I'm going to start this with THANK YOU. Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to fill out the reader survey! This blog has grown immensely in the last couple months and your feedback means the world to me. I wouldn't be able to do what I love everyday and share the projects and information on this blog that I do, if it wasn't for you! I didn't want to just say thank you and tell you I would do something with the feedback - that's just so vague. I've put together this infographic on the highlights and I want to talk to you about the big stuff and share some ideas that I will be using this information for.
AUDIENCE & DEMOGRAPHICS
I've got to be honest with you guys... This survey was SO necessary for me right now. I was feeling so lost about my direction with this blog and the content. I'm always producing work I like but I felt like I didn't know who you guys were. Everything felt so hit or miss and it was debilitating sometimes. Google Analytics said that over 50% of blog visitors were guys and my engagement on social media has been over 50% female. Talk about confusing?! I expected there to be a healthy balance here but with mixed signals things were going nowhere! So the first thing I noticed was that all of the survey respondents were FEMALE! While this doesn't mean a ton will change in respect to my work, it does give me a better focus on blogging.
Next I looked at the age ranges and found that most of you are right around my age. This wasn't very far off from what I expected and confirmed some of my current plans for Pommel Lane.
POSTING FREQUENCY ON THE BLOG
Another one of the things that really plagued me about blogging was consistency. I have constantly put the weight of the world on my shoulders thinking I needed to be posting 1-2 times a day at least 5 days a week since I don't work a full-time day job anymore. But guess what... I do! I just do it for myself instead of someone else. Yes, blogging is much easier to incorporate to my work schedule and is a huge part of my job but something about the pressure (I admittedly was self-inflicting) kept me from every getting ahead, feeling confident or feeling good about my presence here.
This little image sums up how I feel about posting for other bloggers and how you guys responded about the amount of posts I do here. The vast majority of you don't care how often I post as long as I'm bringing my A-game. I couldn't agree with you more! Quality was quickly followed by 1-3 posts a week which is right where I'm setting my expectations.
Lastly, the smallest group was 3-5 posts a week. I know that I just said I will be setting my expectations at 1-3 posts a week but my PLANNING will be for 3-5 posts a week. HUH?! What my goal is here is to give myself a freakin' break... The perfect posting will be somewhere between 2-4 days a week. I find myself stuck in a perpetual cycle of setting expectations for myself that are above and beyond what I can accomplish (or anyone could accomplish for that matter) and it leaves me defeated every time. I'm hoping that this will allow me to be a bit more lenient on myself while giving me the structure and opportunity to get ahead. That's what we all want, right?
So for now I'm thinking Monday, Wednesday and Friday but there may be additional posts from time to time that don't fall into this schedule. We'll see, ya know!
BLOG CONTENT - EXISTING & FUTURE
Content is such a big deal and a consistently talked about subject in blogging. Having good content. Coming up with new content. What constitutes original content?! The conversation has been had and had again. Really what I wanted to know here was what you guys enjoyed reading and seeing on the blog but also what you might desire to see more of.
This blog posts anything from cake recipes to hand-lettering to illustration, styling, client work and so much more. Needless to say, I am all over the board. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, there needed to be a focus - a rhyme and a reason behind the madness ya know. So I asked you guys to pick your favorite topics from the list of things I constantly, either post or worry about posting because-I-did-it-that-one-time-a-while-ago-do-you-remember?-I-should-probably-do-that-again-right? And low-and-behold... You guys love the posts that I enjoy writing the most! Go figure, right? Funny how they say that works and it does.
I knew you guys loved Backgrounds and Printables because, come on, FREE STUFF! but it made me really happy to know that you are interested in not just my work but me, the person behind the work. I am a bit of an oxymoron because I'm a severe introvert who loves to connect with people, a risk taker and a worry-wart on top of being an out-going goofball and a social hermit. All things that directly contrast with one another but describe a significant part of my being and personality.
I've got so many ideas within these 4 categories that I want to share but that doesn't mean I will be limiting Pommel Lane to just this. Even though individually things like DIYs, Recipes and Client Work didn't pull the largest numbers they all had consistent interest. I think they round me out personally as well as the focus of this blog. These topics will come and go throughout the posting schedule but now I don't have to be overwhelmed by self-inflicted expectations. And isn't that just the best thing ever? I think so!
The next goal I had was to find out what you guys thought about the subjects I HAVEN'T posted yet. There are lots of things on my radar that I wanted to create but never made it to the list of priorities and I wanted to gauge how much of that would be of value to you. Boy did you guys deliver...
That's right - 3 out of 5 topics received over 80% of the total vote. You guys made it very clear what you wanted to see and I'm so thankful. I can't wait to share with you guys the ins and outs of what I'm doing behind the scenes. Spoiler... it involves YouTube, new products and a big surprise you'll have to stick around to find out. Obviously if you are a Newsletter subscriber you'll be the first ones to know! You can sign up HERE.
CRITIQUES & FEEDBACK
Getting constructive criticism is essential to growing in life - both personally and professionally. No matter how hard we try, we'll never be perfect. Perfectionism is a subject all it's own and something I hope to share more on through this year. For now I'm just going to say that I was terrified of opening my self up to criticism. The last time I put out a reader survey was 3 years ago on a completely different blog and I received really horrible words from trolls and it tore me apart. I know it shouldn't but it did. It wasn't anything I hadn't thought of or told myself at one point in life or another but that didn't make it any easier to take. Those words didn't stop me from doing what I love and sharing parts of myself online. In present day it allowed me to prepare myself for the worst when I hit publish on this survey because I wanted to ask specifically for critiques.
I don't want to say that I was surprised by the response. It did make me wonder if asking for a specific critique over a general "comments" section made any difference. Both humbling and heartwarming, your responses told me that the vast majority really just wanted to know more about me, Hannah. How I got started, how I get inspired, how I accomplish my work, my perspective on things and really just more openness from me.
If you have been reading for a long time (at least 2 blog names ago) you'll know that I used to be very open around here. I'm an oversharer by nature. I think my biggest struggle this year has been finding my line - what to share and what not to share. This year held so many massive changes in my life from freelancing, a cross-country relocation and starting over. All of these were a result of a life chapter ending. My marriage ending. I haven't typed those words out before but I'm typing them here in a line that almost no one will read because it's a step. I'm working on opening up more this year. I'm working on sharing more this year. Really, I'm working on finding the boundaries and letting loose my crazy, goofy, shy and wonderful creativity inside them until I want to cross them and grow outside my comfort zone.
2015 will be a big year for me. 2015 is about self-care, doing what I love, managing life's necessities and finding happiness in the small moments along the way! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to share your feedback with me. It means the world. I want to say that I've poured over every response, every comment and every request and can't wait to start implementing them, creating them, and offering them.
It's going to be a really good year - I can't wait to share it with you!!
p.s. Congratulations to the winner of the Custom Print offered for filling out the survey - Kercia! I am sending you an email with details! I can't wait to get started!
Author: Hannah Reynolds
Lettering & Post Graphic: Pommel Lane