Last week, I locked myself away in our office and spent hours combing through the reader survey. Over 1,000 of you took the time out of your busy holiday season to provide me with feedback and I am so grateful to you. To be honest, I was a little nervous opening up the file. Since I’m technically my own boss, I don’t have performance reviews like I would have if I had a typical job. This felt like I was having a yearly review with over 1,000 bosses and I braced myself for the feedback.
Even though I’ve been doing this blogging thing for seven years now and I’ve built up a thick skin over the years, it can still be super scary to put out a form that basically says, “Tell me everything you like and don’t like about me and my business.” Yeah, it was a little nerve wracking. But knowing this amazing community, I was confident I would get constructive feedback that would help me shape the future of The DIY Playbook. And so many of you took the time to write thoughtful and heartfelt responses. Thank you for that. I really only got two or three blatantly negative/rude responses back to me (apparently someone out there is super offended by my eyebrows. Yikes, I had no idea they were so polarizing. Ha!). But 99.9% of the feedback was kind, constructive, and positive.
I actually wasn’t planning to do an entire blog post addressing the reader survey results, but after getting similar questions multiple times and requests for blog posts that I’ve already tackled, I figured this would be a good place to sum it all up!
Reader Survey Feedback – The Playbook Community
I always find it most fascinating to hear about YOU! How old are you? Where do you live? Do you have kids? I have these same questions in the reader survey year after year and it appears my audience is aging right along with me (which is pretty cool). Here are the stats.
- 55% age 30-39
- 79% married
- 60% have children
- 84% are homeowners
- 67% live in the suburbs
- 48% have recreated a playbook project (hell, yeah!)
- 68% have been reading for over two years
While I hope my content can appeal to everyone, it is nice knowing these stats about my readers.
Blog Topic Requests
You gave me so many blog post ideas and I immediately added them to my editorial calendar. Thank you for that. Your input helps me to create content you actually want to read! I did get some requests for some blog posts that I’ve actually covered in the past. I know some of you are newbies around here, so I figured I would share some of those specific topic requests…
- How to Make Time to DIY
- When to Hire Out vs. Do It Yourself
- How to Help a Friend Going Through Infertility (especially if you’re pregnant yourself)
- Money & Blogging: FAQs
- How I Make Money Blogging
- Photography Tips
- Tips for Decluttering your Home
- Tips to Stay Organized in a Small Space
- How to Reduce Paper Clutter
- Rug Buying 101
- How to Decorate a Rental
- Rental Decorating Mistakes
- How We Budgeted for our Renovation
- My Tips for Working from Home
If there is ever a topic that you remember reading on the blog and you want to find it again, I highly recommend the search bar on the site. I probably use it five times a day, myself (I’m always referencing old posts!). Just type a keyword in there and hopefully, it will come up for you!
Content You Want to See
Most of you love the mix of content the way it is now…big projects, little projects, and personal posts here and there. I don’t really plan to change that at all. I enjoy sharing just about everything with you guys and that’s not going to change. I’m just happy to hear you like it! If you had to pick a least favorite, it’s usually projects outside of my own home. I’ll still be keeping the Reader OMG feature because it’s fun to showcase other homes and styles (I have three awesome ones lined up to kick off the year). Plus, the Reader SOS series can be super helpful for others with similar design dilemmas. Other than that, I’ll probably just stick to sharing all things Finn Fixer Upper.
I got lots of requests for an updated “Day in the Life” post, so that is definitely happening before baby arrives and blows up my schedule. I think I’ll have Finn write one too because many of you were fascinated with how he juggles a full-time career and helping out on the blog. I was surprised by the amount of landscaping post requests! Personally, I always find those posts to be kinda boring…but if you want them, you’re gonna get them! I shared more in yesterday’s post about our 2020 home goals, but we do have plans to upgrade our landscaping (we pretty much have nothing right now) and I think it will be a good mix of DIY and hiring some out. Stay tuned for that.
Another fun post idea was showcasing some of the lesser-seen rooms in our Finn Fixer Upper. I think it would be cool to write how we’re making these rooms work for us while we wait to renovate them, and even share our long-term plans and visions for each space. That post is definitely hopping on the calendar!
Adding Finn to the Mix
You love Finn just as much as I do and that makes me incredibly happy! I shared all of your responses with him and let me just say, he now thinks he is a standup comedian (so many of you remarked at how funny and witty he is!). He has been such a support this past year, behind-the-scenes, and it’s been fun incorporating him more on Instagram stories and in blog posts. He won’t be posting regularly (the man is busy!), but when the topic aligns perfectly with his skill set, I will have him write a post!
Most notably, we’ll be adding a few of his recent buys to the monthly “Break Room” posts. The man is a shopping and fashion fanatic (for reals, his wardrobe is 10,000x better than mine) so maybe some of his purchases will be helpful as you shop for the guy in your life. Also, a number of you wanted him to do posts on cooking and finance. That will definitely be happening (especially with Frugal February quickly approaching). Oh, and stay tuned for some smoothie videos with our new Vitamix (he is obsessed with the thing…).
Sharing Bridget Updates
A few of you asked for some Bridget updates now and then, and I totally get it…you got to know her for six years and then she was just gone one day. You were invested in her home and her story. I would feel a little confused too. However, she left the blog to have a simpler and more private life and we need to respect that. Popping in with an updated home tour or stories about her family would be awesome and I totally understand why you would want that…but that won’t be happening. We are still best friends; we still see each other regularly; and we still talk all the time, but I’m respecting her desire not to have her family and life shared on the internet and I hope you can understand that.
How Much Baby Content?
I asked you how much baby content you wanted from me and this was probably my favorite response, “As much as you want, mama, you guys went through hell for this and if you want to post every day for all of eternity, you’ve more than earned it!” Cutest response ever!
I will say most of you said to share as much or as little as I want, and I really appreciated that. I will probably write one or two baby posts a month, so don’t worry…this will never be a mommy blog (there are plenty of other ones out there to read!). The content of this blog will first and foremost always be about home. But the most important part of any home is the people in it, so it would be weird if I didn’t share a bit about how our lives are going as a family of three.
As of now, my plan is to share some details on my baby registry (there were lots of requests for that), all things nursery (I mean, of course, that’s happening!), and my birth story (oh boy, bring on the gory details). Beyond that, I won’t be sharing monthly baby updates (I don’t want to bore you), but I will share how we’re adjusting to a family of three, how we’re modifying our home for baby, and more. My promise is to document the realities of parenthood and share the good and the bad. It will definitely be a new chapter in the Playbook and I’m ready for it!
What’s the Deal with Sponsored Posts?
Oh man, you had lots of questions about sponsored posts. A few of you asked if all the products I recommend are sponsored and how do you know if I really like something or if I’m just being paid to talk about it. If I’m ever doing a sponsored blog post, Instagram, or Instagram story it will be disclosed every.single.time. It’s the law!! You will always find a disclaimer at the top of the blog post stating who the partner is and disclosing that we’re working together on the content.
Now, with that being said, I only partner with brands that I use and love. So, if I’m sharing something in a sponsored post, it’s because that company or product has been thoroughly vetted by me and I really want you to know about it because it may improve your lives or homes. If I’m sharing another product and I don’t say that it’s sponsored, then it’s not sponsored. I’m just sharing it because I like it and think you will too. I hope that clears up any confusion!
As for the quantity of sponsored posts, I allow less than 20% of my content to be sponsored. That means that I have a set number of sponsored slots a year that I fill and if I get more requests than that, I don’t fill them. In fact, in 2019 I had fewer sponsored posts than in 2018. I will say that sponsored content wasn’t evenly spaced out through 2019 because of our home renovation. I only did one or two sponsored posts during the entire summer (hard to do home-related posts when you live with your mom!), so I did fill up my fall calendar with more sponsored content than normal. But in the end, it really was less overall. And this year, it will be evenly spaced throughout.
I know sponsored posts aren’t everyone’s jam, however, my main sponsors are ones that align so perfectly with my brand…Lowe’s Home Improvement and Crate and Barrel. Finn and I are naturally at Lowe’s at least a few times a week and teaming up with them is helping us to improve our home and share it with you every step of the way. Crate and Barrel was a new partner in 2019 and I’m so honored to continue our relationship into 2020. We’re at the age where we’re investing in quality furniture and pieces for our home that we’ll have for decades and their sustainably-made and high-quality products align beautifully with the items we already bring into our house (partnership or no partnership).
Teaming up with brands and companies I love allows me to continue to provide consistent quality content to you four days a week. I wouldn’t be able to do this job full-time without their support. If you want a behind-the-scenes view into how I make money blogging, this post outlines it well (although some of those percentages have changed since I first shared that post).
What’s Happening with Maternity Leave?
This community is the sweetest. So many of you urged me to take some time to be with baby and reassured me that you’re not going anywhere. Can I just say, “I love you!”? Finn and I still need to sit down and make a gameplan, but as of now, I’m planning to take off the entire month of May. I may try to prep some content ahead of time for June (just so it’s not too crazy jumping back in) and then take it from there. I adore this job and it gives me so much pride and excitement sharing our lives with you four days a week. It’s hard to say if I’ll be jonesing to dive back into work to feel like myself again or if I’ll want to have baby snuggles a bit longer. Either way, know that I’m eventually coming back!!
It’s hard because this isn’t a conventional job where I get a standard maternity leave. Of course, I’m so grateful for the flexibility this business provides me, but it’s difficult to 100% step back when I’m the only one running the ship. My plan is to give myself grace and see what happens.
Oh boy, this is getting way.too.wordy. Let me wrap this up by saying how grateful I am for each and every single one of you. Reading your kind comments made my break extra magical. I cried happy tears at your sweet words, I laughed at your funny remarks and jokes, and I exclaimed “amazing idea!” many times while reading through the reader survey. You are my people. You are my friends. Let’s have a kickass 2020 now, shall we?Casey