In my last post, I talked about how blog block was a primary factor in blog fade. Another key factor is lack of time. Today I want you to think about what you are willing to give up in order to be a successful blogger.
The Pan Am Effect
In order to develop a faithful readership, you need to publish blog posts on a consistent and reliable basis. If you don’t, your readers will start assuming that you’ve stopped blogging and will stop checking your blog for updates. Let’s call this the “Pan Am Effect.” Pan Am was a highly publicized television show that aired on ABC. But it kept being preempted for several weeks at a time. Then ABC would air one episode of the show before preempting again for several more weeks. Whenever I mentioned the show on Facebook, the usual reaction was that people thought it had been cancelled so they stopped looking for it. Not surprisingly, the viewership kept getting smaller and smaller with each episode. As of the writing of this blog post, ABC is still deciding the fate of the show. I will find out in May if it has been renewed or cancelled.
Depending upon why you are blogging, you may end up publishing several posts each day, once a day, several times a week, only on weekdays, or only once per week. Whatever frequency you decide upon, though, you need to be reliable and consistent in your publishing schedule. Otherwise you will have to work harder to build and maintain your faithful readership. Trust me on this. I had to learn this the hard way. Learn from my mistakes.
How Much Time Do You Have?
The fact of the matter is that if you don’t plan your blogging hours into your schedule, time for blogging will slip away. So, how much time should you build in? “It depends” is the best answer I can give to you.
Jonathan Morrow from Copyblogger tells us in his post 20 Warning Signs That Your Content Sucks that we should plan on spending an average of 2 hours minimum per blog post. The more in depth the post is, the longer it will take to write it (and that includes research, brainstorming, writing, finding/creating images, etc.). Some people publish several short posts throughout the day so their posts will be shorter and take less time to write. On the other hand, it is not unheard of for a tutorial to take 10 hours or more to write.
Build Blogging Time Into Your Schedule
Contrary to popular multitasking lore, you really can’t squeeze more and more into your day. I think parents are more susceptible to this myth because they’re used to having to do 15 million things at once. But research tells us that multitasking actually slows us down and we’re more prone to error because our brains are trying to switch from one gear to the next. Thinking that you’ll be able to write a quality blog post during the commercials of your favorite television show is probably not going to get you your desired results.
Just like you would with any part or full time job, block out the desired number of hours each week that you will dedicate to your blog. You may find that you will need to give up one or two things in order to make time. On the other hand, you may find pockets of time that you can use to your advantage. For example, when I was still a full-time university administrator, I would use the morning one-hour train ride to work to block out rough drafts of blog posts and to brainstorm.
Blogging is highly rewarding. But it is also very time consuming if you want to be successful at it. Plan it into your schedule. You’ll be glad you did.
Let’s start blogging!