Results of My 2009 Reader Survey

Recently, I conducted my 2009 Reader Survey. So far, I have had 856 people complete the full survey. Since I posted it, I had numerous people write, asking me to summarize the results.

reader filling out a survey form

If I boiled the survey results down into a “reader profile,” it would look like this. My average reader is a male between the ages of 31–50. He has at least a college degree and household income of $70,000 or more. He lives in the U.S., most likely in the southeastern part of the country. He is an active Christian, attending church at least once a week, and his faith is very important to him.

He is extremely committed to personal growth and is a heavy reader. He reads most of my blog posts and is especially interested in those related to the topic of leadership—probably because he serves in a leadership capacity in his local church. He also avails himself of other forms of learning, such as conferences and webinars, and intends to pursue additional formal education.

He is very active in social media, including Facebook and Twitter. He has a need for self-expression, as evidenced by the fact that he has a blog and posts to it at least once a week. He also has a book idea that he hopes to write and get published.

Now for the specifics:

  • Slightly more than half my readers are male, between the ages of 31–50. More than 70% have a college degree. Almost 25% have a graduate degree. Approximately 60% have household income of more than $70,000 per year. Nearly 35% have household income in excess of $100,000 per year.
  • Some 88% of my readers live in the United States. Canadians are the next largest group at 4%. In the U.S., the biggest block of my readers come from Tennessee (13.7%), Texas (9.6%), California (8.3%), and Florida (5.4%), and Georgia (3.6%). I have readers from every state except Delaware, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming.
  • Almost 92% of my readers are Christians: 34% of these classify themselves as non-denominational; 18% Baptist; and 12% other. The vast majority—82%—attend church at least once a week. Almost 90% of these say that their faith is very important to their overall life.
  • Exactly 53% are in some kind of leadership role in their church; 27% are on a church staff. My readers belong to churches of all different sizes; however, 39% attend larger churches with 1,000 members or more.
  • About 29% of my readers discovered my blog through a link on another blog or website; 26% came from a link on Twitter; 20% came from the recommendation of a friend.
  • Almost half of my readers have been reading my blog for more than 6 months. However, 24% have just discovered it in the last month. Nearly 40% say that they read every single blog post and another 45% read nearly every blog post.
  • My most popular subject categories are leadership (65%), books (61%), productivity (56%), communication (54%), and publishing (51%). My readers’ least favorite subject category is fitness (15%).
  • My readers are very much into personal growth. Almost 78% of my readers read two or more books a month. Some 53% read three or more books a month. Almost 67% subscribe to two or more magazines. More than half read ten or more blogs a week. Over 75% attended one conference last year; more than 50% attended two conferences last year. Almost 62% have participated in a “webinar,” and half intend to pursue additional, formal education.
  • When it comes to social media, my readers are also extremely active. More than 67% are active on Twitter and 78% are active on Facebook. More than 70% have a blog with some 40% posting one a week or more.
  • And—perhaps the most surprising to me—almost 70% of my readers have either written a book or intend to write a book.

I also got several, open-ended reader comments that were particularly helpful. For example, several of my readers said that the new layout was too busy. As a result, I simplified and streamlined the design. I have a few other modest but important changes in the works.

I intend to conduct this Reader Survey annually. It will play a big role in helping me provide better, more relevant content. Thanks to each of you who participated.

By the way, if you are a survey geek and want to see the specific responses to each question, including the reader comments, you may do so by clicking here. All the responses are anonymous; I can’t tell how any one person voted.

Question: What questions should I have asked but didn’t? What additional insights do you see in the data?
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