The first Monday of each month, I dust off a favorite post from the Bennis Inc Blog archives and give you another chance to enjoy the wit and wisdom that’s been shared. Enjoy this month’s treasure – and if it inspires you – be sure to share it with family and friends!
For anyone who has the goal of blogging regularly, you know it can be a real challenge to keep up with the demand for new content. Whether your blog is for professional or personal use, so many other obligations in life can pull you away from spending time with your thoughts.
For me at least, this seems to be the first thing to drop by the wayside when client projects, mom responsibilities, or anything else demands more of my time than I anticipated. Even with the best intentions, it’s common to start a blog, only to have it sit for weeks or months without fresh content. I see it all the time because this is a common request of my clients for me – help me produce quality content for my blog (or website) on a regular basis!
Since starting my blog in 2011, I can say (to my own disbelief) I have never missed publishing a blog post each and every Monday morning since the date I committed to “go live” with my thoughts and stories on entrepreneurship! Trust me, I had to go back and double-check that myself to make sure I wasn’t giving credit where credit was not due.
How? You might ask. After all, I’m busy just like you. I’ve gotten married, had two children, built a house, moved, traveled (a lot), and ramped up my business significantly. And my blog is not the core of my business – merely a supporting outlet for advice, inspiration, and stories.
Over the years I’ve discovered several strategies which help make maintaining a weekly blog manageable and enjoyable. Here’s what they are!
The date today is Tuesday, February 11, 2020. Before you rush to double-check your calendar or yell out to Alexa, let me clarify that at the time of writing this blog, this is the date on my calendar. My point is, in order to continually feed your “blog monster” you must work ahead. I personally like to have my weekly content written and scheduled one month in advance. Should a more timely topic present itself, other topics can be moved back or switched around, but this buffer of 4 weeks’ worth of content gives me great peace of mind.
Focus on quality over quantity.
There are so many debates as to the ideal length of content for a blog based upon both what general readers like, as well as what pleases Google. My conclusion is…no one really knows. Or at least there is no hard, fast rule. So, my advice is to focus on quality over quantity. Don’t stress about hitting a certain word count. Rather, find what works for your writing style. If you can say everything you need to say on a topic in 500 words, don’t struggle to throw in another 300 words because you read somewhere that blogs with an 800-word count are “better.”
As a reader myself, I’d much prefer you to get to the point in less time. Alternately, if you’re a gifted storyteller who can flesh out a 1,500-word count blog that grabs a reader’s attention from start to finish, go for it! Trying to change your natural writing flow to be shorter or longer than what feels right for you will only cause you to agonize over writing, making it less likely for you to keep up with your blog.
Turn broad ideas into a series.
Every so often you might start fleshing out an idea into a blog only to realize this is going to be way longer than you expected, and certainly much longer than your average blog post. This is a critical time to consider separating your points into a mini-series. The benefits of doing so are two-fold. 1. You can really dig into this content over a few weeks and not feel like you need to dwindle it down to fit into a single blog. 2. You will gain several weeks’ worth of blog content in a fraction of the time it would take you to sit down and produce independent topics. Win-win!
Develop your template.
I can’t stress this enough. Work to develop a template for your blogs. Not a cookie cutter, but a template that can serve as a loose framework for how you outline content. My template looks something like this. First I start with a title. This almost always is where my inspiration comes from and it gives the body of my content direction. Next, I open with 1-2 paragraphs that set the stage for what I’m about to write. This lets me work out all the kinks of my ideas. Then, I outline my subheadings which break up my content into manageable pieces. Moving to the very end of my blog, I choose my closing question or call to action. Finally, I go back and fill in the content for all my subheadings. This is my template, and yours should be unique to how the writing/thinking portion of your brain is wired. The bottom line is you need a template that works for you. I promise this will cut your thinking, writing, and editing in half!
Reuse quality content.
Fun fact. This is my 462nd blog post. As you might imagine, that’s a lot of ideas shared over the last almost nine years now! I often find myself scrolling back through content and rereading it like it’s the first time. I want to share it again. I want more people to see it. And there’s nothing wrong with sharing past content with your current audience. After all, your readership has likely grown and there are many new eyes that would be seeing this content for the first time.
I most often approach sharing past content in one of three ways. 1. I will link back to previous blog posts from a new blog post. 2. The first Monday of each month I share a past blog post, as I call it “dusting it off from the archives.” 3. At least once per year I put together a blog post that compiles a “Top 10” list of past blogs on a particular topic. I particularly like to do this the week of a new year so it acts as a year-in-review post. All of this provides me with quick content for future blog posts while giving past content new life.
Be (selectively) open to guest bloggers.
I do allow for guest blogging opportunities on my blog, but I’ve learned that not all offers for guest blogging content are created equal. I’ve had some wonderful freelance writers reach out to be a part of my guest blogging community – completely organically! I gladly publish the quality content they write, and this fulfills a weekly blog that I don’t have to create. In contrast, I can quickly identify “spammy” guest bloggers who are hot to inquirer, and follow up if they don’t get an answer, and then when I respond and ask them to pitch some topics, I never hear back. Or I do hear back and the content is so poorly written, I would spend just as much time editing the blog to fit my standards as I would simply produce the content myself. In those instances, it’s a hard pass.
Give yourself a “holiday.”
Producing weekly content (or whatever frequency you choose) simply means making sure your audience can count on hearing from you on a regular basis. It’s consistency. It’s reliability. It’s about keeping you top of mind. Do keep in mind that some weeks can be lighter on content than others. A good example is how I approach holidays or vacations. Sometimes I have the capacity to produce a pretty standard-length blog in advance of going offline for a few days. Other times I do not, which is when I whip together a quick blurb or fun message letting my readers know that I’m still here (and I care about giving them the content they crave!) but everyone needs a holiday from time to time.
Here’s an example of a Christmas post that took less than 10 minutes to put together, but still hit my mark for producing weekly content. You can do something similar for any holiday, your birthday, the week of your vacation, or whenever else you may simply need a week to breathe. Even short content is better than no content at all!
Do you already have a blog? What strategies do you use to produce content regularly or what are your struggles to do so? Share in the comments below!
Or is it your goal to start a blog in the near future? What hesitations do you have? Ask me a question and I’ll give you my answer!
3 thoughts on “Struggling to Keep Up With Your Blog?”
Great job, Stephanie. Lot of valuable tips for blogging and being consistent. Example like the Editorial Calendar under “work ahead” is useful in planning and organizing one’s blog content. Following these tips helps quality content as yours demonstrates.
Plenty of topics to blog about, but their timing and inspiration do not always coincide. Which makes (my) daily blogging a challenge. Good post, very relatable, and thanks for sharing.
Daily blogging is hugely impressive! Way to go! I can imagine how that puts the pressure on to come up with inspiration each day. I imagine having some “evergreen” ideas written down to offer inspiration on days when it doesn’t come naturally is helpful. And I always suggest looking at your last 24 hours and what’s been on your mind. This often spurs the most authentic conversations.
Can you define a critical driving force pushing you to write/update your blog regularly? What about other bloggers? The mentioned above motive of “the wit and wisdom that’s been shared” doesn’t sound modest/natural/’digestible’ (haha!). We are used to judging people by fruits of their work and here we have traditional vocations with novelists, poets, gardeners, scientists, painters, etc…
The bloggers and the first fruits of their presence/influence emerged recently. The most common evaluation of their work is defined/measured by the number of hits or followers, but it doesn’t contribute much to understanding such activities.
We need a deeper look at this hobby/passion/job/politics etc. Your profound reflections about such matters can eventually initiate an intense discussion on broader forums.