17 February 2009

Blogging Tips : How to Launch a Blog and Have Fresh Content for Weeks

This question from James of My Fitness Guide hit my inbox this week:

“My question is, when starting a new blog, do you write a list of all your blog topics first, then plan to write one of them per day, or do you write it all as fast as possible to build your archives, and then try and think of a fresh new blog topic every day?”

Here’s my answer (I’d be keen to hear yours in comments).

James - I generally suggest a few things with regards to content when I’m starting a new blog.

1. 5 Posts Already Published

I like to have at least 5, preferably 8-10, articles already published on the blog - so when people come they can see you’ve written useful stuff already and don’t just see a blog with one post.

At b5media we ask our bloggers to have around 10 posts already written before we launch but I think 5 would be my minimum.

2. 5 Draft Posts

I also like to have at least 5 posts already written but held in reserve as drafts that I can post in the next few days after launch.

I find that when launching a blog you can be a bit distracted by the excitement of it all, by promoting it, by responding to comments etc - so content creation can sometimes take a bit of a back seat.

If you have 5 posts in reserve (I’d even prefer to have more than that) it means you can keep any momentum from the launch going for at least 5 days without having to write a whole lot more. In fact I usually start a blog with just 3 posts a week and gradually increase the frequency of posts over time - so 5 posts in reserve can almost last two weeks.

3. 20 Post Ideas

Lastly - I also like to have a list of possible topics to write about in future (I try for at least 20).

I actually like to write this list as part of the process of even deciding whether to choose a topic or niche because it helps me to work out whether I’ll be able to sustain writing on that topic for the long haul.

If you can’t think of 20-30 post titles/topics pretty easily before starting a blog it could be a signal that you’ve chosen the wrong topic.

Having this list at your fingertips means you’ve always got a topic to write about in the first month or so of your new blog.

And You’re Off and Running

I find that between having a few posts already up on the blog, having a few in reserve for the coming few days and then having a list of topics to write about that creating content for a new blog is not that difficult.

The numbers of posts that I’ve mentioned above will vary from person to person (and even for me I’ve not always exactly followed this formula) but I think it’s probably a pretty solid way forward.

The only thing I’ll add is that it’s really important to put your best foot forward in terms of the quality of your content in the early days of a blog.

Of course you’ll want high quality posts as every post on your blog going forward - but a few really high quality and engaging posts in the first week of your blog can really launch it and help establish some good traffic and subscriber numbers in the early days of its life.

What Do You Do When Starting a Blog?

I’m interested to hear what your experience is with creating content on a new blog? How many posts do you launch with? How do you keep the posts coming in the early day of a blog?

No comments: