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Mastering the Art of Slow Blogging

This guest post is by Kelly Kingman of Kelly Kingman Media.

Several years ago, I hired a personal trainer and we’d work out in the park near my apartment. One day she had me run the loop around the park and noticed that I had difficulty keeping a consistent pace, I would stop and start a lot. She suggested that I run slowly (which she claimed was smoother than jogging—running experts, feel free to debate). The result was that instead of being either in a short-lived sprint or an exhausted, limping jog, I could sustain a smooth, slow running pace by dialing down my intensity.

How many people start a blog and then quit after two months?

When you take off blogging at a sprint, posting daily or even three times per week, your idea generating and writing muscles can cramp up pretty quickly. Over the past three years, I found that not only do I prefer to post irregularly—I average about every two weeks—it keeps me from burning out. I’ve even taken a month off from time to time. For example, I took November off to complete a content-creation challenge. I haven’t posted in weeks because my new website isn’t ready yet. (Stop gasping in horror.)

Fast blogging can lead to “content inflation”

Economic inflation causes our currency to be worth less. Content inflation is what happens when your content decreases in value—you have more of it, but it’s not that powerful or interesting. When we’re so obsessed with posting frequently, we risk churning out less than exciting stuff, and this can water down our brand.

My blog exists primarily to support my claim that I write well, know what I’m talking about and have interesting ideas to add to the conversation. I don’t want to fill my blog so full of content-for-content’s-sake that it’s hard to find the good stuff. Plus, most of us are better writers when we are expressing something we feel strongly about or just had a flash of insight, and that doesn’t happen every day.

Spend your energy wisely

Less-than-great posts aren’t the only possible side effect of forcing yourself to blog all the time, you could be sabotaging your other efforts. Are you spending all of your energy blogging to the point you have nothing left over for other creative content? Are you lagging on client work because you’re blog must be fed? If you spend some time thinking about your business goals, it may make sense for you to slow down or take some time off and write that ebook or give your newsletter a little more love. The world will still be here, so will your subscribers.

I spent most of December creating pre-launch content for a new course that I am launching this month (about, surprisingly, how to build your online business without killing yourself). I am taking my sweet time to create a great opt-in offer for my new site, and in the meantime I want to keep my email list engaged by sending a newsletter two times per month. This all takes work in addition to working with clients, and I’m only human. While I actually do love blogging, I try to keep it as a piece of the bigger picture.

Create a web, not a stream

Much is made of creating a steady stream of traffic to your blog, but in order to practice slow blogging you’ll want to create a web of presence. If your blog is the only place you’re consistently showing up online, then as soon as you take some time off you’re essentially invisible. I’m not just talking about social media, but about an email list, a network of affiliates, maybe a Facebook page and guest posting opportunities. Diversifying the places where you connect with your target audience online will reduce the pressure to constantly be updating your blog.

Is blogging your business model or your marketing?

There’s an important distinction to make here, and that is one of business model. The reason I can blog at a casual pace is because I don’t base my business on volume of traffic. Income that is generated directly from my blogging, in the form of product sales or affiliate commissions, is far less than the income I receive from working for clients or from my own products (for which others are affiliates).

I couldn’t even tell you how many people visit my blog on a regular basis, I never check. I focus my energy on making connections with people on social media platforms and converting visitors to email subscribers. Content is key, of course, but I make sure it gets to people on my email list first, and then the blog. When you’re small (and even after you get big) having a healthy email list—one that’s fed a steady diet of good content—is critical. There are always exceptions to any rule, but for the majority of Internet-based businesses, this is true.

Blogging is a marathon

If the tortoise and the hare taught us anything, it’s that good things come from a sustained, if slower, effort. In the end, blogging once every two weeks but keeping it up for three years will give you about the same total number of posts as posting daily for two months, but the cumulative impact is likely to be much greater.

The good news is that there’s no such thing as a perfect frequency for blogging. The bad news is that sometimes without a schedule, you might not find the time to post at all. The key with blogging, as with just about everything, is finding the balance that works for you. If you find that having a set schedule can actually help you stretch your imagination and come up with good ideas, by all means go for it. But if you find you dread blogging because you “have to,” it might be time to try your hand at the art of slow blogging. Your blog, and your readers, will thank you.

Kelly Kingman is a content strategist and visionary who will blog sometime soon at her new site, but don’t hold your breath. In the meantime, she’s just explained and mapped, online business models that work despite a lack of traffic, for a new course she’s co-teaching called the Way of the Peaceful Entrepreneur.

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Comments

  1. Michael says:

    thanks for this, I heard the more you blog the better it is for business, but the idea felt fishy in light of content, this shows my gut was right!

  2. This is a good post keep up the good work

  3. Meggie says:

    This is something I have struggled with, especially since I get excited about a new project and I want to do everything at once, and I will go from that to my day job picking up and not being able to write anything for weeks. I have been able to offset this a bit by writing as much as I can when I get the urge, and scheduling the posts for a future date, so that they post at a regular basis.

    • Kelly says:

      That’s a good strategy I like doing bursts of writing, too. I basically wrote really rough drafts of a lot of post in November so I can just edit and post as needed. Having a “well” of posts already written is always a good ide.

  4. Hey Kelly!

    Great Post. I personally blog only for two reasons: to get my thoughts out and gain some clarity and to improve my writing. That’s it.

    The reason so many people quit is because they are blogging for the wrong reasons (ie: to make money, to build a brand, to become the next pro-blogger).

    Forget about your RSS subscribers. Write for yourself. End of story.

    Thanks
    Dilanka

  5. @TaukehKedai says:

    Thank you for sharing the idea of slow blogging. I like it because even I set myself to write once a week, eventually it become tougher to keep up nowaday.

  6. Hi Kelly,

    How you choose to spend your energy dictates how you spend your life.

    All acts are high or low energy. Feel inspired to write a helpful post each day? Write each day. Maybe you can force out a post or 2 – we are all human ;) – but your energy means everything. Most posts should feel inspired to you. If not, you are forcing it, and force negates.

    I post daily. I enjoy posting, so I write. If this feeling subsides, I stop posting for a bit. I know my energy might be low on some days, so I might write a shorter post. Most of the time though I feel inspired to help, churn the post out, feel good about it, and I prosper.

    If I note a pattern of not feeling good, I am doing the wrong stuff. Do I stop doing this stuff.

    Patience wins. It’s an energy game, not a time game. By being patient in shifting your energy to a higher vibe, moment after moment, you naturally move into more consistent high energy acts, bringing high energy results.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Kelly.

    RB

    • Kelly says:

      I love your approach, Ryan, it’s so true that energy is everything.

      Something you reminded me of is how it can be really inspiring to connect our blogging to a purpose beyond ourselves — helping others. When I can connect with that feeling it seems to give me an energy boost.

      Thanks for sharing.

  7. Saqi R. says:

    Slow blogging does make sense just like your article makes sense.
    Thanks a lot for sharing.

  8. So many great points! I love your Way of the Peaceful Entrepreneur! and the map is awesome. Thank you for this post!

  9. vienchinh says:

    Thanks, i was lost when fast blogging

  10. Dee Bee says:

    I’m very glad to read a post like this, it enlightened me! Since it was a common advice that “content is king”, my mistake when I started is to write blog post frequently to populate the blogs on my site, my stupidity made me think of quantity, not quality. It was not a good idea though, like what you said, I felt exhaustion at that time. That was an old mistake, right now, I also believed that posting a blog slowly and smoothly will result to better and higher quality of blogging.

  11. suraj says:

    My target is 2-3 posts a week but due to study reason can’t update my blogs. Feel good to hear slow blogging also works.

  12. Johan says:

    I tried to post once a day last month. It succeeded but only for the reason you mention namely weaker content then when should like to post. A daily schedule works only if you are in a team of bloggers or have many guest bloggers.

    After many trail and effort I am set for a two to three times a week posting schedule. Less then once a week I find weird because people are quick to declare a blog dead and move on to other blogs.

  13. The idea of stability I like, but the idea of running posts on my blog only once every week or two I don’t like as much. I did trim down my attempted schedule to twice a week, but I think slower than that wouldn’t suit me.

  14. I often have to remind my friends that blogging is a marathon and not a sprint. Although after 4 years I still feel like my blog hasn’t made the best progress.

    • Dave Doolin says:

      I’m pushing the 3 year mark, Michael, and know just how you feel. I waver between dropping it entirely as a sunk cost, and considering another round of full-on activity. Currently, I’m doing as Kelly recommends and making it a slow burn.

  15. Lord Matt says:

    I know of a blogger who does this sometimes waiting months before he blogs and yet every post is a gem, every article worthy of bing part of his next book and ever time gets good attention from his audience whom he updates regularly on facebook. I often wonder if I missed a trick when I see his success.

  16. I’m actually a slow blogger. Not necessarily by choice but because I only post when, like you said, I’ve had a flash of insight or there’s something I feel strongly about. It’s good to know there’s a name for it. Good post. =)

  17. According to other guest posts and my own experience, if you want to promote your brand, you have to work on it and work hard. 2 posts per month is for established superstars, whose posts will be swallowed by thousands, forwarded / retweeted, and form other news in the media. Take Linus Torvalds, Larry Page or Bill Gates – they can drop two posts per month with tremendous effect on millions of people. But it’s not YOU who can write two posts per month, otherwise Google will become your only reader.

    30% of the traffic that goes to my blog is direct traffic. Which means that people are writing the name of my blog or using the bookmark in order to check out manually what’s new. This is the most precious traffic, because these are your loyal readers, and the only reason why they come so often – they like your quality AND frequency of writing, and they hope to enjoy reading something great in the following half of hour or so.

    Start writing slower, and you will need newsletter subscription or hope that your readers would subscribe using Google Reader or with RSS/Atom. Another reason against writing at slow pace is that every post introduces a new topic to Google search engine, and that way attracts more new readers who wouldn’t find you otherwise, as other articles are irrelevant to their search. For example – I am writing about PowerShell today and was writing about the Best Hardware for Blogging yesterday. But tomorrow I will write about CRM, so another hundred of people will find my blog just because they had a problem with CRM and that’s how they found my blog. Next thing they will do – they will read similar articles (which means you should have such articles!) and some of these articles don’t rank well in Google, they wouldn’t attract readers organically and the message wouldn’t be heard.

    So my strategy is different. For me, every article that I make is a stub. Even if it is a 4000 words article which is complete and brilliant (according to my colleagues, anyway) – I always consider it to be a stub (i.e. – incomplete, “empty”). Later, when I see at Google Analytics or social network activity, that this page attracted attention, I fill it with more details and insight, so it becomes closer to the state of the art article.

    Some articles are in drafts for weeks until I finish them or prepare additional materials or check data – but I know that this article will become a part of that “1 article per 3 days as minimum” program I have. If I write less than 10 articles per month then it’s a disaster, even if these articles are 2000 words each. And obviously, I don’t post if I consider the quality to be low.

    So, overall, I disagree with Kelly and think that it is very personal and specific to your niche – at what pace you are writing your blog. If you are mommy blogger, who writes about her child and all the stuff that happens around – you have a topic every day. If you are technology trainer, like me, you have a huge horizon of topics for each technology you know. But what if you are writing about area, which doesn’t have a constant flow of updates? Like classical music or taste of coffee in cafes of Manhattan? Then it will be harder and indeed, you should work on quality over quantity, but it DOESN’T mean that your blog should be idle for two weeks. Find someone who would work on your blog with you. Another hipster or music lover with passion to writing.

    Take a look at this blog, the ProBlogger. Darren doesn’t post often, but others do, through the guest posting. Got the hint?

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks for your insightful feedback, Dmitry.

      I do say that you need to find what works for you, and it sounds like you have which is great. You know your readers well and give them what they want. I also think bringing others on board is brilliant.

      I think the real takeaway is not to post every two weeks like me, but to choose your frequency for a strategic reason and not just based on a vague assumption that it must be every day.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comment.

  18. Josh Sarz says:

    You have some nice points about this topic. Slowing down your pace when writing posts does give you more time to write your blog posts with top-notch quality. If you post too much, you’ll only exhaust yourself. I’ve always believed people when they say most of your time blogging should be spent marketing your blog, and just 10% is spent for writing your blog posts.

  19. A year ago I had a blog in my native language, polish. In very short time (2-3 months) I reached 150 feed subscribers. I wrote many articles and many valuable content. But after 4 or 5 months, I was burnt (I’m not sure it’s a right word in english ;) ). Readers want more, but I didn’t have more!

    So I totally agree with you. Blog slowly. If your blog is only your marketing, make marketing, not your second life. Currently I started a blog which has one goal – promote my Android apps. Everything else doesn’t matter; I just want readers, who are interested in Android apps and games and maybe want to be developers. I want to give them valuable content, but MY real goal is to market my applicatons.

    Big thanks for other tips!

  20. Drewry says:

    mastering the art of blogging is a beautiful labor of love. There is so much to learn about blogging on the World Wide Web, as the information superhighway has unlimited information, like pro blogger, on how to master the art of blogging.

  21. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I blog frequently, but I have structured my blog so that each day is a special type of blog post. For instance, Thursdays and Fridays, I spread an in-depth interview over the two days, Tuesdays are for book reviews and Wednesdays are for profiles of wise people.

    But what has been very helpful for me is that last summer when it was slow for project work, I spent a lot of time conducting interviews and writing profiles in wisdom. And now I find it easier to keep up because I already have the content all I have to do is edit and transcribe the interviews. Thanks!

  22. Let us know how your slow blogging plan goes. My view is that you need to post a minimum of once a week. Otherwise, people are likely to forget about you. And (to extend your running metaphor) your writing muscles are going to start to atrophy.

    Avil’s idea, above, is EXCELLENT! I really like the idea of “departments” for any blog — for example, as Avil suggests, book reviews and interviews. When you have some “departments” it means you aren’t starting from a blank slate each week, and this makes writing so much easier (and faster!)

    • ann marie says:

      Hey! That was my idea, Avil (and Daphne)! At least you use it. I started my blog a few months ago, and like the idea of slow blogging, for the reasons mentioned in this post. Inside my head, at 3:00am, is the constant nagging question: what should I write/post next? I do not have a niche. I want to experiment with my blog, and learn new things, and entertain, and practice writing, and, and…so I thought, I’ll pick several things and post to those topics accordingly each month; e.g. 2 recipes/mo., 3 book reviews/mo., 3 interviews/m., 3 videos, etc. So far, I have posted in each catagory, without the structure, just when I felt like it. I hope the structure keeps me more focused and less judgemental and self-critical. Your comments have given me inspiration. Thank you.

  23. Philos Mudis says:

    I like the idea of same number of posts for a three year period instead of two.

    But you know what? Most people new to blogging will go with the post frequently because they sometimes believe in the ‘seek and you shall receive’ saying – which is not a bad thing. But sometimes people mistake ‘demand’ for ‘seek’.

    All I can say that if you don’t feel comfortable with your current posting schedule, then you can sit down and review it. You might then decide to post twice daily or twice every week. You just need to find what works for you. Think about your long term goals.

  24. Liz says:

    Hi Kelly, You have made such an important statement here. Blogging is a process and is best developed slowly, but it does take focus and will always be a work in progress.

    The trend use to be that you must post every day but as you mentioned, there really is no perfect frequency. To make your blog successful you have to do what works for you, but first you need a plan and a schedule you can stick to. That’s what’s made the difference for me.

    Nice post :-)
    Liz

  25. Gillian says:

    Kelly, thanks so much for posting this. My blog is only four months old but I’ve been feeling the pressure to churn out content, which turns into a brain dump of possibly low quality posts. After New Year’s, I decided to switch to 3X/week and I already feel so much better – relaxed and enthusiastic again. I particularly liked the reply from Ryan that all acts are energy, because I’m now using my energy for things I want to do, rather than things I thought I “should” be doing. Thanks for pointing out that “it’s OK” to slow blog.

  26. Amandah says:

    When I started blogging, I was told I had to post at least three times per week and that posting every day was better. I burned out from posting all of the time. I felt like my blog posts were the ‘same old, same old’ posts found on the internet. I was tapped out — I couldn’t think of different angles. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d rather write and post a well-written blog post once or twice a week or even every other week. Posting mediocre blog posts every day doesn’t work for me.

  27. Claudia says:

    Radical, Kelly. “The key with blogging, as with just about everything, is finding the balance that works for you.” This is key to establishing your authentic online brand/presence. Simply recreating what someone else has done, no matter how successful for them, doesn’t mean it’s the best for you, or more importantly, your readers.

    I can easily find info I need online. What grabs my attention are the blogs that express the real person behind the blog. The blogging world is saturated, nearly to the point of becoming irrelevant. I read blogs that are relevant to me, that offer in-depth insight into a fresh perspective and help me grow as a human being.

    ProBlogger is a case in point. Darren has modeled evolution by changing up his approach, adding guest bloggers, and instituting new fora in which he does NOT post every day. He learns from experience, and is not afraid of trying things a different way. (Good on you for including Kelly, Darren!)

    We’re human. We have different energy levels, experiences, insights. I would despair if the WWW were to become a bleak, one-note blob. We can and NEED to accommodate change, experimentation and make the Web even more dynamic and useful for everyone, not simply a single demographic.

    Great forward-thinking post, Kelly, thanks!

  28. Bob Holmes says:

    Killer article Kelly, Thanks!

    I’ve been writing like a madman. Inspiration dulls out and I keep writing. Why? You’ve got to keep the stream flowing. Thanks for the perspective of quality over quantity. Evergreen quantity is really a pipe dream anyway, just deceiving ourselves.

    There’s ‘outside in’ people, and ‘inside out’ people. People who grow best from a schedule, and those who grow best from core passion. The first is measurable, while the last is sustainable.

    I’m definitely in the later.

    Thanks again,
    Bob

  29. Sinea Pies says:

    This is such important information for bloggers to know and digest. I run into this problem. I post 3 times a week, write 1-2 hubs for HubPages and then a feature article for a parent magazine once a month. Along with my day job and the REST of my life, I can get tired. I love all of it but you are right…sometimes I coast just to get through.

    Stumbling and tweeting this one. It will help a lot of writers as it did me! :)

  30. Always sharing great content! Keep them coming Problogger!

  31. Michael says:

    I think it entirely depends on the individuals and what they are blogging about. Some niches may be better for the slow blogging types and others may need more content to be able to be sustained in terms of readership. It’s always a challenge to figure out those perfect or even just happy mediums for our blogs. Thanks for posting!

  32. Awesome article! Really. I haven’t blogged since mid-November (and since starting a part-time evening job in retail to help out with the holidays) and have been feeling a bit guilty about the whole lack of attention to my site. Now, I don’t feel so bad. If anything, reading your article helped give me a bit more perspective and approval to consistently “blog slow.” Thanks :D

  33. Interesting thoughts Kelly.

    When I started blogging I struggled with posting once a week despite having made a conscious decision to aim at an achievable rate. Everything takes longer when you are learning (it is my first blog).

    Six months in I am moving up to twice a week. I find participating in blogging challenges, including your Content Palooza back in November, really help keep the ideas and motivation kicking along.

    I agree that the ideal pace is the one that works for you, not what everybody else may claim. I do suggest though to start off slowly. You can always pick up the pace. It’s better than starting off fast and dying out even faster.

    Looking forward to your new release.

    Cheers, Caylie

  34. Dmitry says:

    Thanks for the post, Kelly. Interesting practice.

    What can you say about commenting posts? It`s very simple now to repost,retweet,share in fb and so on.
    But what about live comments from people? How to make people write comments to your posts?
    Thanks.

  35. Jan Richards says:

    Excellent post, Kelly.

    I can relate to so many of the points you raise, and will go back to feeding – although more slowly – a second blog I have but have not been attending to lately. Now I see more clearly why that might be happening, and will find an appropriate writing/posting schedule than what I was trying to maintain.

    Thanks, as always, for great advice!

  36. Kelly, this is one of the best posts I have seen on blogging, especially for new bloggers. I especially appreciated your question: Is blogging your business model or your marketing? I am not sure my blog is either of those just yet. I started blogging last July, initially as a way to share my learning with readers (and prospective clients) and also to experiment and find my blogging voice. My strategy at the beginning was just to write every week and see what wanted to emerge. And to engage a community. Then I moved to once a month. Now I have not posted in a couple of months because I have been working with a brand strategist on a rebrand and am re-examining my marketing plan, including my blogging. I will be back but want to do it with a clearer intention. I think slow blogging is a great way to get started and to remember this is a marathon and not a sprint. And, as you say, people need to find what works for them.

  37. Joshgun says:

    Dmitri is right we do not have the luxury to slow down if we have just started. Otherwise we are better to quit and forget about blogging

  38. David says:

    I’m new to blogging and, although this post is interesting, posting a couple of times a month doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Of course, my opinion is based only on what I see from sites like Problogger and other top blogs. They post often and, at times, more than once-a-day.

    Still, posting once or twice a month just seems off. I tend to agree with Dmitry, there are some folks (such as Larry Page) who can put out one post per month and do really well but that’s not the norm.

    At least not from what I’ve observed up to now.

  39. ictus75 says:

    Good advice. It’s easy to start out all fired up, post a lot, then lose it in the long haul. One thing I do, is when I’m in the writing mood, I write a bunch of blogs, then save them to post over time. Or I save something for when I’m blocked and don’t find the writing coming. But after a few false start blogs, I realized it’s a marathon, not sprint…

  40. I enjoyed this post very much. I’ve worked on many projects over the years and can completely agree with the thoughts expressed here. I’ve got a few projects in the works as well and I’m taking the slower approach.

  41. Planning is the key.

    Plan what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it, then prepare yourself for it. No matter if your goal is to have fun or make money, this will help you. Plan with a calendar (either on your phone, in outlook, Google calendar, or editorial calender plugins for WordPress), it’s much easier to keep things going when there’s a plan.