There are currently nearly 2.5 million blog posts published every day. That number increases every day.
There are words everywhere. This doesn’t even include the 6,000 tweets a minute or Instagram captions. It might make you feel like you have to be putting words out more words.
You might start panicking and start pushing out a blog post every day, twice a day. Just throw some words out there.
The adage of quality over quantity has never been more appropriate. In fact, it is probably the worst thing you can do for two key groups: your customers and your Google rankings. First and foremost in that should be your customers.
For a smaller business, then there’s also the question of your own time and sanity. Running a small business is hard work. You have to be honest on the time you have available, about where your time is best used, and what resources you have to call on.
Here are the things I would be asking yourself to work out what’s the right habit for you, that you can commit to.
When do your customers need you?
Let’s be honest, most of us are not thinking of brands or businesses or products we need, or want to buy, 24 hours a day. We’re thinking about whose turn is it to do the washing up, whether there’s any milk left, is it possible that it’s 13 years since the original Incredibles movie or what hymns would you pick for your funeral.
Basically, all kinds of stuff. Very rarely about your business or brand or products.
But within that, there are occasions where your product could be part of what they’re thinking about. As a freelance writer I specialise in writing for food, drink, beauty and wellness businesses. In those sectors there are lots of occasions or thoughts that might be a trigger:
What shall I cook for dinner?
How can I make packed lunches less dull?
Is there any gin?
Why does my skin look so bleurgh?
So you want to be a consideration when they are asking themselves, or Google, that question. Now, what shall I cook for dinner is probably a more regular question than why does my skin look so bleurgh. You might want to make your content more regular, but the ways you do it could vary.
Ask yourself then, how often can you help your customers answer their problem or question?
How often do you have something interesting for your customers?
Be honest with yourself here. No one is as interested in your product or business as you are.
Even my love of Lilliput Dorset Gin is going to be nowhere near the interest levels of the team behind it. They must think of hundreds of things about that product and business every single. They don’t share 98% of those. When they do share stuff, like the view from their new bar, then I’m interested.
So you’ve got to be interesting for your customers.
But the other reason is that it’s part of Google’s quality measure. Google is looking for things like:
- Is it written by someone who knows their stuff, from an expert or enthusiast perspective?
- Is it going to be interesting to people visiting the site, or is it written just for rankings?
- Is it original?
If you’re not sure if it’s interesting to your customers, then ask them. For many small food and drink businesses, you’re meeting customers all the time at shows, or tastings. Ask them there. Ask in your social media channels. Failing all of that, ask a friend. Preferably the bluntest, most direct one.
How much time do you have to do it properly?
Not only do you have to tick the boxes above for Google, which will also tick boxes for your customers, then you also have to get some basic quality checks right. Google penalises spelling, typos, and grammar mistakes as well as broken links, so you’ve got to check all of that. On top of that, you’ve got to do things like finding high quality, copyright free images.
That idea of the blog post in 30 minutes? Myth.
Sorry to burst that bubble, but best to go into this with your eyes open. I wrote in more detail about that here. If you don’t believe me, think about if you’ve ever tried to cook one of Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute recipes. How long did it really take from starting out to washing up?
Think about the time for planning, writing, and checking each post. That times the number of posts you think you need will give you an idea of the time you need just to write it. Now you need to factor in time to promote your post, tell people about it.
There is no point taking the time to write quality content if you just leave it to sit on your blog. You need the time, or set up, to get this out and talked about. Get your social channels working hard for you. Add this time in.
Can you find that time, and is it the best use of your time in your business? I’m not saying that creating posts for your customers is a waste of time. It’s about whether you are the best person to do it, or are your skills more value creating on other things. Is your thing more about photography or video? This is really about playing to your strengths.
Can you commit to consistent posting?
Google loves consistency. Regular, consistent posting, even if that is once a month.
If your content is good, then your customers will love consistency too. I look forward to 6 pm on a Sunday when The High Street Deli newsletter comes out.
Pretty much without fail.
I only look forward to it because it’s interesting. I don’t look forward to, or look out for, the daily email from Gap. In fact, I’ve unsubscribed. I hope people look forward to the twice a month Content Catalyst from me, and my twice a week posts.
But at least my group know when they’re coming. I think I missed by a day this month on one newsletter. I misjudged my available time.
My recommendation, particularly to small business owners, is not to be over-ambitious or over-commit yourself. Better to plan on one great post a month than setting off and posting 4 in the first week, 1 in the second, then nothing for three weeks.
And planning is your best friend in establising your blogging habit. If you need some help, then you can download my guide to planning a month’s worth of content in 30 minutes here.
Only you can really answer what the right habit is for you. Don’t feel pressurised into doing something you can’t commit to. Less often, consistent, and high quality should be your aim.
So, what habit will you commit to? Or not. Don’t be afraid to say this is not where your time is best used, and so there might be other ways to do this.
Better to make the right decision for you, which will end up being the right decision for your customers too. Remember, quality over quantity, and consistent posting should be your aims.