Photo of poll numbers on a screen

4 Free Ways to Ask What Your Readers Want

Content which draws in prospects and turns them into leads is content which is user-centric. As all the social media experts and web 2.0 gurus remind us, it’s no longer about our company or our brand — it’s all about the end-user, our consumers, our target market. Which raises the question: how do you know what your end-users want? The simplest answer is: ask them. Here are four ways to gather feedback about what your readers want to see more of.

(1) POLLS
At the end of your newsletter or blog post, ask a simple question which will help you solidify your content’s direction. Questions can range from delivery format (how would you want this given to you in the future? PDF, RSS, HTML email, TEXT email ) to rating the quality of your current content (did you find this article useful?)

Polls provide a simple, easy, and quick way for an end-user to tell you if something’s working or not. After all, who doesn’t like clicking a radio button?

(2) RATINGS
Ever notice those thumbs up/down icons at the end of a blog post or forum message, or web article? Websites like Digg and Reddit utilize the same mechanism which allows users to say if something is useful or not. The trick is reminding readers that the rating scheme exists. (If you want more articles like this, give it a thumbs up!)

(3) SURVEYS
You always have the tried and tested free survey websites like Survey Monkey or Zoomerang to fall back on when you need a more comprehensive review from readers about your content. Just make sure you don’t bother them too often with 15-minute monster questionnaires that exhaust them — or you might see a drop in subscribers.

Take this opportunity to ask more detailed questions about your content’s length, quality and frequency with questions such as:

  • Do you feel the articles are: too long, too short, just right.
  • Would you rate this issue’s content as: excellent, good, average, poor.
  • Would you prefer these blog posts come out: once every two weeks, once a week, thrice a week, every day.

(4) COMMENTS
Comments are the lifeblood of blogs because they allow readers to react to the content and continue the conversation. Which is why it’s important to drive people to the comment box with open-ended questions at the end of your posts. Ask them doozies such as:

  • How would you …?
  • What do you think?

 

In conclusion, remember that if you want to drive user participation or simply create awareness for any of these feedback mechanisms, then provide an incentive. Freebies usually work wonders. Offer free prizes such as gift cards, branded merchandise, review copies, or simply a free demo in exchange for some comments, ratings, or survey answers.

Do you have other suggestions on how to discover what your readers want? Feel free to leave a comment below.

 

IMAGE CREDITS: Poll Numbers. Photo by Alex_Ford on Flickr.

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