While this seems to be a great way to increase reader participation, I have to admit I haven’t used it much. I have used it a couple times – usually when more information was needed.
For example, once I wanted to approach the commenter about clarifying something they had called me out on – it was a misunderstanding and I wanted to clear things up. Another time I was making sure that a commenter saw my reply to them after they left me a rather scathing and harsh comment. (This turned into a guest post situation and a good relationship as a result.) Sometimes I’ll reach out via email to snag a commenter as a guest post or to ask about contributing to another project or something.
One of the things Darren specifically mentions in Day 5 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (affiliate link) is about reaching out to readers via email is to be sure to include a link back to your blog. Don’t assume the commenter will remember your web address or has it bookmarked.
In this lesson he discusses the pros and cons of commenting on the blog, or emailing the commenter directly. I tend to favor replying on the blog and then emailing the person directly if needed. This way you have the public record of your response (to add the content on your blog as well).
Do you prefer email or public comment? Do you leave a comment and then email your readers? The challenge today is to reach out to one of your readers via email – either to follow up on a question, collaborate, etc.