Saturday, 13 April 2013

Poll results - why people read my blog!

Over the last ten days I have been running a poll on my blog. I was keen to ascertain who read it, how they reached me, what they did (and didn't) like reading and how it could be improved. 
Almost 200 readers participated, and I am grateful to so many people for taking the time to contribute.
How do you reach / find my blog? There were quite a few interesting, and unexpected, findings. I originally thought the overwhelming majority of visitors would come via links on my other social media accounts, but not so. In total, 28% come to my blog via Facebook and Twitter, but the majority visit me through "my favourites" or via RSS, Politicus, Feedly, Google Reader or similar.  This is encouraging as it demonstrates that whilst friends and colleagues account for a good percentage of readers, they are not the majority, and I am building an audience from beyond my base of friends.
How often do you visit? 63% read daily or every couple of days with 21% clicking through when they see a link which interests them.  This is gratifying, but does show the importance of blogging at least once a day. I know how quickly I lose interest if I visit a blog and the same story appears for several days running.
I asked people why they read my blog.  The largest group by far (over 50%)  responded "I enjoy reading blogs and I find yours interesting".  Other reasons were "I am an activist from an Association where we don't have an agent and I value your campaigning and best practice advice" and 18% were "an activist from one of the Associations which employ you, and I am keen to see who you are  b*tching about" !   3% admitted to being on the Parliamentary List and keen to hear about the forthcoming selection contest. Only three respondents said "I see you regularly and I fear you will ask questions about what you blogged yesterday and sulk if I cannot reply."  I think I can safely guess those three respondents were Steve Browning, Jon Botten and Allan Sullivan ! 

There was a qualitative section for this question too, where respondents could write in their own reply, rather than simply ticking a box. This is always more interesting as people have free reign to say what they wish to say, rather than being funnelled into pre-selected answers.  Here are the qualitative comments:

I like Iain Dale's blog and am reading yours on his recommendation
4/13/2013 12:43 PM                 
floating voter interested in reading political blogs such as Iain Dale, Tim Montgomerie, Dan Hodges etc clicked onto yours whilst reading Iain Dale
4/12/2013 4:44 PM                 
former tory activist in kent and now retired to wester ross and joined ukip
4/12/2013 3:02 PM                 
It is witty, erudite, self deprecating and entertaining. I am also a Tory activist.
4/11/2013 12:07 PM                 
I'm a Tory who knew you in school and find your blog interesting.
4/11/2013 12:19 AM                 
I respect your work for the party immensely and look to tap into your experiences in work i am passionate about
4/10/2013 10:36 PM                 
General political interest and once resided in the TW area
4/7/2013 8:41 PM                 
I'm a former Conservative Party agent and laugh a lot at the honesty of your observations!
4/7/2013 8:37 AM                 
Honestly, because it is amusing.
4/6/2013 7:28 PM                 
I am tired of reading so much negative stuff on the coalition. I find your blog encouraging and positive - Thanks!
4/6/2013 7:21 PM                 
Insightful, well written and fun
4/6/2013 2:59 PM                 
You write well about interesting things
4/6/2013 1:14 PM                 
I am you're friend
4/6/2013 11:25 AM             
Your blog brightens up my day!
4/6/2013 12:22 AM         
I find your blog fun and amusing
4/6/2013 12:01 AM    
I find it interesting, often informative and very funny at times. Gives me other view poits which can only be good.
4/5/2013 11:31 PM  
You have amusing annocdotes
4/5/2013 11:15 PM  
A former Agent (now a Campaign Manager in a marginal Warwickshire seat) and see myself agreeing with much of what you have to say                                
4/5/2013 9:30 PM    
You just talk so much sense and are extremely funny
4/5/2013 8:07 PM    
I am a Liberal Democrat Cllr and enjoy reading about similar experiences :-)
4/5/2013 6:51 PM   
I am an antiquated Agent - as is my other half. We are retired but still like to know what's going on in the Party on the ground.
4/5/2013 6:28 PM       
I love your 'original' spelling
4/5/2013 5:35 PM     
You're the best agent in the party who keeps it real!
4/5/2013 5:30 PM    
I am a libertarian blogger monitoring interesting sites of statist parties.
4/5/2013 5:28 PM   
I am friends with you :)
4/5/2013 5:10 PM                

I then asked what would you like to read more (less) about on this blog.  Interestingly 85% want to read more about my life as an agent! This can be quite difficult as much of my job is routine and very repetitive and I do like to keep the blog fresh.  43% would like more about living on a narrow boat and 54% would like more campaign tips and best practice. Amusingly, 2 respondents wanted less about life as an agent and less about life on a narrow boat, which makes me wonder why they are reading my blog in the first place! More amusingly, both also ticked that they visit every day. Clearly there are two people out there who hate reading what I write, but do so every day; perhaps it's some form of new media self flagellation - a latter day version of those who try to read Proust.

Finally I asked "what could I do to improve the blog".  This question was qualitative, allowing people the space to write exactly what they thought, rather than funnelling their replies with pre-selected options. Always a danger (especially when anonymous) but I thought it was important if I wanted to read a honest assessment. Again, I am grateful to the many people who took the time and trouble to respond. I have printed all the answers below (exactly how they were posted) but have edited some to remove any possibility of identifying the respondent.

will read it again - note that the link from Iain Dale's blog didn't work. googled it.
4/13/2013 12:43 PM
keep doing it
4/12/2013 6:57 PM                            
very enjoyable read
4/12/2013 4:44 PM                             
too early to say
4/12/2013 3:02 PM                            
I think it is excellent and should be a benchmark for agents, activists and frankly just citizens in other areas. Keep up the good work.
4/11/2013 12:07 PM                 
I love your observational humour within the blogs Graham 'make em pay pay pay' !
4/10/2013 11:23 PM     
A spot more proofreading, or spell checking. Though I appreciate that you often dash something off at the end of a long day, and the thought of having to make it perfect might deter you writing anything. That would definitely be worse. So if the choice is regular but a bit rough around the edges, or perfect but once in a blue moon, stick to the current plan!
4/8/2013 8:59 PM                 
More parliamentary candidate gossip please.
4/8/2013 1:02 PM                 
Keep it as it is. Coming from a constituency where we can't afford an agent, your insights and tips are well worth a read, as well as being entertaining
4/7/2013 10:18 PM                 
It's just fine - I came to it via Iain Dale's recommendation and thanks for taking the trouble to post after a hard days work,
4/6/2013 7:21 PM                 
It's a good balance. If you just write about politics you'll go mad - keep the boating stuff!
4/6/2013 4:11 PM                 
More photos of what you write about.
4/6/2013 2:59 PM                 
Keep going
4/6/2013 1:14 PM                 
Keep doing what you are doing. You have a natural ability to write and to be funny.
4/6/2013 7:25 AM                 
Don't post on April the 1st !!!
4/6/2013 12:22 AM                
Keep up the good work
4/6/2013 12:01 AM                
No.....just don't stop!
4/5/2013 11:31 PM                 
Keep on going. Entertaining and informative.
4/5/2013 9:59 PM                 
Keep going as you are, and write about whatever you have on your mind at the time, even though I'd like to read more about a fellow Agent and how you do things in Kent, I also love people and enjoy reading your non political postings too - keep up the blog
4/5/2013 9:30 PM                
It is brilliant and a joy to read
4/5/2013 8:07 PM                
Always find it interesting
4/5/2013 6:51 PM                 
We are heartened to know that there are still a few "real" ie trained Agents around, and that there is some activity going on somewhere.
4/5/2013 6:28 PM                
Have more of a conscience.
4/5/2013 6:27 PM                
Keep it up. I enjoy your style of writing and feel much encouraged by it. Your tips on best practice are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
4/5/2013 6:02 PM                
Keep it up! It's a great insight into the weird and wonderful world of politics and its people. It's a great read, interesting, exceedingly funny at times. So please keep it going!
4/5/2013 5:40 PM                
Add a disclaimer that you don't represent the Conservatives and let rip with what you really think.
4/5/2013 5:28 PM                
Life and stories are everything - keep at it
4/5/2013 5:18 PM                
Fewer double spaces! :)
4/5/2013 5:18 PM                
Its a fantastic, unique blog. Keep up the good work!
4/5/2013 5:10 PM                

1 comment:

  1. "elf deprecating" < didn't realise you attracted elves to your site. :-)