Two bloggers meet in a smoky bar…
They’ve both been at it for years. Veterans. Each growing giant readerships, respected and renowned by their peers. Both writing on similar topics. One, however, seems burnt and harried, while the other is kicking back enjoying life. And on this night, in the veiled anonymity of the bar, lubricated by a bit of booze, a confession tumbles forth…
“Sometimes,” says one, “I go without it for weeks…even months.”
“No way,” comes the reply, “if I miss a day, it’s like the world is ending.”
“Damn shame,” says the first one, “but you did this to yourself…”
By now, of course, we all know what they’re talking about…post frequency!
For years, there’s been a raging debate about how often you need to post to pattern your readers’ expectations and consistently grow your blog.
I’ve written about blog post frequency and size along with many others. And, even noted how 95 of top 100 blogs post many times a day. After watching some pretty interesting experiments, though, I’ve come to a conclusion…
Post size and frequency don’t matter nearly as much as Post-Fungibility.
Let’s look at two telling examples…
ThinkSimpleNow.com, written by Tina Su, launched in September 2007. Tina only writes once a week…max. And, there have been times where she’s literally shut her blog down for months while she travels overseas. Knowing little more than this, you’d figure her readership would be razor thin. Spotty at best. But, as I write this, only 2 years into blogging, she’s rocking more than 15,000 subscribers and she hasn’t posted in over 2 weeks!
What gives? Tina understands something very powerful.
Frequency matters most when your content is fungible with what everyone else who shares your niche writes. So, instead of throwing out rehashes, tips and spins as do many others in the wildly crowded “personal development” niche, she writes only when she’s got something deep and unique to share. And, if you thought my posts were long, Tina’s the queen of mega-posts.
So, her readers stay with her because they know, even if they have to wait a while, it’ll be worth it. Plus, she also does two key things that let her blog thrive with minimal content injection.
One, her content is so long and evergreen, new readers can stumble upon it and connect with it, even though it may have been written months (or years) ago. Nod strongly taken from StevePavlina.com. Two, Tina does something a lot of really savvy info-marketers do…she buries her post dates in small type at the very end of the post, which gives new readers the opportunity to “not” pre-judge her content as stale because the date is old.
So, Tina can write a couple of times a month, travel at will and continue to build a giant following.
Now, contrast that with another blogger I know in the same niche, a/k/a, the one who has to do it daily.
We’ll call her/him Charlie to protect the disgruntled. Charlie runs a very well known blog, has been at it for more than 5 years and has a bigger readership. Charlie’s approach is more self-help/lifestyle tips. And the blog is updated at least once a day, often times more. This leads to a huge content creation burden and the need to bring in paid writers and contributors. Sounding like fun, yet?
And, because the content is far less unique and far more fungible with other lifestyle tip based blogs, readers become patterned to view Charlie’s blog as more of a daily reminder of what they know they should already be doing, along with the occasional good insight. With content that’s less than mission-critical, readers don’t value the blog as much as Tina’s and the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” applies far more to Charlie’s blog than to Tina’s. Because of this, Charlie has shared with me that any day on the blog without a new post is a day where subscribers are lost.
It’s the Fungible/Frequency corollation—the more fungible your content, the more you have to rely on frequency and exposure to keep yourself in front of people and growing. The less fungible and more original/unique your content, the less frequency matters. Readers will wait however long they need to in order to get the long, deep, down and dirty stuff.
There’s one more big consideration, too…your money model.
If your model is based purely on ad-revenue, then daily traffic really matters. You need the exposure and the clicks. If your model is based more on developing a long-term consistent readership/list and then serving solutions into that list, then frequency doesn’t matter nearly as much. Something else to consider when deciding whether you’re a “need it daily” blogger or not.
As always, just thinking out loud.
Where you do stand?
What’s YOUR model?
And, do you really need it every day…
…or is really good, but less often good enough to keep you chirping along?
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