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Preventing Blog Burnout

The following post has been submitted by Dan Zarrella from TomKatCrazy! (one of the new celeb blogs over at b5media).

We’ve all heard the normal tips about establishing a regular posting frequency and finding a tight niche to focus on, but as we start posting to more and more blogs it becomes important to prevent blogging burnout when posting to 5 blogs a day. The best way to do this is to plan for sustainability.

When picking a topic or niche most general wisdom indicates that you should focus as tightly as possible to really cover the subject well, but it is easy to select a micro-niche that won’t provide much material and will leave you hovering over the keyboard or scouring your feeds trying to figure out what to post. This was something I thought about when planning my TomKatCrazy blog, but it soon became obvious that between the baby, the wedding and all the gossip I would have plenty to write about. On another blog of mine, GuerillaScience, I started out with a more general anti-authoritarian focus which proved to be too wide of a topic for me to cover comprehensibly without dedicating all of my time to it. I tried narrowing it down to only Boston-specific anarchist news but this was way to tight of a niche and I found I had nothing to post most days. I’m in the process of finding a nice balance between locally relevant stuff and a more wide range of news.

Another thing that has helped me in dealing with posting on multiple blogs is establishing a routine. Most days once I get settled at my desk, I read my email, then start looking at my feeds, I’ll usually find a few things in my 100+ subscriptions that is a good match for one of my sites, and I’ll post about that. After I slog my way through what can sometimes be an overwhelming amount of posts, I start looking to “plug the holes”, that is find stuff to post on the blogs I haven’t yet posted on that morning. Once I get a single morning post on my all (or most) of my blogs, I carry on about my daily work and if I happen across something during the day I post it. Here’s where topic selection becomes important again. If the topic isn’t something I’m reading about and dealing with on a regular basis it becomes more difficult to maintain a 2 posts a day frequency (which is normally what I try to stick to). Since I do SEO as a day job, I often post on ideas I’ve had during the course of my day to my SEO blog, websearchnews. This is another way to handle a wide focus, there is no way I could cover all search engine relevant news everyday and find a unique voice in the saturated SEO blog space. So posting on things that I’m actually working on or news that is relevant to my experiences I’m able to differentiate myself from the crowd and deliver involved and informed posts.

Perhaps the best way to reduce blog burnout and create a sustainable blog is to develop a community, either via a healthy commenting culture or by inviting others to co-blog with you. Discussion stimulates interesting posts and worthwhile reading. This is something I’m still working on with my blogs and it is one of the harder things to develop well. A blog like Threadwatch is a very good example of this, as is Nick’s new project, Performancing. In this case the majority of the content is generated by a group of people, all involved in discourse.

Remember, while posting to your blogs 10 times a day will be highly rewarding, if you get quickly burned out and stop posting all together, that’s worse. It is more important to develop a structure by which you can reliably and sustainably deliver useful content to you blogs.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Thanks, am showing this article to my group blog partners to make sure the fire will stay lit :)

    Mike

  2. Dan says:

    Mike: thanks for appreciating my article like that. I’m still not the best at this sort of thing but I feel its a process not a destination. I’d love to hear what your group thinks.
    -Dan

  3. Cary says:

    A timely post, Dan :)

    Blog burnout is a very real problem…I recently went through something similar, so I took nearly all of December off (not completely, but I only posted when I felt like it,) and I’m very much enjoying my blogging again now that I’m back at it. I think the break was much needed!

    In fact, I’m now trying to do pre-posting whenever I have a chance, and that way I’ll be in a better position to take vacations, etc. in the future without having to worry about keeping my blogs going.

    I think it’s important to be disciplined, but it’s also important not to feel guilty when you don’t meet your posting goals…feeling guilty just makes you want to do it even less…

  4. brad says:

    Interesting article, however, clicking through to your blog sites helped drive home a point for me. I have the opinion that there is very little original content being generated. Rather, most of the blog sites I have run across are “meta” sites, or simply portals that identify other’s original content and comment on it. Your sites seem to be this way – mostly comments on news articles that are already in the public domain. Not that this is bad, but I’m just trying to point out the difference between an information portal (or consolidator) and a site like ProBlogger that actually generates original content.

  5. Chris Howard says:

    What Cary touches on about pre-posting is really useful. If you find your blogging goes in bursts, pre-posting can smooth things out a bit.

  6. varun says:

    HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR 2006

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] There is a good post over at ProBlogger about Preventing Blog Burnout which is worth a read if you plan on doing this blogging thing for the long term. [...]