Skribit know that you have administration access to the site.

Adding Suggestions:

Once Skribit detects that the widget has been published on your blog, you’ll now have the ability to add suggestions in which your readers can vote upon. In order to add suggestions, you must click on the WHAT SHOULD I WRITE ABOUT LINK in the header section of the widget. This will activate a text area where you’ll have 100 characters in which to provide a suggestion. Once you click on the submission button, your suggestion will automatically appear in the list of topics to write about. Readers can then vote on these topics to give you a better feel for which ones are in higher demand.

The back end of Skribit provides an interface where you can view submitted suggestions, delete suggestions, edit the suggestion and link to the post. If you decide to write an article based on a user submitted topic, be sure to click on the Link button as this will notify the suggestion author that a post has been published on that topic.

The Skribit site itself is interesting in that, the front page displays the most popular topics in terms of votes, recently suggested topics and the most recently blogged topics. The recent topics area of the site functions like the Twitter timeline. Whenever a topic is suggested on your blog through the widget, it will show up on this page where members of the Skribit community can leave comments. You can’t vote on suggestions from the actual site. Instead, you need to visit the blog where the widget is located and cast your votes their.

Conclusion:

I’m amazed that I didn’t come across this service sooner. It provides another two way communication link between bloggers and their readers. Instead of the usual contact form or comment form to where readers would let blog authors know what they wanted them to write about, now you have a service which bridges this particular gap in communication. On top of that, you have the community that has been built around Skribit which can serve as topic inspiration. Using a service like this should eliminate writer’s block from happening ever again.

Your Thoughts:

If you are a Skribit user, please share your experience with the service with us. Has it helped you in your writing in terms of coming up with things to talk about? Has the service bridged the gap between yourself and your readers? Perhaps you don’t use Skribit but use a similar service? If so let us know about it.

Author: jeffc

3 thoughts on “Skribit – Letting Readers Tell You What To Write

  1. Hey Dave. Thanks for the comments! This issue was brought up in the Hive when we were talking about the service and your fears are right, there currently is no way to filter/moderate anonymous suggestions. However, here is the moderation queue idea on their get satisfaction page.

    http://getsatisfaction.com/skribit/topics/suggestions_moderation

    I’d sign up and vote the idea up. Personally, I think it should of been part of the services initial offering.

  2. Thanks for the link and overview. As I get more readers on my gaming blog, I’ll have to try this out. Also, I think it’s a good idea to write a blog post about it before putting it on your blog so that your reader know know what to do with the web app.

  3. Jeff,

    I have not used Skribit, but I did go through the process of setting up an account and trying it out. At the time I was only writing a blog for work and it wasn’t appropriate. Now that I am starting my own, I may consider adding it. Thanks for the great overview. In particular I wasn’t aware of the stream of ideas on the Skribit homepage.

    My one concern when I initially checked it out was if there was any inherent filtering available for offensive idea suggestions. I know you can delete ideas from your Skribit admin panel, but I was afraid that if I didn’t continually check either the admin panel or my blog, that someone might leave an idea that was patently offensive. Does that concern you and what are your thoughts on that?

    Again – thanks for the review.

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