Every business needs a blog. That’s something any good digital marketer knows, given that - among other reasons - it drives SEO performance, positions you as a thought leader in your industry, and helps to strengthen engagement with your brand.
But how often should you be blogging? Doubtless you’ll have heard rumors, but are they true, and what’s actually the optimum frequency for you?
Well, as you might have guessed, there’s no magic target to hit. Instead, it’s going to take a little bit of trial and error, and ultimately it will come down to doing the best job you can with the resources available to you.
This short guide is going to walk you through why regular blogging is good news for your business, and how to put your finger on what ‘the right amount’ should mean for you.
According to Hubspot:
Of course, these stats don’t discuss the importance of the quality and relevance of your content (something we’ll discuss a little later), but as you can see, nailing your publishing schedule is pretty important.
So, how often should you be blogging? Five times a week, once a month or somewhere in between? Unfortunately there’s no definitive answer to this. It’s inevitably going to come down to a toss-up between quality and quantity, in which case, quality should always win.
Under no circumstances should you ever just publish a poor quality post for the sake of getting something out there.
But, if you’re not updating your blog at least semi-regularly, your customers are going to forget you’re putting out content at all. (It would be the equivalent of a publisher not putting out an edition of a paper or magazine). And, you’ll be missing the opportunity to target keywords that would otherwise be driving traffic to your blog in a really natural, engaging way. So, if resources allow, aim to publish a new blog post once a week for the first six months.
If you’re not able to publish something of good quality every week for six months straight, consider holding off on launching your blog until you’ve built up a backlog of content. Then, you can pace out some pre-written posts that are optimised and ready to go without stressing about writing something fresh every week.
It’s well worth using a content calendar to help plan your content out as you’re writing it. This will mean you can account for keyword targeting, variation in content ideas and types, seasonal content and other important factors that are better executed with some careful planning.
In the meantime, continue writing and scheduling new posts in the background so that you never run out of good quality content, and, consider the fact that pacing yourself like this means you won’t run out of great ideas either.
Publishing every single day is perhaps too much even for businesses with generous resources for this very reason. It’s easier to up your pace if you find there’s a demand for your content than it is to try to meet an overly ambitious publishing target.
Ask any successful blogger and they’ll tell you there’s no secret formula for growing a loyal, engaged readership. They’re correct, of course, but there’s something they’re not telling you: there is something you can do to increase the likelihood that your blog is going to be read, and in turn, meet your objectives.
And it’s simply to be consistent.
For the most part (and it’s important you take this with a pinch of salt), it doesn’t really matter whether you blog once a week, once a fortnight or once every day. What matters most is that you publish a blog post either:
a) At the time you’ve promised it
b) At the time your customers have become accustomed to reading it
Going off the radar for a fortnight before posting three posts back-to-back runs the risk of putting your readers off. You’ll look flaky and inconsistent. So, be as consistent as possible, which inevitably requires planning ahead, referring to your blog’s analytics and using editorial calendars (something we’ll dive into below).
However – there’s always an exception to a rule. In this case it’s that it’s OK to throw in an extra blog post or two outside of your schedule if you’re publishing reactive content.
Keep your eyes peeled for current affairs that you could blog about, and if you can, get a post up as quickly as possible while your target audience is likely to be interested in hearing your take on it.
You’ll find plenty to write about if you read the news, stay active on social media and subscribe to industry blogs. But don’t feel that you can’t comment on issues outside of your industry. So long as you can make it relevant and interesting, it’s worth writing about.
As well as being consistent with your publishing schedule, it also pays off to be consistent with the design and functionality of your blog. Readers come to expect similar page layouts, text formatting and navigation options, and they may find it a little jarring to return to a blog week after week and still not know their way around it. So, work closely with a web developer to design your blog so it looks and functions in the way you want it to, and try resist the urge to tinker with it too much.
User experience is very important, so think about how much content your audience actually wants to be reading. Your customers’ time is limited, so don’t bombard them with too many blog posts – they’re not likely to read them all. On the flip side, your audience might like to see something new on your blog pretty frequently, even if some of your posts are no more than 300 words in length.
So, experiment to see what works for your audience (asking for feedback if you’re prepared to invest the time to gather it), and refer to the information you unearthed when putting together your personas at the beginning. (Volume 1 of the Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Your Brand is worth downloading if you need to double check you’re building a blog on the right foundations). Your persona work should give you some indication of how often you should be publishing new content, and what type of content, too.
That said, all the above is just theoretical unless you have the resources to pull it off. So, take a hard look at your capabilities. Do you have somebody in house who’s available to blog regularly, and do they have the necessary skills and experience to do it well? Can this person also take charge of your editorial calendar to ensure that you’re publishing consistently good, relevant and timely content?
If not, you’re better off paying for someone else to do it for you, be it an agency or a consultant, or even a new employee. Just make sure you work with someone who knows what they’re doing, and don’t be tempted to bodge it by having your existing staff write your blog if it’s not what they’re good at. It’ll quickly stand out – and could even be detrimental to your brand.
Your editorial calendar is going to need to be a lot more sophisticated than a simple spreadsheet. You might start with a rough plan in Google Calendars, but before you long you’ll be itching to move on to another tool to create a comprehensive editorial calendar that enables you to structure, plan and implement your content strategy for your blog. Try our calendar template, or use a piece of software such as Trello, Asana or CoSchedule to make sure you have full visibility of:
Using a calendar will help you to see the big picture. You’ll know what you are publishing from week to week, you’ll be able to anticipate what’s coming up, and you’ll have a good idea of how everything is fitting together too. You’ll even be able to build anticipation by hinting at upcoming articles, if you want to.
More than this, however, a well-designed calendar can allow you to get other people involved. A collaborative calendar is a great idea if you’re tasking your creative team with delivering content for your business blog. But, best of all, you won’t procrastinate when you’re faced with a blank white page every week.
Instead, your calendar will show you what needs writing ahead of your publishing date, so you’ll have plenty of time to get familiar with the topic and begin researching – speeding up the process of blogging and making it more efficient than it could ever be if you were just ‘winging it’ from week to week.
After a good brainstorming session and a period of time reviewing your keywords, personas and search opportunities, your editorial calendar will quickly fill up with content ideas. But, don’t forget to plan in seasonal content too. You can download Zazzle’s Seasonal Campaign Planning calendar here, or you can spend some time detailing seasonal events that are relevant to your industry before inputting them into your editorial calendar.
If you found this useful, you might want to download the rest of Volume 3 of The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Your Brand. You’ll learn about where and how to promote your blog posts, how to analyse the performance of your blog, and plenty more. Dive into the earlier volumes of the Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Your Brand:
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