For the first time in two years, we ran a listener / reader survey last month, asking you all for feedback. And we are so glad we did, because your answers have already been truly helpful!
A few people have asked if I’d share some of the results, along with my take on those results. While we don’t usually talk shop directly on the blog, occasionally I like the pull back the curtain to show you what’s going on behind the scenes.
(I’m also genuinely intrigued when other people give us a real glimpse into their businesses, so I thought you might be the same, too.)
No need for me to deep-dive into every survey question and their answers, but I’ll share a few whose results are meaningful in some way.
These first few questions have to do with how you use the internet and connect with us.
Q: Blog, podcast, or both?
While not-quite half of everyone here both reads the blog and listens to the podcast, roughly half does one but not the other.
This is fine with me — and one of the reasons I do both, I’d say. (And one of the reasons I plan to be the consistent voice here on the blog again.) Podcasting is so popular these days, there’s a trend with some people jumping ship completely over to audio. But you already know what I think — I have a good feeling blogging is coming back.
Q: Where do you most often find AoS posts to read?
These answers completely surprised me, in the best of ways.
I’ve long been wary of putting too many eggs in the social media basket, and get nervous when I see so many of my colleagues do this with wild abandon (how many blogs have been eclipsed by the owner’s Instagram feed?).
Not everyone on the internet is our audience here, of course; some people’s people really do spend most of their online time scrolling Instagram or Twitter. But you guys confirmed my suspicions with your answers here, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
By far, most readers stay connected with us through my weekly email or through a good ol’ fashioned feed reader (like Feedly). This second one is legit surprising to me! And such a fun reminder that there are still loyal outliers of the idea of subscribing to blogs (I also read my subscriptions near-daily in Feedly).
Q: Where do you most often find Simple podcast episodes to listen to?
Same with the podcast, and how most of you know when there’s a new episode.
Actually, the results skew heavily on you guys subscribing to the feed in a podcast player (like Overcast, or simply the native ones on your phones). This naturally makes me happy — personally, as a listener of several shows, it’s the only way I can keep up with new episode drops, too.
It also relieves some of the pressure I feel to constantly push new episodes on social media — I don’t do it nearly as much as I “feel” I should, and you’ve confirmed I should keep channeling my energy in reminding people to subscribe, which is what I prefer to do, anyway.
Q: Which social media do you use most?
These answers don’t surprise me, but they’re still interesting.
Just a few years ago, Facebook was IT for us, in terms of connecting with readers and listeners. That ship has long sailed, which is fine by me — Facebook legit gives me anxiety and stress, so I only check in there about once a week now, just to make sure things I own (the page, the group) haven’t burned down.
At this point, we just post on the page about new things we’ve published, and that’s it — and analytics are clear that almost none of our “fans” see it anyway (case in point: we have about 286,000 page fans, and our post linking to a new podcast episode two Tuesdays ago — our typical highest traffic day of the week — was seen by 4,003 people and got 94 ‘engagements’).
Instagram is my personal favorite as a user (followed by Twitter), but as a business owner, the platform still makes me nervous — because it’s owned by Facebook. I have strong feelings about not giving someone else, especially a huge monolith of a digital company with a sketchy track record, most of my eggs. I’ll keep them nested on my own site, thank you.
Oh, and if you said Instagram was your favorite, most of you also said you do watch Instagram Stories.
Which is fun — I like ‘em, too.
Q: Do you subscribe to my weekly email, 5 Quick Things?
Most of you said you do, which obviously makes me happy.
I imagine those of you who don’t subscribe to my email most likely read the blog through a feed reader and/or subscribe to the podcast in an app. And that’s all good!
I also share a few other things in that email I don’t share elsewhere — occasional meet-ups when I travel, book sales, etc., so if you don’t want to miss anything, get the email. I purposely make it crazy short-and-sweet, because my own inbox is insane and I don’t want to do that to other people.
Q: Are you one of Tsh’s patrons?
Most everyone isn’t.
And that’s okay — it’s still a new thing; I’ve only had it a few months, and it’s truly for the ride-or-dies who genuinely want to support our work financially. This is my group I go to first when I want to hash out an idea i’m mulling over, where we talk about global issues, and where people can connect with me more personally.
My dream situation? Is to have an active, engaged base of patrons who support our work enough that we can eliminate ads on both the blog and podcast. We’d create sub-communities there, based on location or interest, and we’d do in-person events and meet-ups (I’m a patron of people who do this brilliantly).
Our group is only about 8 months old, and I’m happy with how it’s going — fingers crossed we’ll get there. In fact, I don’t think I’ve even mentioned it on the blog, and now that I know there’s a sizable population here that doesn’t even listen to the podcast, I’ll be making some tweaks to make it more accessible.
Engaging with my patrons really is one of my favorite things I do in my work! I love, love, love creating the WRLD at Home, the patron-only show I do, and I love our regular Ask Me Anything live chats.
These next few results have to do with who you are.
Q: What’s your age group?
We really are all over the place here — and I love it!
Almost half of you are in your 30s, followed by almost a third in your 40s. Then there’s about 12 percent of you on either side, making us decidedly smack in that age of career building, raising kids, and figuring out the messy middle of life. Not surprising, since that’s generally what we talk about here.
I’ve noticed those of you in your 20s are more vocal and proactive in reaching out to me to ask for content shifted more to your demographic, and this makes me happy! It’s in the works.
Q: What’s your family situation?
Most of you here are married or engaged…
…and most of you have kids.
And if you do have kids, most of them are in that elementary-middle school age of 4-12ish. There’s also a sizable portion of you with little-littles, followed by teens and adult kids.
None of this surprises me!
Q: What’s your work situation?
Okay, I’m admittedly FLOORED by the answers here.
I honestly wasn’t aware most listeners and readers work full-time outside the home, so this is great to know! We’ll definitely keep this in mind as we create ideas for future posts and episodes.
A good number of you are full-time stay-at-home parents, followed by a healthy mix of “everything else.” I’m in that small-ish category of full-time working from home, so this is a good reminder to make sure and keep my blinders off, lest I forget most of you have a different work situation than me.
Q: Where do you live?
We didn’t actually ask this in the survey, because we already have data on that.
Most readers and listeners are in the U.S., followed by Canada, Australia, the U.K., New Zealand, South Africa, India, the Philippines, Germany, France, and the Netherlands.
As for podcast listeners, here’s which states have the highest amount of listeners:
Most listeners are in Texas and California, followed by Illinois, Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina.
To keep this from getting too long, I’ll save your answers for a separate post about content you love (and don’t love), what’s most on your mind, and what topics you like most from us. But those are interesting, too! And helpful. So helpful.
Y’all, I’m genuinely psyched about what we have for you down the road… We’ve got some creative ideas simmering on the back stove, and I think you’ll like them.
As always, I so appreciate you here! I don’t take this lightly… 12-plus years into creating an online space and writing books, and I’m constantly floored people care. So, thank you. It means so much.