“Make sure that you’re blogging every day.”
“Audiences crave consistency.”
“The more you publish, the better.”
Sound familiar? These are actual statements that are being preached to bloggers – and there are many more like it to be found throughout the blogosphere.
Are they the stuff of legends? Urban legends, maybe.
Not unlike the Loch Ness Monster, there’s no doubt some element of truth in these statements.
Make sure that you’re blogging every day.
This one’s a real doozy, so we’ll start here. Should you try to blog every day?
The answer, of course, is No. Unless you’re operating a news portal like Social Media Examiner, with a large staff of contributing writers, this idea that you need to blog every day is just setting you up for failure.
Instead of blindly following that kind of advice, we need to carefully assess our business goals, assets, skill and target audience. Do we need to blog every day? Can we?
If you’d have to kill yourself or hire out external writers to meet that kind of deadline, it’s worth questioning whether or not it’s really worth that investment.
Because the fact is, for most of you, you don’t have to blog every day.
You do, however, have to write every day.
There’s a difference between publishing and writing. If you set aside time every single day to write, whether you complete a blog post or not, you will:
- develop your blogging muscle
- make continual progress toward your writing goals
It’s said that in order to be an expert at anything one has to spend over 10,000 hours practicing and honing that effort. That’s why I spend a minimum of one hour every day, seven days a week, writing.
These days that includes blog posts for Blogging Brute & The Social Media Hat, as well as other publications, emails and sales copy. I don’t publish new content every single day, but I do work on content every single day.
And that’s the key. Because I’m always thinking about my blog and working on pieces, my Evernote is filled with blog drafts and ideas.
This post is the perfect example.
The idea for this piece actually occurred to me in February, 2016. I typed up the headline and a few ideas, and then it sat for a while. A couple of months later I wrote most of the first section, and then 8 months after the initial idea, I finished writing the piece and published it.
I was able to dive into this post and finish it up in an hour or two on a lazy Sunday afternoon because I’d had the luxury of letting it sit until I was in the right frame of mind to finish it.
If you don’t write every day, what you’re doing is setting yourself up to be stressed and pressured to finish that blog post right now whether you’re into the idea or not. Most people don’t write well under that kind of pressure!
Do yourself a service and set aside time every day to write – whether you’re working on blog posts or sales pages or emails – so that you’re always making progress and improving.
Audiences Crave Consistency
So if we’re going to write every day, we should be able to publish on a regular schedule, and our audiences appreciate that, right?
Look, if we’re being honest with ourselves, the fact is that for most of us, if we choose not to publish a blog post on a particular day or week, we’re flattering ourselves if we think our readers will notice.
I’m not trying to be a downer, nor am I trying to be too humble or sell myself short. But unless you’re publishing a weekly column for a mainstream publication, it’s really unlikely that your readers are paying specific attention to when you publish.
I currently tend to publish something new every Monday, with an additional post later in the week every once in a while. I’ve blogging that much or more, nearly every week, since 2011. There have been plenty of times where I didn’t publish a blog post on a day that would have been consistent with the ‘publishing schedule’ I was currently on.
No one has ever said a word.
Now, to be fair, I’ve never gone more than two weeks without publishing new content. If I’d been blogging at least once a week and stopped for a few months, something like that would likely be noticed.
I think what’s more important is that you set a schedule and routine for yourself that makes sense for you and your business, and you stick to that in order consistently be able to set and meet your own expectations.
I know that I want to publish new content on Mondays so I know that my Sunday afternoon needs to be spent finalizing a piece of content, not starting some epic work that’s going to take me weeks to complete. That’s a project I work on later. But because I’m not under a strict publishing schedule, I have the freedom to make that choice and can decide to work on the larger piece if it’s more important.
Do you want to know what audiences actually crave?
Quality. You can go weeks between blog posts if those blog posts are incredible.
As I said, it’s likely no one will even notice, let alone say anything, if you don’t publish on a day you normally publish.
But publish crap? Yeah, you’ll hear about that.
My good friend Mark Schaefer wrote about the sheer volume of content that audiences have at their disposal today.
I mean, think about it… A few decades ago we had one or two local newspapers we might have subscribed to, a few niche magazines, and a small selection of television or radio stations we’d consume programming from.
Today we have blogs, social networks, emails, thousands of television stations and networks, and 24/7 news cycles. We’re so inundated with content that we have trained ourselves to tune out only the most interesting or obnoxious messages.
That, as Mark puts it, is Content Shock.
(Apologies for the audio lag when I talk in the video, just ignore me and listen to what Mark says about The Content Code.)
Because content as a medium is so effective at reaching and persuading an audience, it’s become the de facto marketing technique for businesses. So much so that and individual piece of content’s reach and effectiveness is dulled and drowned out by all the noise.
That’s not to say that content marketing is no longer effective, but rather, poor contentmarketing is no longer effective.
You have to write great content to stand out and be heard through the noise.
Or, as Rand Fishkin pointed it, it’s more likely that your content needs to be 10x greater.
When I first started blogging I published 6 – 14 posts a week! But frankly, these were mostly short blog posts – seldom more than 500 words – and most consisted of news-type posts talking about social network or common app updates.
- Klout, Foursquare and Yelp release app updates
- Digg Updates Digg 3.0 Mobile App
- Google+ App Update, Pushes Chrome Usage
I still like to talk and write about updates to networks an apps, but tend to reserve my published posts now for more substantial updates – and such posts are now the exception rather than the rule. As I become more experienced with blogging and more understanding of my audience, I started writing more in-depth articles and guides.
That’s what people like to read.
Even “thought leadership” pieces of content like the article you’re reading now tend to be less popular than the articles I write about how to use aspects of Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn. Heck, just the other day I was making improvements to my article on optimizing your LinkedIn Profile and LinkedIn Cover Photo and discovered that single article has been read over 200,000 times.
All of my other historically best-performing content has been in the same vein.
My point is that, over time, you’ll see which of your posts performed well and which ones didn’t, and you’ll be able to start to identify trends and parallels.
- My readers do / do not like these topics.
- My readers do / do not like these formats.
And so on.
If you focus on the best topics and formats and strive to make your next posts even better, then you’ll deliver what your audience craves.
The More You Publish, The Better
Which brings us to the last point, that publishing more is better, and here, I’m afraid, I have to agree. For the most part.
Look, the fact is, there are multiple statistics that clearly point out the benefits of publishing blog content often. You drive up social traffic, increase readers and leads, and give Google far more content to work with resulting in higher search engine rankings.
One of the key findings from Hubspot that I reference often to blog blogging and corporate clients is this statistic about traffic and lead generation:
Companies that get to 50+ blog posts begin to see a dramatic increase in site traffic. A company that goes from 100 articles to 200 articles will likely see a 59% increase in traffic.
So if you commit to publishing one new piece of content per week, statistically, it will take over a year to begin to see exponential gains in search engine traffic.
Therefore, the more often you publish, the faster you’ll get to that point.
But there is a caveat.
As per the previous point, your published content has to be good in order for your blog to achieve success.
If you don’t publish great content, people won’t share it. If you don’t pay attention to your keywords and blog focus, Google won’t rank it.
I mentioned earlier that I was publishing quite a few blog posts a week early on. I won’t say it was a completely failed strategy, but there were two major issues.
First, the posts themselves were short, as I mentioned, and it’s really hard to deliver value in a short post.
Second, more importantly, those posts were so un-focused in topic that they have very little long-term benefit. I wrote about every social network big or small, as well as marketing techniques, business technology – anything. The proverbial shotgun approach.
It took a couple of years, but with a focus on Content Marketing and it’s requisite tactics, I immediately saw far more success.
And ironically, that greater success came from publishing less.
Quantity is great, but only if it is paired with targeted quality.
Over To You
To sum up, while you don’t have to blog every day, you should be writing every day to exercise that muscle.
And while you don’t have to publish on a set schedule, your audiences will certainlyappreciate your consistent delivery of quality.
Finally, the more often you publish excellent content, the better your blog and business will perform.
Therefore, while you do not have to blog every day, you should strive to blog as often as you are able to publish something great.
Your readers will appreciate that.
Now, head down to the comments and answer this question:
How often do you blog, and what do you blog about?
Feel free to leave a link to your blog so the rest of us can check it out as well. See you there!