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The reader knows best, so let them talk to you

Noah Thornburgh
Posted by Noah Thornburgh on Jul 1, 2020 9:41:27 PM

Content writers have two tools to figure out if their work is satisfying readers: feedback and analytics. Both of these, we think, are lacking.

Email links in the footer that ask for feedback don't inspire enough readers, and comment section can turn into flame wars too easily.

To get effective feedback from readers, don't ask too much of them -- they already read the article! A tiny fraction of your readers will want to email you, a slightly larger margin may leave a comment, but most would be willing to click a button.

With metrics like the hollow 'view count' and 'bounce rate', the quality of the reader's experience is impossible to determine.

Reaction buttons tap into reader intuition, capitalizing on their immediate feelings before they click away.

This is surprisingly powerful. With metrics like the hollow 'view count' and 'bounce rate', the quality of the reader's experience is impossible to determine. So, it's tough to actually figure out what content to improve and how to go about it.

How does this work?

Let me give you an example from one of our clients. They were looking at typical metrics and saw positives across the board: consistent view view counts, low bounce rates, people reading the whole article. All well and good!

Then, they installed reaction buttons, and were shocked to see that 95% were reporting they weren't finding the information they were looking for.

Their old metrics were giving them the wrong impression. But, after installing our tool, the fix was easy. Readers even told the client what they were looking for in the text field after clicking the reaction button.

When the engine stalls, you take it to the mechanic; when your teeth hurt, you go to the dentist; when the readers complain, you edit.

You'd be hard pressed to find a process as simple as that in comparable analytics tools.

Topics: Content Experience