At the end of May, we launched the 2014 Reader Survey. This is the first time we have done this exercise, and we have benefited enormously from your participation. Ultimately, we think it also benefits you, because it helps us improve our blog and our services.
We feel it is important to summarize and share our results. We also want to share the conclusions we have come to because of the data. A very large portion of you has completed the survey so far, and we are always interested in hearing your opinions and feedback.
If we summarized the results into a typical “reader profile,” it would look like this: Our typical reader is a male (66%) between the ages of 30–59 (66%). He has at least a college degree (75%) and household income of $70,000 or more (84%). He lives in the U.S. (76%), most likely in the southeastern part of the country (35%). He is not a current or former member of the military (68%), but does have a family member who is or has been a member (60%). If he doesn’t already hold an executive, or “C-Suite,” position (35%), he aspires to hold one in the future.
He is extremely committed to personal growth and reads two or more books a month (62%). He visits GeneralLeadership.com at least weekly (53%) and is especially interested in those related to the topic of leadership (76%)—probably because he serves in a leadership capacity. He also avails himself of other forms of learning, such as conferences (51%) and webinars (77%), and intends to pursue additional formal education (58%).
He is very active in social media, including Facebook (70%), LinkedIn (70%) and Twitter (88%). In fact, Twitter is probably how he found us in the first place (63%). He has a need for self-expression, as evidenced by the fact that he has a blog (50%) and posts to it at least once a week (34%). He also has a book idea (55%) that he hopes to write and get published.
This survey exercise helped us to establish a great baseline as to who our readers are and what appeals to the crowd. Even better, there was candid honesty in the responses, as all of the responses were anonymous: we can’t tell how any one person responded.
We also received more than 200 open-ended reader comments about how we could improve our blog. These were the most helpful part of the survey, as they directly lead to improvements to our offering and our connection with you: our readers.
Based on my readers’ comments, we have come to five overarching conclusions:
- The decision to pursue video and audio content was validated. Numerous readers requested more video and audio blogs, as a convenient way to consume our content. We also received requests for more interviews with established leaders. We will continue to include these in our menu of content areas. We are starting a new LeaderView interview series which will provide more insights along the lines requested by our readers. We will plan to expand these into audio and video interviews with shining stars in coming months.
- Our readers enjoy engaging with us via our radio show on SiriusXM Chan125. On the first Wednesday of each month, we interact with our readers via a 9pm EST nationally-broadcast radio segment. “Readers” have become “listeners,” joining us in the conversation via Twitter and direct calls during the broadcast. In short, we benefit from utilizing the entire spectrum of communications to access our readers, subscribers, listeners and viewers.
- Many people enjoy our email subscription mailings. This was important to us, as our biggest fear was that people would be turned off by what they might perceive as spam. To us, this was a risky proposition—as overburdening their email inbox was something we greatly feared. Happily, many respondents indicated that they enjoyed the content arriving in their email box—and if they didn’t, they had no problem unsubscribing (which is a relief).
- GeneralLeadership.com provides a bridge between cultures. Our readers expressed over and over again the value they receive by communicating with proven, command‑level military leaders. Our distinct avoidance of politics, coupled with an intentional focus on relevant leadership topics like integrity, emotional intelligence, change management and organizational strategy is what keeps our readers returning to us on a regular basis. Moreover, the credibility of our authors—proven leadership in challenging conditions—is very effective in establishing a relationship with our readers.
- Personal Experiences matter—and we will continue to use more of them. Participants mentioned that the real-life experiences of our authors brought a level of detail and richness to our engagement that they enjoyed. Some even mentioned they were skeptical of the military connection at first, but found the positive examples provided opportunities to see similarities between corporate and military situations. Some even expressed that the experiences they read about in our blogs inspired them to set challenging targets for themselves and their teams, and helped them find tools to dig-deeper to accomplish them. This content—this inspiration—was valuable in our readers places of work, places of worship and in their families…which is what great leadership is all about!
Several people asked to be notified via email whenever someone replies to one of their comments. Actually, you can do this now. You just have to register and login with Disqus, our commenting system. You can select this preference on your Disqus dashboard.
There were scores of other great ideas, and we are already working away on some of them. We are confident you are going to like the changes we have planned for the rest of 2014. Thanks to each of you who participated in the survey.
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