What is the ideal blogging frequency for your business?

blogging frequency

Blogging frequency is among the most common questions I am asked, and it occurred to me that I have never directly addressed this in a blog post. So here we go — how often should you post on your blog?

First, let’s start at a very high level and set the stage about blogging as a business imperative in general. I think that most businesses need to have a source of rich content to fuel their social media presence. Generally that means a blog, video series, podcast or something visual that can drive Instagram, Pinterest and/or Slideshare.

So blogging is an important and popular option, but not necessarily the only option for content creation. You have to consider your resources, talents, and customer needs when deciding what kind of content is best for your business.

What is the ideal blogging frequency?

Like almost every business question, the answer is, “It depends!”

Certainly consistent posting is a key element of success for a number of reasons:

1) Consistent posting “trains” your readers to expect something and builds an audience. It’s part of your content cadence.

2) Consistent posting contributes to higher traffic and search engine benefits

3) A regular blogging frequency enables you to dominate a content niche, which is at the heart of content marketing. I describe that strategy in detail in the post Ten Strategies to Battle Content Shock.

4) Committing to a schedule helps you to be a better blogger through practice.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to post frequency. Determining your ideal posting schedule needs to be a consideration of:

  • Your business goals
  • Your competitive environment and the content density of your industry
  • Content producing resources and budget
  • Customer needs and expectations

Minimum viable posting

If you’re just starting out and finding your way, shoot for at least one post per month as a minimum viable schedule. Have a goal of creating at least one “pillar post” — something original, thought-provoking and evergreen (meaning its message can be relevant for months or years).

As you get into a content groove, experiment by increasing your schedule to once a week. Try a video blog, commenting on something that’s in the news, highlighting a customer case study or having another employee try their hand at blogging.

For most business and personal blogs, great quality content coming out at a clip of once a week is an achievable goal that can result in real business benefits.

How much is too much?

I usually post four times a week on {grow}, using a combination of pillar posts, timely commentary, guest posts, video, Slideshare presentations, case studies, interviews, and podcasts. So there is a tremendous amount of variety and new perspectives in this space.

How did I decide on four posts? Why is that right for my business?

First let me assure you that I never, ever compromise quality for quantity on this blog. If I don’t have four excellent posts to share with you, I would not post at that rate. When people guest post for me, it is not unusual for them to go through two or three drafts before it makes it to the blog. Some of my own posts gestate for months before they see the light of {grow}.

My number one priority is to live up to a promise that if you spend time on this site, you will ALWAYS find something interesting here.

The business goal supported through my blog frequency is to establish a community through thought leadership so people can know me, trust me, and eventually hire me to conduct a workshop, consult with them on a strategy, or give a keynote speech at a meeting or conference.

A year ago, I was posting five times a week, including a {growtoon} comic on Fridays. I noticed that the number one reason people stated for un-subscribing was “too many posts.” Once I cut back to four times a week by eliminating the cartoon, the un-subscibe level dropped by 80 percent. So I used data and feedback from my readers to find a sweet spot.

After years of trial and error, four excellent posts per week seems to be the rate that is acceptable to my audience, it supports my goals, and it is within reach of my content-creating resources.

So yes, you can publish too often. And when you do, you’ll probably start getting signals that tell you! The social web is pretty good at delivering feedback.

I hope this overview has been useful. I’m sure you have additional ideas you can share about posting frequency and i would love to hear about them in the comment section!

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Alan Cleaver

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  • Like you said Mark, it´s about trial and error. You have to listen to your stakeholders, employees, brand voice, internal policies, etc and test, test and test. Depending on your goals and business strategy, you have to see what´s working and what is not.
    One post once a month, is, in my opinion, too little in today´s fast paced world, if you want to establish as a brand on social media. But before deciding blogging frequency, every brand/company thinking of launching on social should have enough material for a few months, before actually going live. It takes the stress off producing new material fast for publishing…now, and allows you to focus on listening instead.

  • You are correct. Once a month is too little if you are trying to establish a brand in social media but it might be an ideal frequency if you are selling knitting kits or executive CPA services. It’s highly dependent on the market. Thanks so much for your comment. I love that you have become a regular contributor here!

  • I educate small business owners how to use digital media tools. When I tell them to post more frequently they look scared and surprised 🙂 .
    Scared because they don’t think they can find time to write and surprised because “all” the other experts out there tell them a number. The same goes for social media platforms, email marketing and what time to post.
    As you point out everything depends on your audience. The beauty of digital communication is that everything can be measured and we can ask our audience what they want.
    In 2015 I finally applied the principle of “walk your talk” to my blogging schedule and started posting three times per week. Yes that adds stress to my week but after one month my regular visitor numbers have increased by 600%

    Thanks so much for this post Mark!

  • I started out with once a week, gradually went to two. I now blog 3x but it was hard at first. I did this daily blogging challenge at BlogHer one month. I’d never do that again, because yeah, annoying. O.O But when the month was over, 3x a week seemed really easy. Now I try to look ahead and plan, so that I don’t miss my days. It took me a while, but I’ve settled into a “life” post for Mondays, about books (guest posts, interviews, talking books) on Wednesdays and Fridays are for getting a bit silly. I am in the fortunate position of being able to use my husband’s photos, so I get some nice, pin-worthy images, too. Sometimes I have to mentally stand on my head to get an image to work with an idea, but it’s good for my character to work that hard.

  • Not comprising on quality while trying to maintain a steady stream of content can tend to be incredibly hard – but that’s where you separate the boys from the men! 😉

    Mark, instead of a story – I have a question for you. A bit of both really. I was once told by a firm that they want to start blogging regularly about content relevant to their industry and not just stuff about their company like new hires and deals. They wanted a share of voice and a point-of-view on certain things.

    Their question was simple. They have $X to promote these posts and amplify them on social. This $X is a pure advertising budget, and does not include the cost of the person they were hiring to create this content etc.

    Now, in their mind – they could spend $X two ways. The first, was to blog once a month and spend $X promoting – getting a massive reach.

    The second, was to blog four times a month and spend $A, $B, $C and $D promoting all four posts where $A+$B+$C+$D = $X.

    Their concern was that since they’re spitting this budget four ways – the amount of people reached by each post promotion will be very little, compared to the one time bang that they can do over the course of a week with one post and hope to get a lot of conversation flowing with that one carefully crafted post.

    The argument I raised with them was that 12 posts a year might not be enough for your TA, since your competitors are producing 50-60 posts a year for the same TA, with a pretty good content benchmark. That was the one thing I mentioned to them, but to me – both their strategies seemed to have their own pros and cons, none clearly the winner.

    What do you think? Is there a clear winner?

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  • Hi Mark

    Really enjoyed this. You’re totally right of course, you should never sacrifice quality for quantity – that’s why your minimum posting requirement of once a month is very achievable for every business.

    If you make sure that one post is totally epic – then promote it throughout the rest of the month – you’ll still get the traffic increases you’re after without having to piece together lower quality work just to meet a more demanding publishing schedule.

    Thanks again!

    Loz

  • Great job. Congratulations on your success and thanks for this superb comment my friend.

  • You know, you make a really interesting point about that 30 day blogging challenge. I have seen a number of people try that and although they don’t sustain it, they ALWAYS find a benefit in doing blogging every day for 30 days. Maybe they leanr something about discipline or their audience or how to be efficient but it always results in something positive. Having said that … No way. : )

  • Man you ask the best questions. Probably an answer worthy of a blog post. There are two foundational issues here. 1) you must have great content and 2) ithe content doesn’t matter, even if it is great, unless it moves.

    So what is the right balance? Obviously it is dependent on the business situation, but my approach would be to concentrate on creating exceptional value through your content first and foremost.

    The other issue is that the default position for getting your content to move does not necessarily have to be a paid option. This is the subject of my new book which will be out in a few weeks – content ignition. There are six elements of The Content Code that drive ignition — only one of them costs money. I will be getting into some really cool stuff about the psychology behind ignition, but also hundreds of practical tips that any business can use.

    So even on a limited budget, you might not have to make a decision between spending on content or promotion — maybe you can do both for the same amount of money.

  • Agree sir. Thanks for adding your wisdom today!

  • Looks like I’ll be getting that book, for sure. 🙂 I hope shipping isn’t limited to the United States! If only a digital version is available in this part of the world – I’ll have to make do with that but I’d much rather have it sitting on my desk!

  • Yeah, I’d never do it again. It was more for me than for my audience, really when I think about it. But if I were to do it again (which I WON’T), I’d pick Feb because it only has 28 days. Even 30 was too long. LOL

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  • An insightful post, as always. You’re a wonderful mentor whether you realize it or not. I look to you for advice, discernment, guidance and of all the SM experts, I greatly appreciate and admire your personal style probably most of all. So glad you found your “thing” in this world. Good for you. (good for “us”).

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  • Thank you for pointing out that four posts per week could be a number that neither too many or too little. I am starting a blog and I wish to post more than one post a week, but I don’t have the magic number. I will try out four, and let you know if it works!

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  • James Lenfers

    I am running through the top 10 results on this question. I personally like your answer and others seem to also. You are at number 5 and number 1 was good, but no one is commenting but me.

    Lol, so Google likes him better, and people like you better. Which is saying what? Don’t know. Maybe you have a bigger audience to begin with. Maybe its because you are writing like a blogger and he is writing like a corporate blogging scientist with 500 graphs and charts.

    As I try to figure this out myself, because it is a frequently asked question, the best response still is coming down to “It depends.”
    The person at number 4 was saying same time of day, same day or days of the week to match your audience. And if you don’t have one to match yet? If you crawl out of bed feeling horrible and all you can write is horrible? Just write horribly. The show must go on!

    The thing that was striking me on her analysis of this was this. Are we talking about a blog here, or a daily or weekly online newspaper with a deadline? In which case your frequency is pretty obvious. Your frequency is your bosses frequency? Get it done son! We have a deadline to meet!

  • Blog Hitter

    Your answer out of all the ones I reviewed, I personally liked the best. Maybe it is because you read like a blogger to me while you were being relevant and authoritative.

    What I ran into reviewing what others said is that 4 out of 5 times it just came down to although there are so many factors that can effect your blog as to what would be optimal in every factor, you probably can’t, so there really is no set standard, it just depends.

    But relevancy and quality over rides the aspects of how quantity or density or even freshness can effect your blog.

    I tend to somewhat learn to the dramatic example, but that simply makes sense. If my audience is into fashion, I can probably write a post a whole lot faster and need to do it more often then a physicist writing about worm holes.

    So maybe 16 post a month does on pure statistical numbers perform allot better then 1, or even 10 post a month, and a site with 200 plus post will seriously out perform one with 10.

    But can you even imagine Stephen Hawking trying to hit a optimal post frequency? “Stephen, you need 16 post a month! Quit writing about worm holes Stephen! It takes to long. Write about the latest fashionable shoes!”

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