Magazine writers assume you're reading their prose. TV producers assume you're watching the screen. Online, of course, we can know. And we can know quite a bit.
Page views tell what's popular, cookies help figure out who's unique, and the comments field gets us nuance from the brave, motivated (and few). Just look at how few comments most of our DigitalNext columns get -- especially mine. While the podcasting piece got a nice response, two topics I figured would generate a lot of interest (Packets and Brand Story) got zero. So, since I needed to know how far behind Armano, Steiger and Daitch I was in readership, I asked our editor for the hard numbers. But I didn't get much information to allow me to decipher anything to boost or shrink self-esteem or head size.
Tapping the dialogue loop tools
Customer or reader feedback isn't new. American Express has solicited feedback with its Comment Card for nearly a decade, Netflix helped mainstream basic one-to-five ratings, services like Fizzback help brands get instant feedback, and LinkedIn Q&A uses crowd sourcing for answers (yeah, that's different than feedback, but it harnesses similar tools). And there are many more. But if I were, um, a regular contributor to a digital trade blog, and I wanted to actually listen and use these tools to guide my postings to what's meaningful but still in my own voice, basic click-through rate and engagement stats are not enough to go on even if I got them.
Readers matter: You pick what I write about. So I'm back to the old-school basic survey and poll. It'll take about three minutes to answer three questions on some provocative topics I'm angling to write about but want your help in deciding which to tackle. That's right, you, the unwashed public, get to pick some upcoming entries. Several journalistic types have told me I'm an idiot, but I believe in customer participation even as we still guide brands.
So please fill out the very quick, entirely free, absolutely anonymous survey (classic direct says at least 2-3 CTAs, right?). And then if you don't like what you like, I will sleep better knowing the problem isn't between this chair and this computer.
Can't wait to see what you choose.