A survey for the Web Strategist Blog

As a good example, I should take a dose of my own medicine.

One of the things I preach about is the objective of ’embracing’, which in essence is about companies and customers working together to design, create, and market new products and services. Lego, Microsoft, and certainly Dell are case studies of success.

I want to apply that same strategy to this blog (which I feel is as much yours as it is mine) to improve. About a month ago, I asked for some feedback in a blog post (it was a very scary thing to do), and got a flurry of responses, I read each one several times, and internalized many. Sadly, it was hard to find specific trends as some members wouldn’t echo what was already written, or would mention something different than others –it was hard for me to weigh.

I’m contemplating doing a formal survey for this blog, to get your input in a more organized fashion than raw blog comments. I want to understand who my readers are, and how I can do better.

So, Do you think this is a good idea? And what would you want to know from your other Web Strategy readers?

And by the way, you too as web strategists should elicit feedback both in real time as well as periodic surveys to your users, members, customers, and prospects. I know it’s often scary, as you’re afraid of what they will say, but in reality, it’s opportunity to be better, and learn how to improve.

17 Replies to “A survey for the Web Strategist Blog”

  1. I think this is a worthy project.

    I’d be interested in learning how many of them read the web via keyword alerts as well as or more frequently than subscribing to individual RSS feeds. Not sure how to ask that best in a survey.

    On a scale of one to ten (very congruent) how many people feel that their companies and/or clients have organizational structures and cultures that are fully congruent with the social media in their environment? (In Seth Godin’s words, not a “Meatball Sundae”)

    If you rated the above question 7 or lower please answer the following, “Who are the people you think are qualified to lead not only the social media conversation but also have the combination of education, experience with the executive suite and vision to engage the c-level and boardroom in a massive change management discussion that is necessary to create the new reality we all seek to create?” This would be text collection.

    I look forward to seeing the other questions! 🙂

  2. Jeremiah,

    I think understanding your audience is valuable to every writer, blogger or not. Go for it. You have a following that is passionate and loyal. They’ll participate and help you understand them better. Plus it will give us all (as I know you’ll share results) an understanding of where we lay in that landscape. Good insights can come from such knowledge.

    Alas, all thinks social are fluid. Knowing your audience in January of 2008 doesn’t mean you’ll know them in March of 2008. The anecdotal information you pick up daily is good to help steer, but revisiting the survey periodically helps put gas in the tank.

    My two cents.

  3. Thanks David

    It sounds like you’re suggesting the following questions:

    1) How do you find the Web Strategy blog

    2) How aligned is your orginziation to embrace social media?

    3) That’s a pretty detailed question, let me think that over. Do you mean ‘which roles?’

    I think the survey goals should be to find out about the web strategy blog, as well as the pain points the readers have.

  4. I just discovered your blog and placed the Web Strategy feed in Google Reader immediately. I’ve been getting updates for about two weeks. Your blog is a professional resource that draws from the best in interactive marketing strategies. One thing I’d like to know (and what I might ask readers of my blog) are:
    What type of posts capture your interest?
    What ideas, discussed on Web Strategy, have been most helpful in the work you do and how have you used them?

  5. Jeremiah,

    Survey would be valuable. I subscribe to your blog, but I also follow you on twitter. I tend to click over from Twitter more frequently or sooner than I actually getting around to reading feeds. Would you be curious how people access your content?

    The best source of how to improve information from subscribers that I have gotten so far is from email interviews with those that unsubscribe. Now, it isn’t perfect because I only get notices of unsubscribe from those subscribe via email .. but the information has been really valuable and helped make and contemplate some improvements.

    One of the things that I’m writing with is the publication frequency. Like you I’m a frequent publisher and I wonder whether I just to do one per day, not 2-5 … I suspect you may wonder about that too.

    But, perhaps the one solution is to create a feed of weekly summaries of posts .. but that is extra work unless the blog platform can do it.


  6. Jeremiah,

    I think your effort is worthwhile although not an easy one. Your blog togheter with Bokardo and Apophenia are the major source of information I use from the analysis point of view on social network. I go to Techcrunch just for news. Please keep im mind the international dimension in your survey.

  7. Here’s some basic categories I’ve come up with, any suggestions?

    1 About your challenges
    -Is your organization ready?
    -Where are you as far as implementation?
    -How many months/years has your company been implementing social media
    -What type of tools have you deployed?
    -How would you describe the reaction of your company to this change?
    -What are your biggest challenges (open)

    2 About you
    -Kind of work/industry
    -Do you use social media?
    -Open ended section

    3 About the web strategy blog
    -How do you rate the blog/share with others?
    -What needs to be improved
    -What would you like to see?
    -Open ended section

    4 Contact info (optional)

  8. I might go into more depth on the individuals level of social media understanding. A lot of your readers are probably experienced users, but many may not be. It might also be helpful to see what challenges people have in terms of their organization or clients. (CEO fear, inherent ignorance of social media throughout organization, legal issues, or one I’ve heard, “we don’t like our product enough to encourage people to talk about it.”)

  9. I fully agree with you that companies must work together with it’s customers to improve. But, a personal blog is a little different. In my oppinion a blogger should write what they think and feel, because this is what he can do best. Trying to please your audience is very risky. It is allways desireable to have a great number of followers, but for me it is more important that the blogger has a own opinion (thats the reason I am following you)
    So my recomendation would be: Just continue blogging, don’t bother (too much) what your reader want.

  10. Uwe

    Thanks, while I completely agree with everything you said. Many of the respondents here want to learn about other readers.

    I’m going to use this to primarily find about users, and so they can connect with each other.

    Does that change your mind?

  11. Aren’t there nuances in the type of personal blogs?

    1.) Personal: Reflects the personal interests and hobbies of the author without any professional associations or content related to the person’s job or industry.

    2.) Personal/Professional/Career: Not blogging under a company or organization’s log, but the author is writing about their industry or professional work.

    This “personal” blog reflects a professional area – web strategy – and good practice in web strategy is to some degree doing some research so you know your audience! Therefore, I think doing a survey can also model the type of learning that web strategists want and need to do – and can offer us some insights about how to go about this process using social media.

    Whew, that’s a tangent ..

    The order of categories/questions should change on the actual survey — don’t lead with challenges – first set of questions should be easy to answer. Reorder:

    1 About you
    2 About your challenges
    3 About the web strategy blog
    4 Contact info (optional)

    Now, in looking at the questions under “challenges” you are assuming that all your readers are people are employed by a for-profit “company” — Maybe I’m the orange in apple bushel but I’m a consultant and I work primarily with nonprofits. So, I’d probably have trouble answering the questions in that section, depending on the wording — or was it your intent to only get feedback from readers who are employed in corporations? That means doing some branching perhaps.

    * I’d like to see a nuanced scale for the readiness question. In fact, I’d like to read a post (you’ve probably written one) on the indicators for social media readiness. Since I work with nonprofits that don’t have a lot of resources, we spend a lot of time on the readiness issue – readiness in attitude, skill, and capacity.

    I fooled around with some indicators for blogging – but they’re maybe not perfect for social media

    It would be interesting to add a question in the challenges section about how they will measure their social media efforts?

    Here’s another idea .. have you thought of “open sourcing” your survey – so that a number of us could survey our readers and perhaps aggregate the data? I’m thinking about the bit in that edelman report about measuring influence and idea of trying to get some more data about social media consumers to spec out the technographics. but that’s maybe another survey, another project .. i must get back to work.

  12. Jeremiah,

    if I look to the outlined high level structure of your survey and to your original question “…the objective of ‘embracing’, which in essence is about companies and customers working together to design, create, and market new products and services…” there is a piece that’s missing: why companies should embrace the new social media approach? Are not they able to really get in touch with their clients in the initial stages of new products and services design? Are not they prepared to propagate, share and contextualize internally and to their development partner the potential rich client inputs? What type of communication and level of feedback they do maintain during the prototyping and testing stage? And once the product is launched how they really listen to their clients? I believe that’s fundamental to get the right level of info about in which are the critical stages of the new product or service development process where the companies are missing the most vital links to their clients. Once you get that right you can start figuring out how to best “embrace”…

  13. Beth, yes the survey will be open-sourced. I’m letting anyone provide feedback to how the questions will be shaped, and all answers (that the respondents allow) will be public.

    Of course, any questions that they wish to remain private, shall.

  14. In today’s technology driven world, shoppers are looking online for the products and services that they need. Businesses large and small must have a presence on the Internet if they are going to continue to grow in their market share.

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