Feedback from My Reader Survey for 2021
Over my winter break, I spent hours combing through the reader survey. I heard from over 1,200 of you and I can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your busy holiday season to provide me with such wonderful feedback. To be honest, my heart kinda raced when I opened up the file to read the responses. It can be a tad terrifying asking over 1,200 of you to tell me areas where I could improve and I was, admittedly, nervous. But knowing this amazing community, I was confident that I would get constructive feedback to help me create 2021 blog content that you want to see and that’s exactly what I received! Thank you for being 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! Plus, I have a few areas where I need your help!
The Average Playbook Reader
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. Here are the stats.
- 57% 30-something (followed by the 40-something crowd at 14%)
- 80% married
- 65% have children
- 88% are homeowners
- 67% live in the suburbs
- 38% read the blog in the morning
- 86% have been reading for over one year (15% for 5-8 years!)
The DIY Playbook is a community for everyone, but these stats are really helpful for me as a content creator.
From the Archives
I did get some requests for some blog posts that I’ve actually covered in the past. I have over 2,000 blog posts from my almost eight years of blogging, so I feel like I’ve covered so many topics. I know some of you are newbies around here, so I figured I would share some of those specific topic requests…
- Tools Every Homeowner Should Own
- Our Go-To Power Tools
- How to Add Value to Your Home
- How to Install a Faucet
- My Best Shelf Decorating Tips
- Questions to Ask When Hiring a Contractor (Also, I’ve been having good luck with the app Thumbtack if you need a specific tradesperson. I hired an electrician using the app when we had a random outage and he ended up being great.)
- Tiling How-To Posts (I’ve covered a lot of tiling on the blog…floors, subway tile, backsplash, fireplace, and laundry room).
- Simple DIY Shelves
- How We Organize Baby & Toy Storage
- My 4th Trimester – Diving into Postpartum Life
- How to Replace Bathtub Caulk
- How to Make Time to DIY
- When to Hire Out vs. Do It Yourself
- Tips to Find your Design Style (This is actually a 4-part series that Bridget and I created quite a few years ago. It’s really fun and even includes “homework” to figure out how to nail down your style.)
- Save vs. Splurge (I did a Decorating 101 series a couple of years ago and have a post about each room, where to save and splurge, dos and don’ts, etc.)
- 6 Tips to Stay Organized in a Small Home (I lived in a small condo before this house, so I shared a lot of small living tips over the years.)
- 9 Beginner Woodworking Projects
- Tips to Style Your Dining Table (for Real Life)
A few of you also mentioned that you like my “From the Archives” series that I do on Instagram stories on Wednesdays, since I don’t have a new blog post that day. I’ll keep sharing those on Wednesdays so you can easily read old posts!
Also, the search bar is another fantastic tool and I’m happy that you use it too. One reader said, “I love being able to just search for something like “rugs” or “curtains” and see all your posts about buying them, placing them, etc…it’s like a go-to encyclopedia of home.” If you’re ever looking for a particular topic, I highly recommend typing it in that little search bar up top!
Another reader said, “Keep reminding us that content is on the blog…I love when information is found easily. It’s great how you set boundaries, and it’s a way to reply to inquiries to maintain sanity and manage time!”. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I’m always directing people to the blog because it’s where I explain projects in 2,000+ words, have tons of links, photos, and more. It can be hard for me to find the time to respond to the same source question over and over again on Instagram. Instead, I always encourage people to go to the blog post because that’s where you’ll find all the scoop!
Keep It Up
Now, onto a lot of the recurring themes that I found from your comments. Many of you requested that I keep on sharing my budgets for projects. I was blown away by the response from our kitchen renovation budget post and I heard that many of you appreciated the transparency. One reader wrote, “When you posted a real budget with real numbers for your kitchen renovation I nearly lost it! I’ve never seen another blogger be so transparent. Thank you!” I’ll definitely plan to continue to share final budget breakdowns for all of my projects, big and small.
Many of you also loved my mom’s downsizing series and requested more Jan! One reader said, “More about Janimal. She seems to be a wealth of knowledge.” Hahaha, she really is! We’ve been chatting about a few blog post ideas, so stay tuned for those this year (and let us know if there is something specific you want to read).
There were many Finn requests too. I added a couple of finance posts from him to the editorial calendar along with a few recipes and food prep. He is a busy guy, but I’ll steal him away when I can.
Rory’s drive-bys were by far the most popular topic to discuss. Ha! Everyone loves them (I mean, how could you not?!) and requested that we keep them up. If you don’t follow me regularly on Instagram stories, you may be scratching your head. Here’s what they are. Essentially, Finn will have Rory stop by my office in the morning and talk to me like she is my coworker. He started this randomly after she was born and I eventually started filming them because they’re so funny. (You can watch them all in this highlight here.) I’m not so sure how it will work once she is walking and talking, herself, but I’m sure he’ll come up with something entertaining. And it made her Boss Baby Halloween costume that much better!
As you saw from yesterday’s Home Goals 2021 post, I’ll be tackling the backyard, main bath, and main bedroom this year. I was actually surprised by how many of you requested outdoor content. Ask and you shall receive! Admittedly, I’m not the best at gardening, plants, lawn maintenance, and basically anything else that has to do with maintaining a backyard but I’m planning to learn and share with all of you.
2021 Blog Content You Want to See
Okay, here were some great ideas from you that I really want to incorporate into the editorial calendar this year.
Rental Content: I got a few requests for rental content and I’ve actually written quite a few blog posts about this in the past. (How to Decorate a Rental, 9 Tips to Get Your Rental Deposit Back, Design Mistakes When Decorating a Rental) I would love to do a Reader OMG! blog post highlighting a rental. If you have a cute rental space that you’ve spruced up, shoot me an email at [email protected] with the subject line “Reader OMG! Submission” along with lots of pictures.
DIY Toys: Someone asked if I’ll be doing a play kitchen, dollhouse, or other DIY toys for Rory. I love this idea so much! Rory is still a bit young, but maybe later this year? My friend, Bridget, DIY’ed this really cool workbench for her nephew if you want inspiration right now.
BIPOC Reader OMG!: Many of you said that you want to see a home from a member of the BIPOC community in the Reader OMG! home tour feature. Yes, yes, yes! I totally agree. I would LOVE that. Right now, I have two home tours lined up for this month and next and I’m looking to fill out the rest of the year. If you’re a BIPOC member, love your home, and want to be featured, shoot me an email at [email protected] with the subject line “Reader OMG! Submission” along with lots of pictures.
Reader SOS After: Whenever I post a Reader SOS, I’m often asked if the readers ever take my advice and makeover the space. A few have done so and have emailed me pictures. Yay! I’m planning to write a “Reader SOS: Where Are They Now?” blog post some time this year.
Facebook Group: One person mentioned that they really like it when bloggers have Facebook groups so their community can interact and chat. Admittedly, I’m not totally sure how that works. (I may have to join a few to see if it would work for me.) Is this something you would be interested in? I’m going to do some digging to see if it’s worthwhile.
Curated Product Round-Up: I thought this post idea was really creative…“A roundup of great “fill in the blank” (bath towels, shower curtains, vases, dishes, dish towels, sheets, etc). You have great taste, and when I am looking for new candles, for example, I’d love to be able to come to a blog post and see 12 options. You don’t need to go overboard and show 50 options, but your curated list would be so valuable!” Thoughts? I think these could be a lot of fun to put together.
Raising a Race-Conscious Child: We learned so much from the BLM movement over the summer and it really prompted us to discuss how we’ll be raising Rory as an anti-racist. I’m planning a post with some of the children’s books we’ve bought that we adore along with other resources.
Speaking Up for Social Justice
While I certainly received a few “stay in your lane” comments in the reader survey, for the most part, I received an overwhelming number of comments from readers who appreciated the fact that I haven’t glossed over the election, BLM, the craziness that happened at the Capitol last week, the importance of wearing a mask, and more. Someone said, “For every person that complains about your political posts earlier this year, there are those of us out here that respect you more for speaking out. Those that hate just yell the loudest.”
At the end of the day, I’m a human being and it feels so disingenuous to not discuss these huge movements that impact all of us. I also think staying silent leaves my character and integrity up for interpretation. While this blog will never be a political blog (or somewhere you go for the latest news), it will always be a blog written by a real human who has opinions and views of her own. I’ll be using my platform to speak out when necessary.
Creating a Community
When I started this blog almost eight years ago, it felt like I was just writing and my words were going into the unknown. (I mean, they pretty much were. There weren’t many readers in those early days. Ha!) Now, I truly feel like I’m writing to YOU. This is such a wonderful community of encouraging and supportive people. I learn so much from each of you and I love chatting with you over email, in the comments, in my DMs, and out in the “real world”, back when it used to be safe to do that! Many of you said that you really appreciated that I respond to messages because it doesn’t feel like a one-sided relationship. Interacting with this community takes time, but it is the highlight of my day and I enjoy connecting with each and every one of you.
A big thank you to everyone who filled out the reader survey. I nodded with enthusiasm at your ideas, I laughed out loud, I shed (happy) tears at your notes, and I really learned a lot about how to make this a better place for everyone in 2021. Thank you.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.