In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott shares a childhood story in which her brother was frustrated with a large research project on birds. The advice he received from their father is exactly the advice that we would give to any business trying to build an online presence through blogging today: “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
If you’re questioning how often a business should blog, you probably know that blogging is a proven way to increase website visits, support brand recognition, engage your target audience, and attract targeted leads. Perhaps you’ve spent a night or two banging your head on the desk, realizing that stringing words together is much harder than most assume. Perhaps you break out in a sweat every time you think about how time consuming blogging is, so your blog has been sitting empty or in disastrous order for months (or years?).
Blogging is a long-term marketing strategy that requires an investment of time and considerable talent, but there isn’t a lot of guessing involved.
Your birds are your blog posts, and the best way to build a powerful flock that delivers results is to focus on crafting and posting them one at a time on a consistent schedule. We understand that you might not have that time investment, or the inclination to write. That’s why we’re here. We write the blog posts for you, so you don’t have to.
One Magical Word
In a June 2015 Blog Marketing Institute post, Joe Pulizzi identified a single word that has the power to improve results seen from any business blog: patience. He revealed that many business blogs are ineffective because they aren’t given enough time to secure a loyal audience. He notes that it can take a year or longer to create that following, but many businesses pull the plug on their efforts after just a few months. In addition, many businesses aren’t consistent enough in posting to keep a solid readership entertained.
Before you start churning out blogs and watching for results, soak up what Pulizzi’s saying:
1. Your blogging efforts should focus more on pleasing and informing your readers rather than on increasing profits. If your posts feel like advertisements rather than opportunities for enlightenment and entertainment, you will never develop a dedicated audience willing to visit often and share your posts on social media.
2. Expect to blog consistently for at least a year before you determine the effectiveness of your content. Consistently is the key word there. So how often should a business blog? It doesn’t matter how many posts you present each month if you aren’t delivering them to your audience on a predictable schedule. A flock of 10 birds flying at your readers on one random day each month is not nearly as effective as one elegant bird drifting into sight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Set a posting schedule. Commit to consistency for at least one year. Listen to Joe and embrace your inner patient child.
Two Magical Numbers
Business blogs on Hubspot that published at least 11 posts each month received two to three times as much website traffic as those publishing just one or fewer posts per month. They also received approximately twice as many leads as businesses posting less often. Large companies with more than 200 employees only had to post six or more times each month to nearly double the number of leads produced by less consistent blogs.
The data also revealed that businesses started to see the best results after they accumulated more than 300 posts on their blog. If you post 11 times each month for the next year, you’ll add 132 posts to your collection. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to blog for three years to start generating leads, selling products, or increasing brand awareness. It just means that you have to think long term and allow your blog to prove its worth with time.
While these numbers varied slightly depending on the size of the company and whether they were B2B or B2C operations, the numbers still reflect the power of remaining consistent with your blogging efforts. They also give you a general guideline for determining your ideal blogging frequency. Your next step is to turn these guidelines into a blogging process that suits your business.
Three Magical Questions
While you may make it your goal to post at least two or three posts per week to reach that magical number 11, many businesses are now blogging at least three or four times every week. Some even blog daily. We don’t always give you homework, but we’re going to ask you to answer three questions today:
1. What specific goals do you want to achieve through blogging?
You may only need to post two or three times a week if your goal is to enhance your search engine optimization results or pull traffic to your e-commerce site from social media sharing. On the other hand, you may need to post daily if you want to encourage interaction with your target market or use your blog to build your reputation as the expert in your field.
2. Which days of the week are best for your blogging efforts?
Identifying your goals should make it easier to determine how many posts you want to give your readers each week. The next step is to select specific days of the week that you commit to writing and presenting those posts. Keep in mind that you can write your posts on one day and use plugins to automatically post them to your blog on specified dates in the future.
3. What resources will you use to ensure consistency?
Determine who is in charge of writing and posting your blogs, and then find apps or other resources that ensure the job is done efficiently. Of course, the most valuable resource you can tap into is Blogmutt. You can take it one bird at a time, or we can provide a flock of posts to get your blog up to that magical 300 posts in no time.
If you’re overwhelmed or concerned about the time that it may take to keep your blog updated, forget about the larger picture. Commit to posting on specific days of the week, and then focus on one blog at a time. Small accomplishments add up quickly as long as you keep the birds flying consistently.