Content specialists and social media gurus/experts/ninjas/mavens/whatever-they’re-calling-themselves-this-week frequently encourage bloggers to write their little hearts out – as much as they can, and as often as possible. If nothing else, keep a regular schedule.
This isn’t bad advice, in and of itself.
But we aren’t all cut from the same blogging mold. Just because one very prolific person might be able to post to his blog daily doesn’t mean that’s a good (or reasonable) plan for all of us. If someone tries to tell you that you must blog daily or you’ll never be successful, run, run away.
It’s true that Google likes to see fresh content, but “fresh” doesn’t have to mean “daily.” It doesn’t even necessarily have to mean weekly.
Echoing back to my point that you should write for a human audience, it’s important to understand that, Google aside, readers want quality content. They want something of value. They want you to educate, inspire, or at least entertain them. They care about these things more than they care whether you were only able to publish posts on five of the seven days last week.
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That being said, I do think that it’s important to write regularly (or, if your content isn’t written, then it’s important to create regularly). Does this mean that you might produce a lot of content that’s not exactly the highest quality? Sure. None of us is inspired daily, so it’s absurd to believe that you need to come up with a masterpiece every time. This is true of just about anything.
Working at it even when you aren’t publishing might sound silly. Why would you spend all that time if it might never see the light of day?
Because it furthers your skill. It gives you practice until your creation reaches the quality level you feel comfortable publishing. This is my second go at this post, for example. I wrote a complete post on a different topic, didn’t feel good about it, scrapped it, and started over. If you don’t feel comfortable publishing something and it isn’t what you want it to be, don’t publish it just to publish it.
When you put something out there with your name on it, it contributes to your brand (be it personal or company branding). Remember this when you fret over missing a regularly scheduled post.
Still, if you go MIA for a long period of time because you simply aren’t feeling it, the cold, hard truth is that your readers are probably going to forget about you. Out of sight, out of mind, and all that jazz.
If that’s becoming the case for you, take stock. Are you not posting because you truly haven’t created anything of value in months, or are you not posting because you haven’t felt like investing the time? Answer yourself honestly, and use that self-assessment when moving forward with your content development.
What if it’s not that you haven’t felt like investing the time, but more that you haven’t been able to find the time?
This is common. Things happen, we get tied up in other projects, and blogging starts to slide down our list of things to do. If this sounds like you, try building some writing time into your schedule every week, whether it’s once or twice for long periods of time, or every night for fifteen minutes. This regular schedule will help keep you writing and creating (remember, even if you don’t publish all of your content, this will keep you in practice and keep the ideas flowing, meaning you’ll start finding inspiration more often than not).
If you can use this writing time to get ahead, look at what kind of publishing schedule you can work with. So maybe you can’t publish a new post every single day. Big deal. But maybe you can publish once or twice a week. And maybe you can keep a few posts at the ready just in case you have a crazy busy week and want to keep your posting schedule.
Tip: Get an app for your phone or tablet (I love Evernote), or carry a small notebook in your bag for ideas. I use Evernote when I’m out somewhere and a Moleskine notebook when I’m at home and I get a great idea for a future blog post. I can jot down the idea and some comments about it, and then I have a reserve of topics for those days when my mind seems to go blank.
What it all comes down to is this: Be proud of what you create. When you’re putting something out into the world with your name on it, make sure it demonstrates what you’re capable of doing and shines a positive light on your brand. Sure, there are ways to maintain a schedule even when things happen that might otherwise derail you, and I’ve talked about a few of them in this post. But if you don’t think your content is quite ready yet or you don’t think it will provide as much value to your audience as you want it to, don’t be afraid to break your schedule here and there. It’s better to put out no product at all than it is to put out a low-quality product.
Do you maintain a regular blogging schedule? How do you stick to it? Do you publish just for the sake of publishing, or do you break schedule when you’ve got a post that just isn’t going to cut it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
image credit: johnstone fitness