We’re running a series to help anyone who’s blogging for a business. To see our first post, where we talked about the need to decide what your blog’s objectives are, click here.
There are many mysteries in life: black holes, for example, or the more mundane but no less puzzling question of where missing socks go (we suspect the two might be connected). Here at HN, one of the mysteries we’re most often asked about is: ‘how often should we blog’?
It’s an issue for marketing, PR and brand teams in organisations large and small. Even if responsibility for the content or writing of blogs is shared in the business, it’s usually the job of an individual or small group to ensure that the posts keep coming.
In part two of our ‘blogging for business’ series, we’ll be addressing the issue of blogging frequency, along with the related question of how to maintain your publishing schedule when there sometimes aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your other work done, let alone tend to the company blog.
Consistent regularity is the key to frequency
The most important factor affecting posting frequency is the need for regularity: consistency is the key. Setting a schedule that reflects a rate you can manage alongside your workload, and faithfully sticking to it — say, one post every Tuesday at 10 am — is beneficial to your blog for several reasons:
• It helps your readers know what to expect. Engagement is less likely if readers just don’t know how often to check back for something new. Obviously there is more to engage with if you’re posting more often, but it won’t last if you post daily for two weeks and then nothing for the next two.
• It helps whoever in your organisation is responsible for actually uploading blog content, if that’s not you.
• Search engine spiders like regularly changing content, too; it’s better for search engine optimisation to post once a week for four weeks, than to post daily for four days and then nothing for a month.
By setting up a measured pace that avoids having to rush posts to meet a schedule that’s too much for you, you’ll also find it easier to produce quality content. This, too, will endear you to your readers and to Google’s ranking algorithms.
Why do you blog?
Another factor influencing the frequency with which you publish is the objective of your blog. Are you aiming for lead generation? If so, then you may want a relatively heavy publishing schedule, but with shorter content, to ensure that your audience sees you. If you’re sharing knowledge with an interested audience in order to be recognised as an expert in your industry, then you may want to publish less often but dive into more detail with each post.
Clearly you need to consider your blog’s objective alongside how often you can reasonably manage to post. If your objective calls for daily posting, you’ll need to put in a sound process for getting that done without sacrificing quality. If there’s no way you can post more often than once a month, don’t set an objective for the blog that is doomed to fail with that level of publishing.
How to maintain a steady stream of posts
If you think you’ve got it in you to create a new post every week then, for the first few months at least, we’d recommend posting fortnightly. This will enable you to build up a ‘hopper’ of posts which, if your work schedule suddenly means you can’t spend any time on the blog for a few weeks, can be a real lifesaver. As we’ve said, it’s all about consistency; if your blog ‘goes dark’ for even a few weeks (or months, if you post monthly), your audience may begin to lose interest.
With a hopper of blogs up your sleeve you can schedule posts in advance. This will provide necessary breathing room for busy times, or times when inspiration is thin on the ground. Don’t let the schedule be a dictator, though; be willing to adapt it to respond more immediately to relevant events as they occur (assuming you can make the time to do so).
One way to help fill the hopper and increase the regularity of blogging is to outsource blog writing to an agency, or to guest bloggers such as customers, suppliers or outside experts (there are other benefits to using a guest blogger; keep reading this series to find out what they are).
In our next post we’ll be taking a closer look at understanding your blog audience. In the meantime, if you’ve got questions about how frequently you should publish posts on your blog, why not leave a question in the comments box? Alternatively, drop us a tweet on Twitter, or find us on LinkedIn — the links are at the bottom of the page.