Just under 2 weeks ago I launched my 2013 Reader Survey. This is the first time I have done this exercise in such a direct and open way. Usually I would rely on anecdotal feedback or by asking a few questions.
But this has helped me a lot in getting to know more about my readers and what is important to them. I hope that it will help me to improve my focus and direction to serve you even more. I thought you might find it interesting to see the results and also what I have concluded.
Looking at the top response rates to build out my “reader profile,” it looks like this. My typical reader is a female (65%) between the ages of 45-54 (44%). She has a household income of $100,000 or more (61%). She lives in Canada (88%), actually in Ontario (88%) to be exact.
She is very committed to personal AND professional growth and uses a variety of media to do that, mostly PRINTED books (67%). She also relies quite heavily on blogs (55%) and is especially interested in posts on this blog related to the topic of personal branding (70%) closely followed by leadership (61%) and career (56%). Professionally she also uses numerous other forms of learning and development, especially webinars (70%) and conferences (55%).
She is active in social media, the greatest on LinkedIn (88%) and also on Facebook (73%) but much less so Twitter and Google+.
I also received a number of open-ended reader comments about how I could improve my blog. These were some of the most helpful parts of the survey and have helped give me some perspective and ideas for 2014.
Based on my readers’ comments, I have come to five conclusions:
- Include more real personal brand and personal leadership brand examples. A number of people were looking for examples and in some cases even ones where things did not work out as well as expected and the lessons learned. It's true we sometimes need the lessons of failure to be more successful.
- Do not emphasise one subject area or another. Most of my blog posts cover five basic subjects: personal brand, leadership, career, entrepreneurship and job search. I need to make sure that I am not getting stuck in one subject area, but do not want to pick a subject day each week (as some suggested) as it limits my ability to comment or react to certain events.
- More 21st century ways of doing things. Whilst technology is allowing us to do many new things, people are looking for differentiating ways of standing out and getting noticed. This is the idea behind my recent Career Hacking positioning so you will definitely see much more of this.
- Keep it short and grammatically clear. Not even sure if that sentence is grammatically clear! I know that a weakness I have is not taking enough time to check for spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Previously I will admit that many blog posts went out first draft. I have committed to changing that with several read-throughs, tighten the copy and spell check! Some people I know believe the posts should always be perfect, because it is professional and a reflection of my brand. I disagree and I am not going to get bent out of shape about it. If the value of the content makes the impact I desire and shift’s someone to think or do differently it has served its purpose. Part of my personal brand is imperfection and I celebrate it!
- Keep the brand PERSONAL. I do love sharing personal stories and examples. It makes it real and readers enjoy it. After all we are talking about personal branding. Far too many personal brand experts out there who leave the personal at the door and try to package someone like a can of soup or a bottle of shampoo – please!!!
Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey. If you did not get the chance you can still add a toonies worth at the Reader Survey.
Career Hacker Suggestion
Have you built up an understanding of the audience you are trying to influence? You may not be able to go the lengths of using a survey. But building up a clearer picture of those you need to reach can really help you advance and make stronger and deeper connections.
Question: What do you do to understand more about those you are trying to reach? You can leave a comment below.