Time to take a little break from politics. One of the key questions I, like most bloggers, have faced recently is how often to post. There’s a ton of good information and opinion on this topic, but I’ll start with what most of the professionals say and contrast it with what I say.
The pros say post frequently — maybe every day — and maintain a firm, consistent schedule so your readers know what to expect and can get it whenever they check in.
Or you can be like me: don’t worry about the principles in the above paragraph, as that’s primarily an approach geared toward audience-building and profit-making. Just do what’s right for you.
Because being a faculty member is generally more than a full-time occupation — I usually complete a work-related task or two before breakfast and morning family duties, then end five or six days each week with grading, class prep or other work between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. — I’ve mostly just hoped to make time for more blogging over the past several years.
It took me some time to realize my blog’s specific purposes and audiences, but now that I’ve done that, moving forward with my plans has not been easy. I’ve probably become too serious about my blog, having spent most of my days of summer unemployment — no, UWSP faculty don’t get paid in the summer — working at least a little on my blog and probably averaging around 25-30 hours a week on it.
That includes lots of research, writing, revising and seeking good visual elements to link to my posts. I’ve been particularly obsessive about research and revision, as many of my posts have been outspokenly political in nature and thus potentially risky, so I’ve worked at backing up my opinions and often sat on posts to consider the consequences before publishing.
I’m pleased to write that I haven’t killed any ideas yet. I’m not so pleased with my lack of efficiency, which is one of the reasons I’ve decided to shoot for either two or three posts per week, perhaps on a Tuesday-Friday schedule or a Tuesday-Thursday-weekend schedule.
For me, the major consideration in my posting schedule and blogging strategy is the contact I already have with most of my intended readers. It’s primarily a local group of faculty and other citizens who are concerned with the same issues I am; many of them I’ll see personally and at least somewhat frequently. I’m counting on at least some of them to share my words with each other.
Still, it’s important to communicate with them virtually, and that’s what the majority of this blog is about, at least for now.
I’ll also do some occasional promotion of or class material for my upcoming Australia and Yellowstone classes; the quantity of that copy will ebb and flow, and I’ll be able to reach much of my audience for those trips through classroom visits and, to a lesser extent, social media.
When I teach my “multimedia for journalists” class in the fall, I’ll include more information like that on the links below that try to convince bloggers of the need for disciplined, highly planned, ambitious, research-based blogging for business purposes.
Most of the info I share will be of hypothetical interest for most of my students, but at some point, at least a few of them will probably need to follow the advice below. For them, here’s a quick summary of some key points.
- How often should companies blog? This post says daily. That means lots of content, lots of writers, and probably both, unless someone is being paid to do nothing but blog. The assumption is that there is money to be made and that requires rigorous commitment.
- No, really. How often? This one, by a book designer, says 2-3 times a week, or maybe daily, but it depends on your goals. The big take-home point is to get a good plan, but it also looks at the rationale behind several different strategies.
- Another one that says much of the same thing, but I selected this link because the post really encouraged me to think about my particular audiences and how I’d interact with them. Like the others, it highlights scheduling.
- And, in the event that folks are able to get really serious about integrated social media strategy, here’s a piece telling you how much to blog, tweet, pin and otherwise socialize your way to fame and fortune.
Me? I’ve also started scheduling my blog, although only for a few weeks at a time and with flexibility built in. For now, I’m happy not being so caught up in the blog-publishing treadmill that I can’t hop off when it’s too fast and furious. It’s not my plan to publish seven times weekly or be worried about hitting a thousand clicks daily. These are, after all, my days off, and I will be trying to have at least a little bit of real-world fun to balance with my virtual-world writing.