Stop Writing, Start Planning

Not so long ago, A-list bloggers everywhere said that the best way to grow your blog was to publish every day. So, other lesser-known pro bloggers and new bloggers (and everyone else in-between) followed that advice to the best of their ability.

It resulted in far too many bloggers producing far too skimpy content far too often. It was an exhausting pace for a solo blogger trying to be heard. Not even readers could keep up. Inboxes swelled with unread content and the "delete" was button was used far too often.

Fortunately, times have changed.

Guess what?

You no longer have to publish constant content in order to grow a following and build your readership.

Grow Your Blog and Publish Less

Today, it is all about producing quality content. Helpful content. Valuable content. Remarkable content. Evergreen content. No matter what you want to call it, it's the type of posts that never go out of style. Like a classic novel that is just as fascinating today as it was one hundred years ago, these are the posts that matter.

And, yes, it does have to do a little bit with your grammar too. A post that is packed with grammatical errors and typos probably won't get the response you wanted. All those errors add up and make it hard to get lost in what you wrote.

Even Google is no longer interested in the wimpy less than 500-word posts that once a day content producers were sending out (and still are). Think about it and you can figure out why on your own.

Stumped? These epic posts exhaust a topic unlike the smaller posts that barely skim the surface.

There are plenty of bloggers out there right now killing themselves trying to publish one post each day. The problem? The posts are garbage.

Sure, there might be a valuable, useful post in the mix, but out of the multitude of tiny posts they are churning out each month, it's hard to find the good stuff in the noise.

That's the way their readers feel too. Publishing too many posts fills up a subscriber’s inbox with new material daily. How frequently do you read your favorite blogs? Do you read them every single day or do those new email subscriptions start to stack up until you delete earlier posts and skip ahead to the most recent content?

What about the bloggers?

Let's face it: some days you don't want to write. There isn't time, you were up late or too early or had interrupted sleep because of the new baby/puppy/loud neighbors/work/illness/children--you get the idea.

It's no wonder that so many blogs are abandoned each year. When faced with the prospect of such an unending mountain of work, who wouldn't want to throw in the towel?

So much content creation makes it near impossible for bloggers of any kind to focus on anything other than, well, blogging!

Do You Have Time for Anything Else?

With all of that writing, where is the promoting? If you are spending so much time writing a new post every day, when are you finding the time to promote what you wrote? What if instead of writing new content and spending a fraction of the time promoting it, what if you took the time you spent writing that content and used that time for marketing it?

Why not take a closer look at the social media messages you are sending? If you use MissingLettr, you are halfway there. But what if you took the time to optimize more of your associated images for the social networks where you distribute content? What if you made sure that the text for your social networks was the best that it could be?

What if you used the time you save writing by engaging more with the fans and followers you do have? What if you reached out to related influencers in your niche and started a conversation? What if you had the time to tackle those website fixes and finally update your social media network profiles and profile pics?

We might be onto something.

Writing Useful, Valuable Content

Your readers are busy. You are busy. Everyone is busy.

Don't waste time-theirs or yours. Only write posts that bring your "A" game. Otherwise, who needs it? No one.

You aren't writing a post just to write a post. Anyone could do that and does do that. But you have big goals, right? You are writing to build a brand, get your name out there, and grow your empire.

What happens when you race against time publishing a post each day without fail? You get sloppy. You cobble together a post because you "have to" and not even because you want to. It's obvious.

You likely include a slew of adverbs and adjectives to stretch your word count. Your prose isn't tight because you want to throw in as many words as you can to hit your target as soon as you possibly can. Sure, you might not do that with every post, but as time goes by, it's easy to fall into that trap as you rush to get it done just so you can begin on the next one.

It's kind of like that scene in the movie "Elf," when Santa declares that everyone did a great job so they celebrate for a moment, and then they begin work on next Christmas.

We aren't elves. It sucks the joy right out of writing.

While it might seem unbelievable, given the amount of publicity given to the whole "blog each day" thing, there is a link between the content you post, how often you post, and how many social shares, comments, and how much traffic head your way.

Unfortunately, there is no magic number of posts to write to achieve the best balance. Instead, like everything else having to do with blogging, you will need to figure out what number of posts works the best for your readers. You will have to decide how much fresh content needs to go up to achieve the maximum number of shares, follows, and engagement.

At least that isn't difficult.

Backing Off from an Overwhelming Blog Schedule

Pare down how much content you plan to create. Try fewer posts a week, instead of seven, try four or three. Measure the results. You know, actually look at your Google Analytics, take a look at your social networks, and take notes. What's working? What isn't? Is there a difference?

  • Compare the actual traffic to how much buzz your post is causing. Based on that number, decide if it is worth continuing at that pace, or if you can safely back off without anything too tragic happening.

Hint: you will likely be able to back off and enjoy more subscribers, fewer unsubscribes, and a more engaged readership after peeking at your data and optimizing your scheduling.

  • Pick specific days of the week when you want to post. Preschedule those posts ahead of time. It shouldn't be hard--you've been writing far too much for far too long already. But this time, only publish your best work. If it doesn't feel like it is quite there yet, you aren't in any hurry.

When your readers know what to expect from you, like how often you will send a new post in their inbox, your readers will make time for what you have to say. They will be ready. Your readers will no longer see a post from you in their inbox and delete it because they know more is on the way. They will welcome your latest efforts--especially when you start upping your writing game.

Creating Value

Your posts should be long, informative, and fun to read. Don't click "schedule" on a post unless it is well over 500 words. Those days of shoddy, too brief content is gone.

There are enough sloppy bloggers out there. You don't need to be one of them.

If you want to rank in the search engines, you must provide the quality content they aren't going to find anywhere else.

  • Chunk up the blocks of text with headings, bullet points, graphics, images, and whatever else you can think of.
  • Don't use more than three sentences per paragraph so it is easier on the eyes. Every so often, it's okay to use just a sentence on a single line to get their attention.

Made you look.

  • Ask your readers’ questions to get them thinking about what they are reading. See how that works?
  • Create a mind map to get started or start jotting down things that have to deal with your topic. See what your competitors are doing and then take it further. Most bloggers do the bare minimum. Don't follow in their footsteps.

You can do better. You can be better.

Make a plan. Plot out your content. Test what works. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Great content on the Internet is in short supply. Be one of the quality bloggers. Spend more time writing, proofing, and marketing, and see an increase in your blog's success.

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