I find the whole “traffic” thing kind of weird, I must say. Posts about Foreign Affairs almost 2 years ago still get hits, no idea why, maybe it’s just because there’s nothing else out there that is like it. Maybe I hit a niche. I blog about personal stuff, get a lot of hits, go even more personal, get nothing. Kind of hit or miss for me. I know, overall, though that it will grow, still finding out how to get the word out without turning into a self-promoting spammer whore. I do know that I need to drastically alter my FaceBook strategy at some point, just haven’t gotten to it yet. However, since I am interested in building my “reach” so to speak, I often find myself clicking on tips and tricks. Heidi Cohen published a blog entitled “How often should I post new content?”, so when I saw it in a list of resources from Jon Morrow, I immediately clicked over to see it.
There are lots of “rules” out there that are analytics-based that say “Thursday afternoon is the best for Twitter” or “Facebook is good from 10:00 to 2:00”, etc. And most of them, in my view, are completely useless. Put more technically, those may be great stats for the overall use of social media, but the standard deviation is gigantic if you do a sample size of “1” to see if it is applicable to your blog and content. The only way to know is to test it out on your own site. The problem, however, is that I’m not doing this full-time. It’s totally a part-time gig vs. other commitments. So I don’t have the flexibility to bend my schedule to my blogging schedule, and I don’t particularly like doing “scheduled” posts. I might draft something that is on my mind today, but 3 days from now, totally irrelevant. I’ve tried it, and what I find is that take-up is a lot less if my post isn’t written and posted in an “immediate tone”. I just write too passively if I know I’m not sharing it for several days.
Cohen’s piece isn’t about that — it’s about # of times per day and how many entries on your blog in total to start generating critical mass. Nothing revolutionary, but certainly interesting. The real gold in the blog post, however, is a section about how to increase your frequency and output, for which she has a list of 7 things to do.
Collect post ideas. Don’t force yourself to sit down and grind out a post from scratch. Jot down the ideas as you get them so that you build the outline of a post over time and it’s partially written before you start. I find this very helpful for reducing writing time.
I love this option, and I’ve been doing it for some time. My problem isn’t a lack of ideas as I’ve got in the habit of seeing topics and adding them to my Evernote list; my problem is not then going back to it and actually writing them!
Use an editorial calendar. While this may seem like additional work up front, it helps to schedule post ideas and ensures that you cover important topics.
I hope to adopt this later this year, not quite there yet, but more related to another type of content (memes) than my regular posts. I just don’t quite have a set routine/schedule for the other ones yet. But I’ll get there.
Mix in other media formats. Another way to facilitate content creation is to use other media types. For example, include a weekly video, cartoon or photo.
I haven’t yet figured this one out yet, but I’m working on it. I have lots of clip art to choose from, which is one option, but I am also looking for ways just to expand my normal repertoire. However, I don’t want pics just to have pics — they have to help me tell my story, or they’re no good to me.
Create regular columns. Like a traditional magazine’s on-going features, develop columns with built-in, easy-to-execute formats such as customer of the week or book review.
Similar to the second one about an editorial calendar, I do want to get there. In the meantime, some of them are standardized already (like book reviews or a recipe format).
Share the workload. Have regular columnists who write every week or every month. This works well for business blogs because a variety of employees are involved. Alternatively, invite guest bloggers.
This is an extremely popular suggestion, and my short answer is probably never. Come on and sing, “It’s my blog and I’ll write if I want to, write if I want to, write if I want to…you’d write too if you had a blog too”. It might be a bit of a control issue, I don’t know, but it strikes me as odd when you have other content on your blog. You’re running a blog, not a business website offering a platform to others usually. I don’t care if others do it, I probably won’t. The only exception I could see is if a friend had an interesting story to tell, and I thought it was worth sharing as a blog, and they don’t have their own blog. I might be tempted then, but I’d have to think about it. My blog, my words. It seems like a no-brainer — unless you’re more interested in fandom and followers to your site than you are in sharing YOUR expertise.
Curate content. Have focused round ups or a best posts feature. The critical element is to add commentary explaining why that post is important. Here’s where less is more. You’re providing a service by selecting the best of what’s out there.
This is exactly the approach I`m willing to take. Excerpts perhaps but add your own commentary. Otherwise, I think it`s just stealing, even if you give the original source. Fair use means you’re excerpting pieces, kind of what I’ve done here today with the pieces from the article. But I limited it to the context and then added my own pieces.
And how do you finish it off? By linking back to the original so they can find it, such as the original article that prompted this post via How Often Should I Post New Blog Content? [Charts] – Heidi Cohen.