There are a couple of places or rather main groups where you are going to get feedback from your audience and readers.
The most focused one is from running your own surveys which will be strategized through you own email subscription list. Creating content based on audience/subscriber feedback from this method will usually be the most accurate.
But you can also gain much information through what could be considered more of a group type of activity base through Social Media, YouTube, and the wider bases like forums and blogs. Content (information) through groups like these is less personal because of their very nature, but they are starting point to get towards attracting people to the more personal ways of providing information.
Emails are the ideal structure through which to prompt surveys and questionnaires. There are an infinite number of ways to create a structure that is specifically designed to get exactly the kind of feedback you will require for all manner of creation of information based on the exact needs of what subscribers are telling you is blocking their progress. The beauty of email feedback is that it is a linear channel of communication between you and your subscriber and subscribers.
Whilst members of forums, Social Media and so on can get equally good information from you (from when you leave comments to posts etc.), they will always be prone to get distracted by everything else that’s going on from the activity going on in whichever place they’re in, like Facebook for example. That means that you cannot one hundred percent sure of holding their attention.
In other words, through email you have a captive audience, but elsewhere you do not.
There are two ways of looking at what I have just outlined and it could be argued that while you’re spending time creating and responding to feedback from replies to email surveys you’ve been sending, you’re not creating information on the more open sites where you can comment, leave information and… add you signature link so that even more people have the opportunity to subscribe.
This observation is something that you are going to have to deal with in terms of prioritizing your objects and time. You will eventually be able to outsource where you feel it necessary and appropriate, but if you’re in your early days, you will have to prioritize, as the experts before you had to do too.
You will quickly develop a sense of how this plays out as toy add more content, subscribe more people and conduct more surveys. Testing is always the key and will give you positive direction on how your need to move forwards and/or adjust part of your content.