March 4, 2010
There are a number of important factors that go into the production of a first-class blog. Quality of content, the layout of the page, how best to integrate video, formal versus informal tone, each of these is a decision that must be made during the creation of the project. That all comes before more esoteric concerns, which include the integration of meta tags, link building, traffic generation, and keyword/SEO implementation.
Yet underlying these important issues is one that many people wrestle with: How often should the thing be updated? Innocuous as it sounds, post frequency is actually vital to the success of any content project, and especially to blogs. Equally, it is a surprisingly complex decision that can involve numerous factors. Time, place, and availability of content all have parts to play in determining just how often you need to update your blog.
Finding the Right Frequency
Blogging is an extension of the principles of marketing. You want to get your content the exposure you feel it deserves, so you market it as best you can to cultivate an audience. This involves doing the legwork and research necessary to act on good information, and testing your ideas while allowing room for adjustment as you work and grow. Chances are you will not hit the right rate of posting immediately, and that is all right as long as you’re prepared to adjust when it’s required.
No single article can cover every eventuality of course, but we can break down a few core principles to get you thinking in the right direction. The key is to consider these ideas and extrapolate from them, using the other lessons you’ve learned, to build a solid, whole-picture approach.
1 – Make content king.
More than almost any other community, web users are keenly attuned to fluff pieces that don’t really say much. This isn’t true for 100% of the community of course, but those who can pick out an airy, pointless piece will almost invariably be sure to point it out, leading to some word of mouth you probably didn’t want. Don’t pick an update schedule that can’t live up to the content you have available. Stick to a schedule that you know you can provide a quality post for, every single time you sign on.
This has a twofold effect. One, it keeps the ‘pressure to post’ at a minimum. Content drives the posting, and you aren’t struggling every third day to come up with more information, or worse to rehash the information you’ve already posted. Secondly, it shows you have respect for the community, and keeps them interested and coming back.
2 – Set the time and day.
Even though the web never sleeps, a great part of the world still functions on a Monday to Friday, 9-5 schedule of sorts. Taking these rhythms into account can help you build the ideal web traffic for your project. For example, a blog focusing on home and family concerns and selling books related to it might not find as much of an audience during traditional business hours as during the time when people are at-home with their families. Granted this is only a rule of thumb, as many people surf the web for their favorite blogs during lunch breaks.
Another part of this element is the Monday-Wednesday-Friday cycle. Many business blogs and publications settle on a three-a-week update schedule, and the MWF routine works out very well for this. They’re all business days, and the schedule covers the start, middle, and end stretches of a workweek.
Of course since this ends up being something of the default, it means that Tuesdays and Thursdays end up with comparatively little content for people to peruse. Sundays suffer a lack of content as well, for the obvious related reasons. If you find yourself preferring less frequent, longer posts, consider a T-Th routine to take advantage of the ‘gap’ between other updates.
3 – Have a conversation.
One of the most interesting contributions to modern marketing is the blog comments section. Every blogging software out there has some feature for allowing or disallowing comments. As we’ve discussed before, consumer input can have an incredible effect on any brand, and blogs are no exception.
Taking advantage of this resource requires a certain amount of patience. Conversations develop in the comments section as people discuss, dispute, and debate the merits of what you’ve posted. In short, you need to not just let this happen, but cultivate the effect. Allow reasonable discussions to grow, and comment yourself on the more relevant points. Let the consumer know their input is being seen, and that you care enough to respond to it. Posting new blog posts too frequently overruns this tendency, and could rob you of vital feedback.
4 – Be nimble.
As we’ve mentioned, you are not likely to get it right just out of the gate. You may bite off too much to chew, or update too infrequently for people to care. Evaluate the data, ask your consumers questions, and be prepared to change as needed. Flexibility is the ultimate survival tool on the web, and your blog will benefit if you approach the affair with an open mind and a willingness to try several approaches. Pick an update schedule, observe it, and then experiment with others until you have the one that best fits your needs.
Enzo F. Cesario is an online brand specialist and co-founder of Brandsplat, a digital content agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, articles, videos and social media in the “voice” of our client’s brand. It makes sites more findable and brands more recognizable. For the free Brandcasting Report go to http://www.BrandSplat.com/ or visit our blog at http://www.iBrandCasting.com/