You Shared, We ListenedWhat We Learned From Our Audience Survey

The results are in from our audience survey and as you can imagine—after more than 3,000 readers answered nearly 130 questions—there’s a lot to unpack.

So we unpacked it! And now we’ve just got to share a few things with you that we find fascinating.

First of all, three items of fantastic news:

(1) The first three words that most often come to mind when folks think about Bitch? Smart. Feminist. Relevant. Intersectional and Interesting came in for a close fourth and fifth place finish. We’ll take it!

(2) You all count on Bitch for the same reason we publish Bitch! Seventy-nine percent of readers put pop culture analysis at the top of your reasons-why-I-come-to-Bitch list. A close second: cultural reporting at 74 percent. And of course—68 percent of readers make your way in our direction for opinion pieces. 

(3) According to all of you, here’s the most important thing that we do: Offer a challenging, empowering, and thoughtful dialogue on media and pop culture. Um, heck yes.

Our official mission is to provide and encourage an engaged feminist response to pop culture and mainstream media. The three outcomes we just shared are especially important to us because they show us that what we think is important to you, actually is. Cue the celebratory cake and kittens!
 

But wait. Not so fast. Because the next two conclusions threw us for a little bit of a loop. Here’s what’s up:

(1) We were really interested in finding out where else you were going for your pop culture analysis. Coming in at number three? Jezebel—which is hardly surprising, given its reach. But here’s where things take a twist: number two? Twitter. And number one? Facebook.

(2) We were also really interested in finding out where else you go for your feminist analysis. Coming in at number one is our friends at Feministing—yay! Number two? Jezebel! Things are looking good, right? Well, not really. Because three and four are Twitter and Facebook, respectively.

Have you seen that meme that took social media by storm a few months ago about how Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles? And how Alibaba, the world’s most valuable retailer, has no inventory? Or how Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no real estate? And finally, about how Facebook, the world’s largest popular media owner, creates no content? Well, if you hadn’t, that’s it in a nutshell.

That’s why we were bummed about the top responses to what outlets folks rely on for pop culture and feminist analysis. Facebook and Twitter (and other social media sites) are important in many, many ways—we share Bitch content on both every single day. But Facebook and Twitter have also largely succeeded in drawing critical attention away from recognizing and celebrating the creative minds and media organizations that make both platforms indispensable to our daily routines.

But we’ll leave that problem alone for now, because there are two findings that we want to be sure to address immediately:

(1) Over 50 percent of readers were either Unsure or Neutral when asked if we do a good job of implementing reader feedback. As an organization that values an engaged feminist response to pop culture, that level of uncertainty is unacceptable. We’ve got to do a better job of incorporating your feedback—and reporting back when we do so that you can see your ideas at work.

Which is one reason why, starting today, we’re implementing a new tool that encourages you all to share your ideas about what else we could be exploring. Now, when you believe that we should spend more resources covering X, or looking deeper into Y, your suggestion will be at our editorial team’s fingertips within seconds. In a few short weeks, readers will even be able to help shape the topics we explore in Bitch magazine! (Look no further than the bottom of this report for an immediate opportunity to guide our work!)

(2) When it comes to things readers would like to change about Bitch (a totally open-ended question) three things came up all too often. A. Nothing (thanks!) B. Publish more content, more frequently! C. Send fewer fundraising emails.

Which brings us to our final (phew!) point.

Bitch Media is built on the idea that feminist media must be independently funded in order to maintain its integrity. We’re not selling you crap disguised as a feminist must-have, and you’ll never be confused as to whether or not you’re reading a “sponsored” post. But the tradeoff for that level of certainty—if we want to keep our independent, nonprofit status intact—is that we quite literally don’t have a choice but to send fundraising emails.

But here’s what we can do: Give you a glimpse into what to expect. This year, we’ll need to raise enough to publish four issues of Bitch magazine, post feminist analysis daily at bitchmedia.org, air a new episode of our podcast every week, and send Bitch speakers to dozens of communities around the world, all while paying our writers, editors, and staff a fair, livable wage. And by the way, we want to publish more content, more often, too—but we need your help to make that wish come true.

So, fair warning: One of this year's three subscription pushes begins first thing tomorrow morning! We do our best to make supporting Bitch fun and rewarding—and it’s always an incredible feeling to see so many folks who agree that feminist media should be fiercely independent media step up to fund Bitch. This time around, along with our biggest discount on your subscription or renewal, folks who pitch in will receive a set of three snazzy limited-edition buttons. (Keep your eyes peeled for tomorrow’s email for pictures!)

If you believe that our work at Bitch Media is essential—to discover and mentor new writers and amplify diverse voices—then please show your support for Bitch tomorrow, this month, and this year: Contribute, share our message, do whatever you can to support this nonprofit, independent, feminist media organization.

And if you pass this time, well, that’s OK too.


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Kate Lesniak is the publisher at Bitch Media.

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