Want to Understand Your Audience? Try a Reader Survey.


Last year, nearly a third of B2B marketers said they wanted to know their audiences better. Audience research is an important practice for a successful marketing program. A reader survey is an affordable way to begin your audience research, and it can help you optimize your content marketing programs.

What Is a Reader Survey?

A reader survey is a market research tool that uses specific questions related to a publication, blog or other communications program to measure reader interest, engagement and satisfaction. Reader surveys include objective and subjective findings that provide important insight. Compared to other methodologies—such as focus groups and interviews—reader surveys are generally uncomplicated and cost-effective to implement. 

Why Survey Your Readers

Every successful content marketing program must include audience evaluation. To optimize your program, you must first confirm that your content and its delivery channel(s) are resonating with readers and inspiring them to take action. Survey responses will provide you with verification of the content that readers crave and the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts. 

How and When to Conduct a Reader Survey

We recommend surveying your readers every year. Offer the survey both digitally and in print to make it as easy as possible to complete. Audiences are busy and may not take a survey without an incentive. Offering a reward, such as a gift card or a drawing for free conference registration, can help boost your response rate.

What to Ask in Your Survey

Before you write your survey questions, define the goal(s) of your survey. Some things you may want to achieve with your survey include:

  • Understanding reader impressions of your content.
  • Confirming reader interests, likes/dislikes, and what they want to read/learn about in the future. 
  • Gauging how your content affects reader awareness of and affinity for your organization. 
  • Documenting actions readers take as a result of engaging with your content. 
  • Evaluate ROI of your program based on goals set during program development.

Some good topics to survey your readers on include:

  • Demographics
  • Reading habits (e.g., how much of the content they read, how frequently)
  • Content Accessibility (e.g., readability, ADA compliance)
  • Topics of interest
  • Brand awareness and conversions influenced by the content

Survey Construction

Be sure to include some open-ended questions, so respondents can provide specific feedback—like future topic preferences and anecdotal comments. 

A good survey is typically 10-20 questions long. It should require no more than a 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Make sure the survey includes questions whose responses you can compare year over year (i.e., how much of the content the respondent reads, overall satisfaction with the content program, brand preference and brand awareness). You can monitor your progress against your own past results as well as industry benchmarks.

Commit to including a readership survey in your market research. Share the results with your readers, your team and your C-suite to demonstrate the value and relevance of your content program. 

Want to conduct your own reader survey? 

Fill out the form below to download a sample survey:

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