Why I’m Changing My Blogging/Email Frequency
When I started out writing blog posts, the standard advice for building an online presence was to publish frequently, to encourage audience engagement. Experts advocated blogging daily, or at least three times a week.
Heck, I figured once a week would be a stretch. And at first, it was. The frequency became a personal challenge: Could I come up with something to say every week?
The answer was yes, I could. Challenge accepted and lesson learned.
Gradually, I came to cherish the discipline of publishing a blog post each week. These blog posts become emails to my Writing Practices email list, going to writers of all types who sign up on my website.
But the commitment came at the expense of time on other writing projects, including guest blog posts and larger projects like books. Lately I’ve been thinking that this schedule doesn’t serve my readers’ needs, or my own. Perhaps, in this situation, less is more.
The Three Variables: Length, Frequency, and Substance
Any writer who blogs or sends emails to followers must find their personal balance of these three variables: length, frequency, and substance. There is no single right answer – just one that works for you and your audience.
Here’s how I’m juggling those variables:
Length: I’m a long-form writer at heart. I love writing books, and enjoy composing long, substantive posts. I can’t help myself. But these posts take more time to create, and for the recipients to read.
Frequency: Forget about all of the truisms of how often to publish – consider what makes sense for your audience. You want to show up:
- Often enough so that people remember who you are and why they subscribed to the blog or email list in the first place.
- Not so often that you are annoying.
These are subjective measures, based on your content and your audience.
This second point (not being annoying) is particularly important for people who subscribe to your blogs by email. There are few people outside of my own family that I would want to get emails from every day.
Substance: What value do people get from opening your emails or reading your blog posts?
My primary, personal goal is generating content that helps other writers. That means investing thought, care, and research into the content I create. Publishing weekly leaves me less time available for creating substantive work.
Three Reasons I’m Cutting Back to Every Other Week
With that background, these are my three key reasons for cutting back to every-other-week posts on writing.
#1: The Next Book
Time spent writing blogs is time not spent working on the next book.
I have heard people recommend that you “blog the book.” I don’t agree. Unless you’re Seth Godin and can package blog posts into books that sell, don’t try to blog the book.
We read differently online, hence as authors we must write differently.
This post from Jane Friedman basically says it all: Please Don’t Blog Your Book.
Blogging can be part of the writing process, giving you an opportunity to work through and explore topics or share research you discover. But the weekly drumbeat of blog production can steal time away from the deep work of researching, drafting, and revising a book.
#2 Information Overload
A friend told me recently: “I save your blog posts in my inbox, then read them on the weekend when I have time.” My email open stats indicate that she’s not the only one.
One person’s words of wisdom are another person’s overload.
I feel guilty when I delete emails without spending time on them. So it pains me to think that I’m inflicting that problem on other people. That’s a strong argument for dialing back on frequency.
#3 It’s Trendy
Hubspot published a list of 8 Digital Marketing Trends Set to Expire by 2018 recently. #3 on their list of obsolete practices is focusing on quantity instead of quality in blogs.
We’re all feeling these same pressures. Content Marketing Institute isn’t publishing blog posts on the weekend anymore.
This is one bandwagon that I’m happy to jump on!
It’s Your Turn
What important projects do you hope to accomplish, whether writing or something else? Can you find something to pare back on, to make room for that long-term work?
To do more work that matters, do less of the ordinary.