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You’ve been getting to know us over the past couple of years via our website, YouTube Channel and social media and it was hight time we got to know YOU better too, to help us help you, by creating create even more and better content. We had so many questions: What kind of RVer are you? What stage are you at in your RV journey? What kind of content are you most interested in? How do you like to consume this content? What age group are you in? And you answered – big time!
When we put out our “call for help” short survey, we were hoping to get a minimum of 500 responses, ideally 1,000. Well, you guys are AWESOME! You knocked it out of the park! Thank you so very much for taking the time and energy to share your responses which will help us improve and evolve to the next level.
We received over 1,500 responses and wanted to share the stats and key insights with you. But first, we wanted to share a little more background to give you a broader understanding of us, where we are at and what we hope to be able to do for you.
How we got here
This survey has been an enormously valuable exercise for us as we have reached a point where we needed to take a step back and consider “where to from here?” RVLove has grown far more than we could have hoped or imagined – especially in light of the fact that we’ve continued to work full-time, travel the entire country (48 states now), really explore this amazing continent and also prioritize downtime for us individually and as a couple – all of which are high value to us. We’ve produced content for RVLove as and when we could in between all of this, with no set schedule and without pushing ourselves to unsustainable levels. After all, the whole reason we embarked on this journey in the first place was to really live and love the RV life as we opened up more opportunities for travel. The goal was never to simply create a third job for ourselves!
All this time, we’ve remained mindful of our desire to continue sharing our journey and helping others while honoring our own work and personal needs. This has taken some discipline and good boundary setting, neither of which are necessarily easy! Yet, as RVLove continues to grow, we have recognized it is time to find ways to produce more content, more consistently without tipping the balance or adversely impacting this awesome life we have created for ourselves.
What we have realized
It’s been one heck of a journey on so many levels and throughout this time, 5 things have become abundantly clear:
- There is a huge need and a hungry audience for the kind of content we are producing, with increasing requests for more in terms of quantity, quality, breadth and frequency
- We really enjoy creating content for RVLove and want to deliver more of it – while avoiding the risk of burnout or working at unsustainable levels (personally and/or financially)
- We need to be more focused and organized with the time and energy that we do have for producing RVLove content so it provides the most value for you – our audience – while remaining fun and intrinsically rewarding for us...after all, one of our mantras is: “if it isn’t fun, don’t do it!”
- As RVLove continues to grow, it demands ever greater commitment and resources – time, energy, work, technology and money – to keep going
- We have attracted and built a big and beautiful community of people who truly enjoy, appreciate and value us and our content, and we want to embrace this opportunity for growth and improvement
Hence the crossroads we find ourselves at! It’s impossible to stay the same as we can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing without making some big, positive changes around our schedules, and our commitment to you and our website and channels.
it’s time for us to step up our game and create more content, even better content. We want to thoroughly embrace and enjoy this journey and see where it takes us all! We want to be around for a long time – not just a good time. We want to keep being a useful and valuable resource for RVers for many years to come. Of course, it would be impossible to be everything to everyone and so finding the sweet spot is key.
How many people responded?
More than 1,550 people participated in our survey! We had hoped for 1,000 so we were both completely blown away by the response and further humbled that more than a third of you also took the time to write additional comments – 99.9% of which were extremely positive, supportive and appreciative. THANK YOU! I must admit that I (Julie) even got a bit overcome with emotion reading some of the responses as I began to realize just how many people our blog and videos were impacting. The survey software generated this fun word collage from the comments, which we love and thought you might enjoy it too.
Last week, we filmed a video response when we were right at 1,500 responses and another 50+ have replied since the stats we shared in the video may vary slightly from what we have shown below in this blog post. Either way, you’ll get a good gauge of the results and outcomes, along with a few extra tips. So watch the video and/or scroll down to read the survey results.
Q1: What kind of RVer are you (or are you planning to be)?
We aren’t quite sure if this is an accurate representation of the industry across the board or simply a snapshot of our own audience, but it was very interesting to learn that two thirds of you are either already – or are planning to be – full-time or part-time/seasonal RVers.
Q2: How do you currently keep up with our content?
Well, it’s pretty obvious that most are YouTube fans and prefer video over anything else! This wasn’t too surprising really, as YouTube is our biggest channel, but we’d definitely like to see more people exploring the resources on our website, as there is so much great in-depth content on the blog. We’ll be focusing on both YouTube and website in tandem as we produce new content. YouTube can be a better platform for “show and tell” type videos (like maintenance and how-to’s) and our Slice of Life videos, but the website/blog is often better for sharing in more detailed information, research and anything that needs to be referenced more often. We suspect many people first discover us on YouTube but the ones who are more ‘serious’ about digging deeper into useful RV-related content will visit the blog to digest more of our written articles.
Q3: Which topics most interest you?
We’ll admit, there were a few surprises in here. Clearly RV Lifestyle is the number 1 interest – and this can be a very broad, all encompassing topic – but Campgrounds came in second and that was the biggest surprise to us. We haven’t done much in the way of campground reviews up to this point and many of you ask for them, but here’s the challenge – campground preferences are so darn subjective and what we really like may be opposite to the next person! As still working RVers, our needs are probably different to many of you retired folks in that our number 1 priority is cellular signal so we can use our MIFI and connect to the internet and work.
Of course, we like nice places better than crappy places too, but honestly, as long as we have decent signal and hookups, our basic needs are met. Anything beyond that is considered a bonus! Plus because we are Thousand Trails members, we try to stay in their network as much as possible (for obvious cost cost savings) and the standard of these is pretty similar across the board. We call them “rustic” but some are much better than others. We certainly plan to share more campground reviews, but keep in mind that with literally thousands of campgrounds around the country, we cannot possibly visit them all. You are going to get a much better pulse on whether or not a campground is right for you by reading several reviews on aggregator sites dedicated to this purpose, like CampgroundViews, Campendium and RVParkReviews.
Next was Maintenance and Repairs, Destinations, Daily Life (which we would group under RV Lifestyle) plus Gear and Tools. So mostly, all the practical stuff. Which is good, we like to share practical stuff anyway as that is what we were most hungry for when we were starting out. So we’ve taken all that on board and will be publishing much more of this kind of content.
One area that we’ve really not given enough attention to is Destinations and we definitely plan to improve that. To date, we’ve spent most of our time actually exploring and enjoying destinations and haven’t shared our stories, tips, photos and videos to accompany them – yet. But, we’ve captured a lot of footage and will be starting to pull that together and share more travel related content in the coming months.
Q4: What are your preferred ways to consume content?
Videos are the number one preference, followed by articles and blog posts and social media. We think this result could be somewhat skewed by the fact that our largest audience is on YouTube, so naturally videos will be voted as the top choice, but there was also a healthy interest in other forms of content such as eBooks and PDFs, Podcasts and live events and rallies. Interesting to note that as times change, there just isn’t such a high demand for printed books anymore.
Q5: What devices do you mostly use to consume content?
We understand that most of you probably use a combination of computer, tablet, cell phone to consume content (we do too) but we were interested to see that the computer rated so highly – I guess mobile devices haven’t completely taken over yet? But the great news is, we have ensured that our website is mobile responsive so this will display nicely on smart phones and tablets as well as computers. A handful of you access our content via Smart TV which is handy to know as that is when video quality and resolution becomes a bigger factor. We’ll definitely keep that in mind as we invest in and evolve our equipment and technologies.
Q6: Which description best describes your situation/needs as an RVer?
Of course, we were expecting the majority of respondees to be retired (or approaching retirement) but we were very interested to see that 38% are still working and either already living the RV life or considering hitting the road pre-retirement, as we have. An additional 10% are families who already RV or are considering it. Wow! That means it’s almost a 50/50 split between the retired and non retired!? We admit we were surprised (and secretly pleased) to see that number, as more and more people are realizing we don’t have to wait until our golden years to do this. Then again, we have to also remember this is reflective of OUR audience, and another RVer’s survey may have a different audience and reflect different results. It makes sense RVLove would attract more working age RVers as that is what we are ourselves. Like attracts like.
Q7: What is your age group?
We got a lot of positive feedback on our fun names for the age groups. Obviously almost 90% of you are 45+ (Fabulous, Sexy & Ageless) with the biggest segment being in the Sexy 55-64 group. Of course, Sexy doesn’t end (or start) at 64, but we figure by the time you’ve reached the “Ageless” milestone, you have ALL of the great qualities. We had relatively small number of Young Uns under 35 and another 8% in the Happening 35-44 demographic. Based on our experience alone, we’d say we are seeing growing numbers in the under 45 categories for sure. But 45+ tends to be the ruling majority.
First, we want to say another huge THANK YOU to all of you, in particular those who actively participate in this community with likes, comments, feedback, emails and survey responses.Truly, you guys have inspired us so much to keep creating and improving and we thank you so much for that.
Since the survey, we’ve completely revamped our website – as you would have already seen – with a brand new look and feel, new categories to help organize our blog post so they are much easier to find quickly, a search bar to help you find the articles and information you are looking for, a resources page that shares some of the links and companies that we use and refer to regularly, and a new RV Gear page, where we include all of the items, tools and equipment that we use on the road.
If you were familiar with our previous website, you will notice it’s had a huge overhaul and we’re really excited about about this new version. Organizing our existing content into new categories not only makes it easier for you to find, it also helps us to identify gaps in our content and where we need to spend more time and energy fleshing out subjects that haven’t yet been covered.
So, this is a new beginning! Take a look around the website, explore the new sections and also keep an eye on YouTube to see some more changes that are unfolding. Both will continue to change and grow.
We would LOVE your feedback on the new website – how you like the look of it, the navigation, the content – and any suggestions for us to consider as we continue progressing with it. Let us know in the comments below!