After blogging for 12 years, I’m still learning!

blogging

I recently surveyed my readers to see how I can improve my blogging. I learned a lot from the feedback, and maybe you will, too. Here are some highlights.

The newbies and old content

Although I’ve been blogging for more than a decade, 75 percent of my readers have followed the blog for less than three years. Of course this makes sense as my audience continues to grow and some of the early readers fade away, change jobs, etc.

One takeaway for me (and you) is that it might be time to re-visit some older themes in my blogging. Many things I wrote about three or four years ago are still relevant today. In the back of my mind, I am always pushing for new, new, new … but I would also be serving my audience well by resurrecting some key lessons from a few years ago.

More of this!

I asked a question “What would you like to see MORE OF in my blogging?”

Here are the main themes that emerged, with my commentary on the action I plan to take:

Case studies/real examples of marketing in action — I love providing this type of content. I’ve been inconsistent in this category and will focus on this more in the future.

Emerging trends — I think this is my sweet spot. Between The Marketing Companion podcast and this blog, emerging trends is my strongest subject.

My unique perspective/personal stories/thought leadership — It was rewarding to receive this feedback. When you get down to it, my unique perspective is the only thing that makes this blog different, so I’m glad you want more of it.

Focus on small and medium-sized businesses — I frankly struggle with this (who is the target audience?). I know I have many small businesses and solo shops following me, perhaps a holdover from when I was more narrowly focused on just social media. But the people who normally hire me come from bigger companies. By focusing broadly on trends and new ideas I hope I can provide something for everyone who is interested in the future of marketing.

Video content — I know, I know. I need to do more videos. That was a goal of mine for 2021. How many have I done? Zero. I’m working on it. It will happen!

Personal branding — I suppose this comes from the persistent popularity of my KNOWN book. There is still a lot of hunger for this topic and I’ll try to provide more content in this area.

Less of this …

I also asked people what they would like to see less of in my blogging. Most people didn’t know how to respond to this, so maybe it was a weird question. The two leading answers were:

Fewer guest blog posts. Some people find them less interesting. And of course, some people love them.

Less self-promotion. A few people complained that I’m frequently referring to one of my books in my posts. A valid point, although this probably comes from a place of enthusiasm more than self-promotion. I think what makes me different is that I deliver insights, not just information. And much of that insight comes from the research I do for my books. So it’s hard to separate that distinct value from the source. But I will try to do better.

Other insights

About 77 percent of my readers recommend this blog to others. I feel good about that!

It was disorienting to learn that some who responded to my blog survey do not subscribe to my blog. How could this happen?

I’ve been blogging every week for nearly 14 years. In that time, the underlying technology that delivers my blog has changed a few times as companies come and go. Long story short, I deliver my weekly blog posts through Feedblitz and an irregular newsletter is maintained on Constant Contact. Although we try to keep the lists clean and up to date, somehow these lists have found a way to diverge over time. Trying to figure it out. Unexpected.

I asked people to provide words that describe the Mark Schaefer “brand” and these were the most common words:

  • Honest
  • Expert
  • Human
  • Authentic
  • Trusted
  • Innovative
  • Thoughtful
  • Experienced
  • Bold

My favorite characterizations were:

  • Entertaining in a non-try hard way
  • Transcendent practicality
  • A cornerstone in marketing

Thanks to all of my readers who have supported me over the years and especially to those who helped me improve through the survey.

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is the author of several best-selling digital marketing books and is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Follow Mark on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.

Illustration: This is a photo I took in Paris many years ago.

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