Yesterday, Shelby shared “To blog or not to blog …” in which she examined those times when we choose to not stick to our schedule for blogging. I’m going to try something a little different today in responding to Shelby. I’ve borrowed the headings from her post and will offer my perspectives and responses to Shelby’s main points from yesterday.
Before I get to that, there will be a #shehechat over on Twitter this evening (Thursday) at 8 p.m. CST. It’s quite likely Shelby will be unable to join us, but the chat will go on and we’ll discuss the general topic of when it’s okay to not write that post you feel like you should.
So let’s jump into this topic heavily laced in irony.
There’s a schedule
Publication schedules are important, especially if you have paying customers like Shelby did for 17 years in the newspaper industry. For a couple of years, I stuck to a fairly rigid publication schedule on my personal blog. I stuck to that schedule, however, because it mattered to me. At that time, I was deriving a great deal of personal development value from the writing I was doing. Sticking to a publication schedule helped me keep that personal development moving along.
This blog is here for you guys to read but let’s be honest, you don’t pay us to write these posts. We write these posts so the world (specifically our potential clients) know how we approach digital strategy. The schedule is for us and so that we have a starting point for a #shehechat over arching topic each week. Your blog is probably similar in that you don’t have paying subscribers, so the schedule is really for you, not the readers.
You have something important to share
Trying to force writing a blog post just plain sucks. Shelby and I agree that “phoning one in” is not the way to go very often. But you can do it every now and then. If your desire is to push one post a day, week, month or whatever frequency you choose, go ahead and phone one in when you have to. Strangely, some of my phoned-in posts have done quite well in both page views and comments.
It’s more fun when you have some great inspiration or great news to share. For example, Shelby and I did all we could to support WordCamp Milwuakee, which we helped organize and at which we presented. It was exciting to be part of the first WordCamp in Milwaukee and we wanted our audience to be aware of the event. Sometimes the right schedule for posts like this is outside your normal schedule. So if you skip a post every now and then but have special features, I think you are doing your readers a greater service than just phoning one in to publish on a specific day.
You’re trying to ramp up business
Here Shelby and I agree and disagree. I have a saying “Always Be Marketing,” and I feel it’s more important when business is going strong than when it’s slow. Now, if you are a startup with no clients, by all means publish early and publish often. You need to build up your quantity of content because if it’s quality content then it equals credibility with potential clients.
But when business is slow, it really means you probably didn’t do a good job marketing when business was good. Effective marketing, like content marketing with blog posts, will turn things around but it will take time. Instead, find time to write the marketing posts all the time. You may just find it smooths out some of the downs of the business cycle.
One more thing
On this point I agree 100 percent with Shelby. Summer is short where we live and I love my patio (see picture with this post) this time of year. Yes, sometimes I choose to sit on the patio with my family or friends and sip adult beverages instead of working. It’s allowed. The posts you write after taking time for yourself are almost always better.
How about you, is it okay to break your publishing schedule, and if so, why and when?