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This week I ask you to please answer 10 quick questions in my year-end reader survey, and I cover the top trends of 2010 as I go.

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What a year this has been in the digital marketing world. From the continued surge of Facebook and the movie surrounding it, to the launch of the fastest selling consumer electronics product of all time — the iPad — and the disruption surrounding that, it’s been a fascinating year for digital media.

I’m going to ask you a favor. Before you read the rest of this post, please answer 10 simple questions about the show and this blog. Whether you’re a longtime fan, or this is the very first episode to grace your eyes or ears, it’s invaluable for me to get feedback on the direction of the program.

Please click here to take the short, 10-question Hopkinson Report 2010 Survey.

Bonus! One reader will win a Hopkinson Report t-shirt!

I am to do two things with this show…
#1 is to entertain and #2 is to inform.

Those go hand-in-hand. If I keep your attention and make you laugh but you get no value, that doesn’t work.
If I give some helpful hints but bore you to death, you’re not going to stick around either.

Quick example:
Q: Why should you do a survey, how do you create one, and how much does it cost?

A: You should put together a survey to make sure you’re continually serving the customer. It doesn’t matter if you’re a major retail business, a publisher, a podcaster, or even a small-time blogger. You want to make sure your customers and readers are happy, and the best way to know that is to ask them.  Things change over time, trends evolve, and you want to make sure you’re still on track.

How do you stay in touch with readers? Simple. You use monkeys. C’mon, everyone loves monkeys.

There was a popular  band and TV show called The Monkees, there was a successful toy called Barrel of Monkeys, there are a lot of funny viral videos involving monkeys, Wired has a great website called Webmonkey.com, and let’s face it, it’s fun to say. Monkey. Monkey. Monkey. My old band even had a song called Monkey Butt.

So how do you use monkeys? If you want to build out a powerful newsletter and email list, one service you can use is Mail Chimp. And if you want to do reader surveys, you can use Survey Monkey.

Survey Monkey lets you easily create an unlimited number of 10 question survey for free. If you need to do more questions or have more powerful features, you can upgrade for a monthly fee. For now, I’m very happy with the free version. While I wanted to add a few more questions, the limit of 10 was actually good to make me focus on the most important items and not make it too long to get through.

So there you go. Entertaining and informative.

Another quick tip. To make a url easy to remember, go to TinyUrl.com or another url shortener, and it will let you customize it.

So the full link to the survey is: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X72XTSC
Using tinyurl, I shortened it to: http://tinyurl.com/thrsurvey

OK, here are the questions I’m asking you to answer, and I’m going to give you a rant around each one and talk about the trend in 2010. You’ll see what I mean:

1. How did you first find out about The Hopkinson Report?
– Heard from a friend (69% in 2009)
– Web search led to the blog/podcast (2%/4%)
– Searching podcasts on iTunes (15%)
– From somewhere on Wired.com (10%)

Takeaway: Word of mouth still rules. Nearly 7 in 10 fans found out about the blog/podcast from a friend. I think that is going to remain strong with the advent of increased social media, which makes it easier to “pass along” favorite content to your friends.

2. How do you usually read/listen to The Hopkinson Report?
– Download from iTunes, sync to a device (iPod, iPhone, etc) and listen to it on the go. (33% in 2009)
– Download from iTunes and listen to it right from there. (20%)
– Go to the blog and listen to it from there. (20%)
– I only read the blog post (don’t listen) (27%)

Takeaway: This is a perfect example of how the survey provided insight to me last year. Since I was doing more “ad libbing” and not writing out podcast notes as much, I figured I could cut back on the blog post details since most people were just listening to the show on iTunes. Well, as it turned out, 47% of you actually come to the blog and either read along as you listen — and 27% don’t even listen at all.

The other takeaway is what we’ve been saying for years now… in the digital era, people will consume what they want, how they want, and when they want. So it’s up to content creators to provide multiple methods for consuming. For me, that’s a blog, podcast, and Twitter account. For others, that could include video, newsletters, RSS feeds, Facebook updates, apps, and more.

3. What actions have you taken as a result of listening/reading The Hopkinson Report?
– Followed @HopkinsonReport on Twitter
– Visited the website of an interview guest
– Visited the website of a topic Jim has talked about
– Purchased a product or service of an interview guest
– Purchased a product or service that Jim has talked about
– Subscribed to Wired Magazine

Takeaway: Many people crow about the number of “fans” they have on various outlets. 1,000? 10,000? 100,000? But what might be more important, is not how many fans you have, but can you motivate them to action?

Don’t worry… I don’t feel that I push any agenda too hard, and that won’t change. I try to talk about things I’ve used and believe in, and try to add value to the listener. I’m just curious how often you go to sites I talk about, and if that ever leads to a purchase.

Do you go to sites I of the people I interview and purchase sometimes?
– Trainyard game
– Adam Carolla podcast
– The Oatmeal.com
– Diana Levine photography

Have you read about, visited, or purchased some of the things I’ve covered?
– iPad
– iPad apps
– Watch the Bed Intruder video; download the song?
– Research the Haagen-Dazs hotel room?

4. Of the CONTENT MATTER AND TOPICS that I most commonly cover, what would you like to see more or less of?
– Apple (iPhone/iPad/Mac)
– Branding / Advertising
– Facebook
– Job Search / Career Development
– Marketing Case Studies
– Pop Culture / Entertainment / NYC
– Twitter
— Jim ranting by himself on a topic —
— Jim interviewing guests – –

– iPad and iPhone
I think we’re going to continue to see explosive growth

- Branding
I think personal branding and managing your online presence is going to continue to be important

– Facebook domination
I did one post on how Facebook might fail, and one predicting the success of the movie. Right now it looks like the ship will continue sailing on a quest for world domination. I feel that 2011 will be the year we consistently talk about the revenue that Facebook will generate.

– Job search
Are we out of the recession? How do you feel about your job security? If you’re a programmer in New York city, your prospects are hot. But what about Silicon Valley and everywhere in between?

– Case studies
Everyone loves case studies, and I’ll try to keep integrating real-world examples into the show. One way I do this is with guests, so I’ll try to keep them coming.

– New York City
I know I have listeners and readers from all over the world. Are you sick of my stories about Manhattan? Or do you like the picture I paint when I talk about what goes on here? Am I going to stop talking about it completely? I may be a Boston native originally, but since I can now claim 9 years here, the answer is easy, Fuggetabout It!

- Twitter
I picture continued, steady growth for Twitter in 2011. How strange that they seem like a “social media veteran” after such a short time.

-  Rant vs interview balance
What do you like better? When I rant off the cuff on a topic? Or interviewing cool guests? What’s the balance?

5. What specific topics would you like me to talk about in 2011?

Takeaway: Open-ended question. Tell me what you want more of. What did I miss? Geolocation? Small business? What did I touch on that I can go deeper with?

6. The emergence of eReaders, tablets, apps, and the disruption of the publishing industry was a huge story in 2010.
How interested would you be in a “Digital Publishing How-to Series” around the following topics in 2011?

– Digital Publishing How-to Series
– How to design an effective eBook
– How to get a book agent
– How to design a website for your product
– How to weigh pros and cons of self-publishing vs traditional publishing
– How to understand current devices and formats for each
– How to develop an iPad app

Take away:

I’ll have a huge announcement at the end of 2010 or beginning of 2011, and I truly feel my experience will be of value to you. If I can do it, you can do it too.

7. Who was your favorite guest of the year on a podcast interview?

– Chris McCann, Startup Digest & Sarah Prevette, Sprouter.com [view]
– Deanna Zandt, Author of “Share This” [view]
– Ethan Bloch, Flowtown.com [view]
– Jennifer Sargent, Hitfix.com [view]
– Adam Carolla, Podcaster/author/actor [view]
– Dan Ciporin, Canaan Partners / Shopping.com [view]
– Matt Walters, Voiceover actor [view]
– Matt Rix, Developer of Trainyard iPhone game [view]
– Michael Lewis & Tim Kress-Spatz, Suite Arrival [view]
– Cheni Yerushalmi, Sunshine Suites [view]
– Jason Wilk & Sherwin Kim, Whiteyboard.com [view]
– Grace N’ Michelle, Web video hosts [view]
– Matthew Inman, The Oatmeal.com [view]
– Diana Levine, Pro photographer [view]
– Brendan McManus, Wildfire [view]

What an amazing lineup! In 2001, I urge you to meet new people and put yourself out there. Network network network. You can really learn so much from others, so be genuine and aim high.

8. What is the BEST thing about the blog/podcast?
Open-ended question. What did you like?

What sets me apart and makes me a main course in your social media diet? The amount of information people have to consume — TV, blogs, twitter, feeds, videos, newsletters, and tons and tons of email — make it necessary to pare down to just the bare essentials. What gets you to download my podcast each week? Why do you go to the blog on a regular basis?

If you’re a content creator, ask these same questions, find your niche, and leverage it.

9. What is the WORST thing about the blog/podcast (what can I improve)?
Open-ended question. Let me have it!

Your chance to vent and help me improve the show. Did I talk about my broken arm too much? (C’mon! It was very traumatic!!!)

Was the episode about how to pack for a business trip too obvious? Do I just talk too damn fast for you to keep up?

Whether it’s your company asking users, or talking to your boss during a performance review, ask for criticism, find your weakness, drop your ego, and always be improving.

10. What is your overall satisfaction with The Hopkinson Report?
Rank this on a scale of 1-10


This gets back to question 1 — word of mouth. If you like a product, let the company know. Support brands you love. Use social media – tweet, facebook, etc to share the good news.

So if you haven’t yet, please click here to take the short, 10-question Hopkinson Report 2010 Survey.

You could win a Hopkinson Report t-shirt!

I’ll reveal the results in January. Have an amazing holiday.

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