How to Collect Valuable Feedback and Supercharge Your Content Idea Collection

In today's Letter, we'll share with you a little-known tactic for gathering feedback and content ideas from your most engaged and loyal readers on autopilot.

Welcome to edition #003 of the Busy to Leveraged Letters - where you get free, ready-to-use automation ideas for your digital business.
Read time: 5 minutes
Future time saved: 5+ hours/week

Hey - Mike and Daniel here!
In today's Letter, we'll share with you a little-known tactic for gathering feedback and content ideas from your most engaged and loyal readers on autopilot.
This workflow is ideal for newsletters. But even if you don't have one yet, you can also use it for other types of content like blog posts or podcast episodes.
Let's dive in!

How to create the best newsletter in your niche

The fastest-growing writers on the internet treat their writing as a startup…
  • Consistently testing new ideas on social platforms
  • Gathering feedback from the market (in the form of engagement)
  • Iterating and doubling down on their best ideas based on the data.
But as helpful as quantitative data can be, gathering qualitative insights is also key.
If you’re writing a newsletter and you’re optimizing for depth and resonance with your readers, looking at your click-through, and open rates might not paint the full picture.
In an ideal world, you’d be able to easily identify your most loyal and engaged readers, hop on a 10-minute Zoom call with each of them every week, and then they would tell you everything you need to know to write the absolute best newsletter in your niche.
But that’d be a bit hard to pull off, wouldn’t it?
So the question is: How can you collect quantitative feedback on your newsletters in a quick, easy, and frictionless way—both for you and your readers?
That’s what we’re going to share with you in today’s Letter.

A little-known tactic from a newsletter with 40,000+ subscribers

Over the past 18 months, I’ve helped run and operate Ship 30 for 30—a 7-figure, cohort-based digital writing course.
During this time, I’ve watched how Dickie and Cole (the founders of Ship 30) grew their email list from a couple thousand to 40,000+ subscribers.
One of the first things I helped them build and implement soon after they launched their Digital Writing Compass newsletter was a “rate this email” mechanism that they’d add to the footer of every issue.
When I first heard the idea, I didn’t think this addition would make much of a difference. But clearly, I was wrong…
notion image
Dickie and Cole only publish one new email per week. But every single day, they get dozens and dozens of ratings, suggestions, and feedback from their most engaged readers. And most of the time, readers will also share things they’re struggling with in their writing or topics they’d like Dickie and Cole to write about. This means that, on top of all the feedback, they’re constantly getting new content (and product) ideas as well.
The best part?
This is all happening on autopilot—I helped them build it and set it up once, and it’s been exponentially paying dividends (as their email list has grown) since then.
How good is that!?

The dead-simple system we use for gathering feedback and content ideas on autopilot

So now that you know how having a system like this can help you easily gather qualitative feedback and inspiration from your most engaged newsletter readers, let’s talk about how it works.
(Spoiler alert: it’s dead simple!)
Let’s say you want to give your newsletter readers 3 options to rate your emails:
  • 5 stars = Super helpful!
  • 3 stars = It was OK!
  • 1 star = Needs some work
And depending on their rating, you'd want to ask them one or two follow-up questions:
  • If they give you a 5-star rating, you’d ask them for a topic they’d like you to cover in an upcoming issue (since they clearly got value out of your email).
  • If they give a 3- or 1-star rating, you’d ask them for a piece of feedback or an improvement idea you could implement next week and for the topic they'd like you to cover in an upcoming issue (since there’s potentially something you could improve).
You’d first create a form with 5 questions (rating, future email idea, improvement idea, email address, and newsletter issue). After that, you’d create a special link for each “rating option.” (Don’t worry—we’ll give you a template you can use for the form, and we’ll teach you how to create your “special links,” too.)
Then, you’d add these 3 “special links” to the bottom of your next newsletter (or to the footer of your newsletter template) with a quick blurb prompting people to rate the email.
When someone clicks on one of your “special links,” the form will automatically “grab”...
  • Their email
  • Their rating
  • And the name of the subject line of the newsletter they’re rating
And in a matter of seconds, it will redirect them to your form.
There, they’ll be prompted to answer the correct follow-up question depending on their rating (the form template we're going to give already has this logic baked in, so you don't have to worry about it!).
After they submit it, their answers will go to a database or spreadsheet (you can use Notion, Airtable, Google Sheets, etc.), where all this data is safe and neatly organized.
Then every week, you can review the new answers, find potential upgrades you could make to your future issues, and get a better sense of the problems and outcomes your readers wish to solve and unlock (so you can create the most relevant content possible for them).

Ready to collect feedback and content ideas from your superfans—on autopilot?

We got you covered!
As usual, this edition of the Busy to Leveraged Letter comes with:
  • A free template of this system (so you can get the same results without having to build anything yourself)
  • And a checklist to help you “install” the template in ~10 minutes (so you don’t waste time “figuring things out”).
You’ll need to be on a desktop to be able to install your free copy of the template. If you’re reading from a mobile device, make sure to bookmark this email (or the link above) so you can come back to it later!
And if you need help or have questions, just comment below and let us know!