So you’re starting a blog. What type of articles should you post? How long should they be? How often should you post? What about videos or infographics? Should you have a story arc or just random thoughts?
It’s worth putting some thought into these questions fairly early on, but don’t stress yourself too much. You can always change your mind!
My Content Scheduling Strategy and why I’m Changing it
I interrupt this series on Keyword Research to bring you a change in strategy…
I have a list of about 60 articles in a specific order listed in OneNote. They walk a reader through the entire process of learning about online passive income, deciding on a business model, choosing a topic, learning about SEO and keyword research, choosing a domain name, registering and choosing a hosting site, setting up the site, writing content, finding photos, promoting content, building links… You get the idea.
I’m really excited about all of these items. The posts are burning a hole in my brain, begging to be written. The order is specific because I’ve been basically writing a book on how to build a website that will generate passive income, one blog post at a time.
There’s a basic order to these things and to be honest, I haven’t even figured out how to do some of the later things well enough to write intelligently about them.
There are two problems with my strategy.
The first is that some of these posts take many hours to research and write because I want to make sure that I’m providing real value. I work full time and my son is 7 months old. If the next post is one of these monster posts and my life is having one of those “over-full” weeks, then I grind to a halt. I don’t want to rush the post, but I feel guilty that I can’t get it done on schedule. So the blog doesn’t get updated.
The second is that I lose some of the “Journey” flavour of the blog. It loses some of the personality if I’m writing about things that I was struggling with months ago. I’m more of an expert on the topic, of course, but some of the initial struggles are a distant memory.
The blog will be better if it fits better with my life and if it better reflects the real Journey.
Deciding on a Content Strategy
What works for me or for my site won’t necessarily be what’s right for you or your site. You’re going to have to figure this out for yourself and, most importantly, do some experimenting. Here are some questions to ask:
What Types of Articles Should I Write?
You can write fun articles or serious ones. You can do detailed tutorials or opinion pieces.
The best strategy is probably to do a mix. You can do a detailed, thoughtful article on Mondays and a short fun article on Thursdays. It all depends on you and what you are trying to achieve with your website.
Don’t just try to copy others blindly, but feel free to emulate blogs you enjoy and see what works for you.
How Long Should my Articles Be?
Some people say that articles should be about 300-500 words. The theory goes that people have such short attention spans that they can’t handle anything longer. Recent SEO algorithm changes seem to favour longer articles in the 1000-2000 word range, and many bloggers report greater success with more in-depth content.
You know your audience and yourself. The article should be as long as it needs to be to make your point. Don’t cut it down or fluff it up to meet some arbitrary rule.
How Often Should I Post?
Again, there are varying opinions. You’ll find plenty of people who insist that a blog must be updated daily. I don’t know who their readers are, but I’d find that exhausting as either a blogger or a reader.
On the flip side, a monthly posting schedule is too long and people will decide that you’re just not really that interested. By the time your next post rolls around, they’ll forget who you are.
Once or twice a week is a nice balance.
Reasonable consistency is certainly something to strive for. Some people will come to look forward to your weekly post on a certain day. Personally, I’m just going for a reasonable consistency. Hitting a particular day of the week is a bit much for me (my heartfelt apologizes to my more structured readers).
It is certainly worthwhile, however, to get to know the reading habits of your audience. My readers check in during the week, for example. I see a huge dip every weekend. So when I write a post on the weekend, I set it to publish automatically on Monday. This way, it will be on the top of the pile for those readers using RSS readers. A small point, perhaps, but it’s my current strategy.
Videos, Infographics, or Other Multimedia
You’ll see a pattern here: You need to decide what’s best for your particular audience. If you have a large Pinterest following, then you will want to make sure that you have pretty pictures on a fairly regular basis. If YouTube drives traffic, make a video every two weeks, likewise for a podcast.
Do what works for you and your audience. Experiment. Ask for feedback. You’ll find a rhythm (or lack there-of) that works.
My New Blog Content Schedule
So what have I decided? I’m going to be a bit more flexible. It will break up the story arc, but I’ll be able to write more often about the issues that feel important on that day, and I can write a two hour post (like this one) during a busy week and a six hour post (like part 2 of the Keyword Research series) when I have more time.
I’ll try to post at least weekly, but no more often than twice a week.
I’ll compensate for breaking up the story arc of building your own blog by creating a “Start Here” page that will bring new readers through process from beginning to end, and eventually compile and edit the posts into an e-book. There’s no reason to write the blog itself like it’s an e-book!
What’s your blog content scheduling strategy? Tell us in the comments below.
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