I feel a great deal of anxiety when I get toward the end of a day ad realize I haven’t posted anything to my blog. A knot begins to form in the pit of my stomach as I consider what opportunities I might have missed to share my thoughts. Not that everything here is world-changing or encompassing the best, most insightful commentary, but still, as a writer I loathe missing any chance to write on topics ranging from personal to professional.
That stress has only increased in the time I’ve been looking for full-time work and as I’ve tried to piece together some freelance work. If this is the field I want to be in, and if this blog/site is going to be the central hub around which I’m building my thought-leadership and public persona, then I need to be contributing to it regularly, right? That’s not necessarily the case, regardless of what the incessant voice in my head would have me believe.
Advice about posting frequency comes in all flavors and sizes. You can find one study advocating for daily posting and one saying once a week is fine, with both offering the same lists of benefits for its point of view as well as pitfalls for the opposing stance. Whatever your preconceived notion or opinion might be, there will be someone with data on pageviews and other metrics that tell you it’s the right approach for you. My advice has always been to ignore this data as much as possible.
That’s even been my opinion when it comes to corporate blog and social media programs I’ve worked on. Generalized data pulled from dozens – if not hundreds – of sources and averaged out has been less than useless in my line of work. I don’t care how much of an industry bigshot someone is, if they’re outside of the program then their opinion carries almost no weight in my mind.
Instead I’ve always advocated for frequency of posting being a decision best made on the feeling and art of the program rather than the science of hard-and-fast numbers. Do what feels right. If you’re longing to write something on a particular topic and that topic makes sense for the program (or you as an individual) then go for it. It doesn’t matter if it’s the third or thirteenth post that week. Make a case for it and make it happen if you feel strongly about it. Don’t be afraid to publish often but also don’t feel beholden to the anxiety that can come from adhering to a daily posting schedule.
There are caveats to the above points, of course. While outside stats should be weighted lightly, internal program stats should play an important part. So if your own numbers show a dropoff in interest after three posts a day, adjust accordingly. If they’re still rising after 10 posts in a week, there’s some room to indulge yourself a bit more.
Most importantly – and this is what I keep telling myself – it’s important to post when you feel it’s appropriate. Forcing the issue and saying “Well, I need to write today so here I am writing” is unnatural and will come off as inauthentic to the readers. If there’s nothing about which you feel strongly enough to opine, don’t push it. You’re going to do more damage to yourself and irritate your audience. They’ll sense the pressure and react negatively. Don’t do it. That’s not to say that holding yourself to a daily (or otherwise regular) routine is bad. As with physical exercise, writing involves a set of muscles you may not always feel particularly motivated to utilize but which are important to flex nonetheless.
So finding the balance point between those two points is astoundingly important. Write regularly and deliver on the audience expectations you’ve set. But don’t try and create something simply for the sake of creating it. That’s the trap which cable news and others have fallen into, where a controversy or inflammatory opinion has to be held by someone in order to create drama. Find what’s working for you, what’s advancing your goals and what feels good. Anything less, no matter how many studies an approach might be based on, has the potential to turn against you and derail your efforts.