Note from Jon: This is a guest post by Dries Cronje from Productive Entrepreneur. If you’re like me, you often turn your nose up to guest posts on popular blogs, because most of them are by beginning bloggers who are still learning their chops, and so the posts kind of suck. Not so here. I couldn’t have said this better myself. It’s a freaking awesome post, and I encourage you to read every word of it.
Someone, somewhere, told bloggers to post every day.
So you do. And you give it your best shot.
But posting daily just doesn’t work for you. You don’t meet your traffic and income goals, you don’t get a flood of visitors, and your subscriber numbers stagnate.
Now you’re doubting your ability to be a successful blogger, and you feel like a sweatshop worker, working super-hard with no real reward.
The post-every-day strategy takes all the fun out of blogging.
Deep down, you suspect this strategy is downright dangerous. And you’d be right for the following reasons:
Daily Posts Destroy Social Proof
Social proof is evidence, left by your readers, that your blog is interesting, popular and worth reading.
Your subscriber count, number of comments, number of retweets, likes and +1’s show new visitors that other people like and endorse you.
Without social proof, getting people to subscribe to your blog is much harder.
By posting too often, and thus continually replacing the latest post, you reduce the amount of social proof that each post will get. Few people will expend their present effort on yesterday’s conversations.
If you publish a post every day it’s only up at the top of your blog for that day. If you publish a post only once a week, it would be at the top of your blog for a whole week.
And a post will get more exposure if it is up at the top for longer… People will interact with it more since it’s the latest, most relevant content for a longer period of time.
Daily Posts Destroy Reader Bonding
Do you read all your emails as soon as they arrive? Neither do I.
In fact, some of my subscription emails can remain unopened in my inbox for days.
When I see I have, say, four unread broadcast emails from a blog I like, I will often only read the latest one. I miss all those that I couldn’t get to during the couple of days after they arrived.
I’m pressed for time. And so are my readers. And yours.
If you post too regularly, your subscribers won’t get around to reading every post you write.
As a result, you miss an opportunity to bond with them with each post they skip. And you miss an opportunity for them to spread the word about your work too.
Daily Posts Destroy Subscriber Counts
By sending out posts via email too often, you’ll force some of your subscribers to unsubscribe. This is particularly true for less-popular bloggers.
Most people have too much to read and will thank you for posting less often — especially if the quality of your blog posts improves as a result.
Some of my favorite bloggers post as infrequently as once every month to six weeks.
Every post they write is excellent, and contains helpful advice that I can apply right away. I devour every article.
But I only read about one in ten of the posts from people who publish daily.
Scarcity breeds value. Abundance doesn’t.
What to Do Instead
By now, you should agree that posting on your blog daily is neither wise nor productive. Yet when you start seeing the benefits of not posting every day, you need something new and constructive to fill the void.
Sure, you can still think about and work on posts every day. You’ll just be publishing less often and spending your remaining time with the following:
1. Plan Your Posts… Wisely
A remarkable post is almost always a well-planned post. Crafting excellent content starts before you sit down to write.
You have to come up with an idea that people will like, so do your homework.
Look at popular blogs in your niche. Which posts do well?
Look for similarities between successful posts.
Once you have an idea, craft an excellent headline — one that will get the click. No use spending days writing a post if readers will just glance at it, or ignore it and carry on with their busy lives.
You have to give them incentive to click through. Tell them why they need to read your post. Give them a compelling reason in the headline.
What problem do they have? What useful solution does your post offer them?
It’s wise to test your headline with a mentor. A wise guest blogging mentor —someone you might know very well — refined and improved many of my headlines (including this one).
You only start writing after all this.
2. Life is short — Make It Count
Remember that scene in Walk the Line where Sam Phillips, the owner of a small recording studio and record label, gave a speech to Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two about the tired gospel-type song they were performing?
Sam stopped them from playing and asked if they had anything else, stating a song like that wouldn’t sell. Johnny didn’t like this, but Sam sketched the following scenario:
“You were hit by a truck and you were lying there in that gutter — dying — and you had time to sing one song. One song people would remember before you’re dirt. One song that would sum you up. You’re telling me that’s the song you’d sing? That same Jimmy Davis tune we hear on the radio all day… about your peace within, and how it’s real and how you’re gonna shout it? Or, would you sing something different? Something real. Something you felt. ‘Cause I’m telling you right now, that’s the kind of song people want to hear. That’s the kind of song that truly saves people. It ain’t got nothing to do with believing in God, mister Cash. It’s got to do with believing in yourself.”
Whenever you’re writing a blog post, ask yourself these same questions. If you had time for only one post, would your current idea be the kind people want to read, the kind that saves people?
If you post only once every two months, but the content is truly awesome, you will be much more successful than someone publishing crappy posts every day.
Make it excellent, interesting and worthwhile. Over deliver! Blow your readers away. That’s the only way to turn readers into raving fans.
3. Hit Publish, then Promote, Promote, Promote
Okay. So you wrote your article, and if it were the last one you ever wrote, you’d have no regrets.
You had it checked and edited, and it’s live.
Do you just move on and start a new post?
Now you have to promote the you-know-what out of it. And that could take as long as two weeks to do thoroughly.
Don’t know whom to tell?
Start networking with the five biggest bloggers in your niche or a related niche. Comment on their posts. Retweet their tweets. Purchase their products. Offer them your assistance.
Soon, some of them will notice you. They might even have a conversation with you on Twitter.
And then, when you tell them about a product of theirs that you reviewed, or a post that you’ve linked to, who knows? They might just promote your post for you.
They might even agree to do an interview with you.
I know this seems like hard work. I know it might take time. I know that it’s not a guaranteed payday.
But earning a solid income online is no get rich quick scheme. It’s called online business. It takes time and effort, but when it pays off, the rewards are awesome.
Nothing worth having comes easy, right?
4. Grow Your Online Business by Creating Valuable Assets
You shouldn’t post on your blog every day because you need to spend time creating assets to grow your business.
You should spend time conducting interviews with niche authorities. You should host webinars. You should create ebooks, all of which you can either sell or offer as free subscription incentives.
Your marketing efforts will pay off if you do. And a product that offers a clear solution to one of the pressing problems of your target market can make you good money for years to come.
Case Study: A Successful Post
Despite having built some successful blogs, I’m currently in the same boat as many beginners.
I have a brand new blog, with less than ten posts up. It’s in dire need of some attention, traffic and subscribers.
Recently, I posted a new article called 45 Kick-Ass Resources for Online Entrepreneurs.
It took me three weeks to nail the title of this post. And about two weeks to write the post.
On the day I posted it, it didn’t get that many visitors. But the day after that… Wow! The traffic soared.
According to Google Analytics, that single post brought me about 2,000 unique visitors over the ten days after I published it. It almost doubled my subscriber numbers too.
The overall traffic to my blog also leveled off at a significantly higher level than before this post.
People retweeted it 1,075 times, liked it 122 times, and +1’ed it 38 times. And it got 56 comments.
Yes, I know. That’s not so great in comparison to an A-list blog, but for a new one? One with only 3 posts at that stage? And for a relatively unknown author?
I was blown away.
If I had forgotten about that post right after hitting publish, and posted a new article the next day, I wouldn’t have gotten as much traffic or social sharing.
Brian Clark, Darren Rowse, and Chris Garrett probably wouldn’t have retweeted it. Johnny B. Truant probably wouldn’t have linked to it from his Copyblogger Weekly Wrap.
I promoted it. I told people about it — people I know online and who I have earned the right to speak to. I didn’t spam anyone with it. I didn’t ask for retweets or links from anyone I didn’t know.
But I knew it was good and helpful and the result of years of consuming online resources. And therefore I didn’t hesitate to ask others to share it.
5. Stroke Egos to Your Advantage
I admit. The post I highlighted in the case study used a crafty tactic. It employed the ‘ego bait’ factor — one that has viral written all over it.
Many people who saw their products listed in my post wanted to show other people that their products made it onto the list. So they shared it on the social networks and linked to it from newsletters and blog posts.
Does that make the case study less applicable?
I don’t think so. In fact, a clever blogger thinks about these things.
He realizes that certain factors make a post more attractive to other people and increase the likelihood that people will share it. And then he goes and writes a post specifically with that in mind.
It’s just another part of the strategic promotion game.
And using ‘ego bait’ is just one such strategy.
Derek Halpern tells how he regularly emails other bloggers to inform them about his Social Triggers articles.
He would point them to an article on a topic their readers might find interesting. More often than not, these people link to it. He has grown his subscriber list to tens of thousands of fans using this strategy.
Jon Morrow used guest posting to get 1,200 subscribers in one day! And who knows how many more subscribed over the course of the following two weeks.
These things don’t happen because these guys are in the right place at the right time.
They study content marketing. They study copywriting. They spend many days thinking about their post ideas and coming up with good headlines. They spend weeks working on their posts, improving them with each iteration.
And then they spend countless hours promoting their posts after hitting publish.
Go Pro, Baby!
Do you want to become a professional blogger?
Steven Pressfield says going pro is essential if we want to overcome self-sabotage. You need to let the world and yourself know that you’re serious, that you’re not in this merely for a couple of laughs.
You mean business. This is your life. And you have something meaningful to say.
A professional blogger doesn’t just write one boring post after another.
The pro has a vision. And he has a strategy to achieve his vision. He realizes that marketing is part of the game. He knows that a business needs promotional material, products, and sales letters.
He understands the problems of his target market. He knows how to communicate the benefits of the solution he offers.
He knows the difference between boring content, and the stuff that really matters.
A pro doesn’t just fall into a rut of daily posts hoping that someday soon his luck will change. A pro grabs his opportunity with both hands and does something amazing. Something worth talking about.
So, who do you want to be? For a smart blogger like you, the choice is obvious.
It’s time to start taking online business seriously.
It’s time to start writing posts that matter — posts that save people.
It’s time to start promoting your blog posts like your future depended on it.
Because it does.
About the Author: Dries Cronje is the founder of Productive Entrepreneur, a blog that helps online entrepreneurs work clever and hard to build a solid income. He’s the author of 10 Easy Steps to ‘Mission Accomplished!’ – Simple, Practical Advice for Completing Your Next Big Online Project.