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The Warren Buffett Method for Building a Successful Blog

This guest post is by Aman Basanti of ageofmarketing.com.

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s method of deciding which companies to buy and invest in is not only instructive for share investors, but also for bloggers. His strategy can be used in the blogging world to create a successful blog—especially instructive for bloggers who are short on time and need to make every post count.

Buffet’s “Durable Competitive Advantage” concept

When Buffett analyses a company for potential, he looks for what he calls a “durable competitive advantage.” A durable competitive advantage is a unique product that has a strong competitive advantage in the market and does not have to change over time. In other words, he looks for a product that he can profit from over a long period of without changing it much.

Coke, for example, has a durable competitive advantage because it does not change over time. The same can be said for Budweiser, DeBeers Diamonds and OPEC. A car manufacturer, on the other hand, does not have a durable competitive advantage because cars change in design every few years.

Companies with a durable competitive advantage like Coke enjoy the following advantages over other companies:

  • They spend fewer dollars on research and design.
  • They do not need to retool their production line to cater for new models.
  • They have a long life span in the marketplace.

This means that more money is available for profits and re-investment, allowing more to be achieved with less.

Applying Buffett’s principle to blog strategy

Buffett’s strategy is a great strategy for time-deprived bloggers. Simply put, it states that rather than buying companies that have time-sensitive products—or writing posts that are time sensitive—buy companies who products are evergreen—or write posts that are evergreen.

Rather than building a news site, which is what many bloggers do, build a resource. Build a source of information for your chosen topic. Write posts that focus on principles rather than techniques. That way your posts will be as relevant in four years as they are on the day you write them.

On my blog, for example, all the posts are about principles of consumer psychology. Each post adds to other posts and completes the overall picture. When I am done, I will have covered most of the principles of consumer psychology.

Exceptions to the rule

This does not mean that you cannot write about time-sensitive topics. You absolutely can and should from time to time (topical posts can bring you a spike of traffic in a short period of time). But the bulk of your blog should comprise of posts that are timeless. This way, if you are only writing one or two posts a week, you are making every post count not just for that week but for months and years to come.

If your skill lies in acquiring and communicating breaking news and trends, this strategy is not optimal for you. Similarly, if you can find ways to generate a lot of content quickly through crowd sourcing (think Huffington Post, Wikipedia, and ProBlogger), this strategy is not necessary for you. If you have the time, skill and strategy to write time-sensitive posts, by every means do so.

But for the rest of us, who are short on time and need to get the maximum mileage out of our posts, concentrating on evergreen content is a winning strategy.

As Buffett once explained, “There is a huge difference between the business that grows and requires lots of capital to do so and the business that grows and doesn’t require capital.”

Translated into blog strategy, this means there is a huge difference between the blog that requires breaking news to stay relevant and make money, and the blog that grows because its posts are as relevant today as they were two years ago.

Which strategy do you use on your blog, and why?

Aman Basanti has written for a number of A-list blogs including ProBlogger, MarketingProfs and Business Insider. He shares his secrets to getting guest posts on A-list blogs in his new FREE e-book – Guest Posting Secrets: 25 Tips to Help You Get More Guest Posts. Visit Ageofmarketing.com/guest-posting-secrets to download it now for FREE (No opt-in required).

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Comments

  1. Hi Aman,
    I focus on making as many of my posts as timeless as possible.

    I place content in my site to keep it becoming an even greater resource site for information on how people can increase their health, happiness and prosperity through typically timeless action steps.

    Someday it may become a resource site for my children!

    If I have a hot time relative topic I want to share I will typically send it out to subscribers only but it will stay off the site.

    Enjoy a wonderful day,
    David

    • “Someday it may become a resource site for my children!”

      You know I never thought about the value of a blog as a way to record your thoughts and growth as an individual to pass on to your kids – pretty kool stuff.

      Maybe you should write a guest post about it. I don’t even have kids and I find that an original benefit of blogging. Many readers of ProBlogger do have kids and will find it interesting.

    • Monte says:

      “I place content in my site to keep it becoming an even greater resource site for information”

      That is how I view my blog on computer related posts, some are time sensitve in that a new virus only has a short effective peroid before the anit virus publishers catch up to it and kill it off but until then I try to warn my readers of the the threat.

      I also like your “Someday it may become a resource site for my children!” in the case of my blog it would also be a historical document because of the ever changing technology we get almost on a daily basis.

      Arman, a great post, something to think about when I write my next article: Will it be “evergreen” or “time sensitive”?

  2. Rob says:

    Hey David,

    An alternative to keeping it off the site altogether would be to create a category specifically for more time sensitive posts.

    This would allow you to share time sensitive content with as many people as possible without having to refer to it in any way in your archive pages.

    Rob

  3. Alyssa says:

    Hello. :) I’m very new to blogging; as such, I only post on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Time-sensitive material could benefit me if I were to switch to a more-frequent posting schedule, but since it takes me hours of work-time to create the two-posts-per-week that I currently have, I fear that it would put a hiccup in my editorial calendar.

    I appreciate this blog post because it will help me to be more aware of my content, how I utilize current information, and it can be something that I can take into consideration when I feel that I’m comfortable enough to publish blog posts more frequently. Thank you. :)

    • “Since it takes me hours of work-time to create the two-posts-per-week that I currently have, I fear that it would put a hiccup in my editorial calendar.”

      That is exactly why timeless posts should be your staple. I’m the same. I cannot seem to write, with the little time I have, more than 2 posts a week. I used to be able to write only 1 post per week but then I figured I did not need 1,200 word articles and was better off writing two ~700 word articles instead.

      Am glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Roblol says:

    I literally spent the afternoon brainstorming and thinking about topics to blog about. I’m in the infancy of my blogging career/hobby (hopefully it’s consistently profitable) and this was one thing I was considering. I was looking for a topic I could use as a part time secondary blog. I wanted to make as few posts as possible, but obviously put as much quality as possible into.

    *Long term relevance was one of the things I was prioritizing!*

    Thanks for the perfectly timed update, and as always for your fantastic tips and ideas. I got lucky and found your post as I first started blogged and read almost every post (a few are just too “advanced” and beyond the current potential of my blog.)

    • Dude I checked out your blog and it’s funny as! First the tag line is awesome – “Because the internet is hard”.

      Then the “Welcome to new and unimproved Roblol.com!”

      I wont get into the rest but yeh kool stuff.

  5. Haroun Kola says:

    Thanks for the tips, I especially like the idea about writing articles that stand the test of time. I’ll be writing more posts like that on my blog

  6. Steve Scott says:

    Amen,

    You make some great points for the enduring value of evergreen content. Creating those articles that stand the test of time is a great idea to really have content that is worthwhile!

    -Steve

    • And you should know. Your blog seems to be doing pretty well. I saw your income statements (hey you put them there hehe) – man that’s awesome. Congrats. You said you want to double that this year. How is that going? You finding the economy slowing you down or not?

  7. drsuzyyhall says:

    I’m a Gynecologist creating a blog on Women’s health concerns. Fortunately, most of our content is educational and therefore not time sensitive. We will run segments on current news in women’s health, and an open segment to discuss unposted items/topics to keep it active daily. Look for us soon
    GynoGroupie.com
    For now on twitter/FB @ drsuzyyhall

    • I think you have a good strategy. While the bulk of your content should be evergreen, being such a focused niche you could get away with having news and other topical content. In fact it will work really well for you given its such a focused niche.

  8. I am at the start of my blogging business/hobby and I must say I have never thought of blogging the way you have suggested on.
    Having said that, I have no intention to say that my blog contents are not of a quality extend, but more to say, I have never thought it would matter so much on the certain topics that I will be putting up online.

    It is obvious to me now that I will stress more to blog relevant topics that will prevail through the test of time.
    I want to make sure that the post I will be putting up will serve beneficially for people of today and in future to come.

    Thanks for the post. It has indeed broadened my knowledge in the realm of blogging. :)

  9. Sanford Hall says:

    Valuable info. I hope to build upon on my blogging journey. Thank you.

  10. Hi Aman,

    Creative insight here.

    Buffet thinks Big Picture, which is why he prospers. I focus on applying basic principles to grow your home based opportunity. Some technical posts, but the ideas behind the techniques never change. The tools go in and out of style but the principles are stressed, because principles never go out of style.

    Avoid the urge to grow your blog to massive proportions in 1 day, by pandering to headlines, or chasing current topics in industry. Provide timeless information. Set up a life-time prosperity stream.

    We all plan of retiring. Some of us want to hand our business or blog off to somebody else. Keep this in mind as you craft content for now, and the future.

    Thanks for sharing your insight!

    RB

    • And thanks for sharing yours.

      I think you’ve hit upon a great way to sum it all up – “The tools go in and out of style but the principles are stressed, because principles never go out of style.”

      It reminds me of an old saying in sales – Techniques are many, principles are few. Techniques often change, principles never do.

  11. Tom Ewer says:

    I am definitely all about trying to write “timeless” posts, the majority of the time. I put a lot of effort into my blog, and I don’t want the net result of that effort to be temporary reward.

    I definitely subscribe to the idea of teaching principles rather than techniques. Yes, I do teach technique, but I am of the opinion that is far more important, in the long run, to understand the underlying principles.

  12. Erin Feldman says:

    I like the concept of “evergreen content.” I usually use that strategy on my own blog for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t have the resources to keep up with the latest news. Two, writing based on the latest news often seems inappropriate, such as in the case of Winehouse’s death a month or so ago.

  13. This was an excellent post. It reaffirmed a strategy I was going for on one of my blogs, and trying to find a way to do on my other one. I’m also in the process of launching a third one and this concept was on my mind, but you gave me actual phrases to think about. Like remembering to keep it evergreen and how I’m not a “crowd sourcing” kind of place on any of my blogs. Super, super, super info. I really liked how you did this. (And nice title too. Catchy.).

    • Courtney,

      Thanks for your kind words. It’s always nice to know that someone took something out of the article. Often it’s not about learning new stuff but just having what you know re-affirmed. Too many shiny objects out there, good to re-focus on the basics sometimes.

      Thanks for the compliments.

  14. You make a really valuable point here. It’s too easy to chase headlines and think that being uber-topical is essential. I believe that basic principles are the key. On my site, the Inspiration Zone we’re focused on the timeless principles of inspiring success, which is why you’re as likely to read an article on Jim Rohn as you are on Gary Vaynerchuk.

    Thanks for reminding us about the value of basic principles.

    • “It’s too easy to chase headlines and think that being uber-topical is essential.”

      You are right Ash, looking at the big blogs it often seems that topical news style posts are the way to go. But not for everyone, especially not for individual bloggers. Glad you enjoyed it.

  15. Really great advice. I write about fine arts and while my posts relating to more current events do well, my reference articles related to art history get by far the most views every month. Someone is always searching for Da Vinci and Picasso!

  16. Unintentionally, my blog is created to provide content that is timeless. Your post helps me get a clear direction on planning the future of my blog.

    I have been telling and reminding my self that blog traffic is not built in a day. Loyalty is not earned in a day. This is something I learned from Buffet when I started learning to invest. You have to hold on and plan for long term.

    I like to help people and so my blog is all about focusing on one’s self and take control of the mind in daily things we do to live happily..

  17. FBSubmitter says:

    Common sense is my strongest business strategy and has worked pretty well for me as well as forward thinking. What will happen tot his industry of product a few years down the line. Will it fizzle or still be in demand?

    Mr Buffet uses common sense marketing, that is obvious and brand like Coke have established themselves to the point where its just a snowball. they come out with new products that the consumers does not take to but the old school “Coke” always is a winner. …and my personal fav soft drink of choice.

    Blogging is pretty much yakking about what is trending at the moment, some of us do this to keep fresh visitors coming to the blog, and you are right Amen, you need to have solid posts on your blog that will stand the test of time and leave a deep footprint for all to gain as a resource.

    * Tried going to your blog, but “Error establishing a database connection” keeps popping up! Guess your post here is overloading the server on your end. Will check it out later for sure.

    • Thanks for letting me know about the error. I had a look and there seems to be no problem. Maybe it was just a temporary problem. Am glad you think the guest post here is overloading the server on my end lol… Wouldn’t that be nice :)

  18. Robby G says:

    Great! I remember my first blog was a news-sensitive one and it was difficult to keep up, so I turned it into a wiki styled newsblog. Then I created another blog on dating, which were based on principles and techniques. This turned into a question and answer blog where people ask questions and I answer them, and since many people were asking different questions, it helped me create more content on various subjects on dating that I myself would never be able to think of simply because they were based on situations. Yet many new readers could relate and traffic grew.

  19. My main blog is a mix of news and evergreen contents. The resource type contents are always at the top of most visited posts. The news type get the buzz for a few days and forgotten. I’m planning on outsourcing the news update part of the blog (which is no picnic) and focus on creating evergreen contents.

  20. Daquan Wright says:

    I’m not yet blogging, but when I am, I will try to keep my posts in percentages of timeless and time-sensitive. I will be writing about technology, primarily web design/development but also hardware from time to time.

    Like mathematics/science/psychology, etc., I want my posts to be driven based on principles and applying time-sensitive techniques since it’s unavoidable in the tech world. As long as the user can grip the principle, the tech is meager.

    • Yeh your in a touch niche. It is so hard to resist being topical in tech because your customers are expecting you to be timely. I don’t know how you are going to handle it but good luck with it.

  21. Aman, Great article and nice comparison Buffett business world with blog sphere. Also, I like the Exceptions to the rule and really make sense. Thanks for the post.

    • Thanks Manickam, I thought it was important to list the exceptions so that readers knew when it was okay not to have evergreen content. Otherwise I would have got a firestorm of comments telling me that I was wrong. hehe

  22. jason morris says:

    Great article – I never thought of Buffets strategies as a blogger.

  23. James Greg says:

    The Warren Buffet strategy is really good and it gives long term profits, also the idea to use it in blogging is really unique and effective. I think business blogs lack this strategy as I’ve seen many business blogs are not updated timely which is really frustrating.

    However if applied correctly the blog will surely get better at ranking and viewership. The post is great and if people start applying it the blogging community will surely benefit.

  24. Hi Darren,
    This is a great article. The idea of writing principles rather than techniques is indeed very true. Thanks for sharing.

  25. The Warren Buffett method? Having billions of dollars in the bank would help.

  26. I agree to some extent, the method of building an evergreen blog is definitely a good one, I have gone down the route of news and things like reviews (altho I still review) and it does take a lot of effort, if I wasn’t full time in internet marketing and just part time it would be extremely difficult to stay on top of things, unless you had outsourcers.

  27. Thank you everyone for contributing. It was good to hear how different bloggers from different niches seem to use evergreen content to grow their blog.

  28. Amazed to see how you relate the Buffet’s style of investment into the blogging world. Time-sensitive products or topics are not as effective to stay on long term compared to those who give more punch on any specific theme on their blog.

  29. Tonychan says:

    Aman, Great article and nice comparison Buffett business world with blog sphere. Also, I like the Exceptions to the rule and really make sense. Thanks for the post.