If you really want to engage your readers, one of the best ways to do so is to invite them to join in conversation with you by using the Comment feature. This presents a great opportunity for you to get directly to what your audience are looking for and not just what you think they want to read about. It also gives them the chance to steer the conversation - but in a controlled enviornment.
There are some obvious questions:
What if the comments are negative?
You have the ability to moderate the comments and approve their content, although I would suggest this is a great opportunity to answer questions publicly as there is most likely more than one reader thinking the same thing - be it positive or negative. I would publish their comment and then insert a comment of your own with your response. The idea here is to be engaging and transparent, but not confrontational.
Who will return to the newsletter to see if there are any comments?
Most likely only those who have left comments but that is really not the point. The comments feature gives your readers a voice and a channel to converse with you. Some may just want to air their opinions but you will learn a great deal from their input. It is also a fantastic opportunity to identify possible content for upcoming newsletters.
And why not take it one step further - have a section in your newsletter dedicated to comments from previous issues or an article based around previous comments. That way, you are making editorial use of feedback and presenting yourself as transparent, honest and interesting.
What's the best way to use Comments?
Invite readers to make comments - tell them in the intro that their opinions are valuable to you and direct them to where they can voice their opinion.
Pose questions in your content to encourage a reaction/debate and have open ended statements.
Publish the comments and respond to them, no point in readers wasting their time, this is a two way street.
Reward comments, offer an incentive. Highlight the best comments and publish one in a “comment of the month” article in your next newsletter drawing attention to the person making the comment. We all want to be associated with good content.
If you would like to turn on the Comment feature in your newsletter, just drop a line to email@example.com and they will enable this function.
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