As you may recall, we put out a survey last month asking how we can improve the WireSpring Blog. We've been publishing these articles for five years now, and we wanted to make sure the content matches what our readers are looking for. I'm quite pleased that over 130 of you decided to indulge me and took the time to fill out the poll. While that's a bit less than 1% of our reader base, keep in mind that most editable sites like Wikipedia and Youtube follow the "1% rule": roughly 1% of the participants create content, while the other 99% consume it. So our survey participation fit nicely into that model. The insights from the 130 completed surveys give us a great idea of the changes that we need to make to ensure the blog remains a useful and valuable tool in the future. I'd like to share a few of the more enlightening results below, and once again ask for your help to make your experience as a reader even better.
On leaving comments: Why don't people comment more often?
Lately, I've been trying to encourage people to comment more and start discussions around our articles. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, so I decided to ask why. Well, a few (about 6%) didn't know you can leave comments on any article, no matter how old or new. You can! And now you know. Whether you're visiting on the web, reading an RSS in a feed reader, or following this blog in an email, leaving a comment is just a click away.
Many of you (about 13%) said you don't like leaving a name or email address. While I can't remove the email field (it's an important anti-spam measure), the only thing we ever do with it is check to make sure the email is valid. It doesn't show up on the web anywhere, and we don't ever share, forward or otherwise make use of your address (unless you've asked me to write back to you, or something like that).
By and large, most of you said you are either too busy to comment (33%) or you think you don't have anything to add (25%). Obviously, commenting on a blog probably doesn't rank all that high on your to-do list, and I understand that. However, to thank everyone who does take the time to comment, we're going to be starting a new series of articles that focuses on the discussions taking place on older articles. There are tons of insights buried away in these article comments, and in the coming weeks and months we'll start digging them up, highlighting them, and maybe getting some added exposure for their authors as well. With 18,000+ readers each month, I know we can foster a lively community of experts (not including the one guy who wrote in that he didn't comment because he "has the intelligence of a stump").
On articles and topics: What kinds of articles do people want?
Case studies were the topic most requested by readers: 18% of you would like to see more. People are also interested in measurement techniques, shopper marketing, technology and content. Sadly, only 7.6% of you wanted more of my idle speculation, so I guess I should cut back on that a bit. Or at least keep it at its current level of stupidity :) A number of you even suggested possible topics, which I love. Two caught my eye: digital signage failures and advertising campaigns. I might have some trouble soliciting companies (or former companies) to provide insight into these things, but I'll definitely give it a shot.
Also, as I hinted at a few weeks ago, I want to expand this blog beyond what I can do alone, so I've been recruiting experts in content creation, advertising, management and network implementation. Thankfully, 92% of you felt that this was a good idea, so starting really soon, you'll see new posts from a growing list of savvy, experienced people. (If you're interested in writing original articles for publication here, and I haven't spoken to you about it yet, feel free to let me know.) While I was originally concerned that people were too accustomed to our once-a-week format, 39% of you said that "more articles is a good idea." Another 31% agreed with that, provided we could deliver all articles in a weekly email digest (which we're working on right now). Since less than 13% felt that more articles was a bad idea, we're going to slowly start increasing the frequency of publication. Probably by only another 1-2 articles per week right now, and we'll see how it works from there.
Surprisingly, most of you (75%) thought that the length of these posts was just fine, and a few (7.5%) even wanted to see longer articles. So while we may start introducing shorter articles on specific topics, my regular weekly post will probably remain in the same 800-1100 word range.
On things to improve: What else can we do better?
Finally, thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU! To all of the folks who left a comment on how we can improve the blog in the future. Most of the comments revolved around navigation and making the site look more "bloggy", tighter editing for our articles, and making the site more approachable for industry newbies. Rest assured that we're taking every single comment into account, and we'll start rolling out changes very shortly. Blogging is a skill that evolves over time and benefits greatly from reader feedback, so please let me know if we're moving in the right direction!
About those case studies: we're doing more of 'em, but we need your help! If you have a network (even if you're not our client) and you're interested in doing a case study, leave a comment below or contact me for details. Likewise, if you think you should be writing posts for this blog, feel free to drop your name in the hat as well!