I’ve been thinking.

Most “serious” bloggers blog daily, because a daily blog is a heartbeat.  It lets the people who follow you know that you’re still alive, still thinking, still contributing to the greater good.

But what, exactly, are you contributing?

If I Don’t Blog, I Don’t Exist

Most daily blogs I come across are heavy on…

  • Personal wisdom
  • Analysis of current events
  • Tech / product reviews
  • Context-free statistical reports
  • Lists

The connective thread?

They’re all easily written in a short amount of time.

If you’re blogging daily, your emphasis is almost always on a quota.  Yes, ideally, you want to be good.  But you also want to be there.  And sometimes “there” trumps good.

You also want to be noticed / found / loved, and if you blog daily, those odds increase.

But…

What If You Did More and Talked Less?

Instead of blogging daily, why not blog weekly, but spend that week crafting something really good?

Advice, reviews and event analysis is a dime a dozen on blogs.  What’s useful but rare?

  • Experiments (and results)
  • Long-term case studies (and timelines of strategy adjustment)
  • Process analysis
  • Interviews that alter the way we think
  • Content that truly entertains, educates or illuminates

If we daily bloggers wrote less, did more, and delivered insightful, impactful, vital content (instead of daily blips), wouldn’t we be providing a more useful service?

Wouldn’t we be creating less white noise, and less clutter that needed to be cut through?

This isn’t just about blogs, either.  If Twitter’s volume were reduced by 80%, wouldn’t it be easier to find messages that mattered?

Let’s Stop Mass-Producing Our Own Irrelevance

It’s easier to stand out when you’re not simultaneously creating content that distracts people from you.

To that end, I’m trying an experiment: through July, I’ll be blogging once a week instead of once a day.*  My goal is to provide you with better content less often, rather than the most relevant content I could think of at that moment.

And if the end result is noticeably less valuable to me and / or my audience, I’ll adjust my course as necessary.

But first, let’s see where this goes.

* NOTE: Life may occasionally prompt multiple posts in a week.  Let’s not be totalitarians.

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27 Comments

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AJinNashville · April 30, 2010 at 4:49 pm

BTW, YGM @STBD. :)

Justin Kownacki · April 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Thanks. We all need a reason to plunk away at our keyboards; I’m justrntrying to clarify mine, for my own sanity.

AJinNashville · April 30, 2010 at 3:14 pm

I was gonna make a comment here but decided to email you instead. Very nice piece; and an even better statement about how you perceive yourself as a writer. :)

AJinNashville · April 30, 2010 at 8:14 am

I was gonna make a comment here but decided to email you instead. Very nice piece; and an even better statement about how you perceive yourself as a writer. :)

    Justin Kownacki · April 30, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Thanks. We all need a reason to plunk away at our keyboards; I'm just
    trying to clarify mine, for my own sanity.

BRIAN TANNEBAUM · April 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm

This is like when Jerry Maguire wrote his mission statement and went into the lobby of the hotel and someone screamed “finally, someone said it.” I have two blogs and feel the pressure to blog daily, but I do notice it doesn't make a difference. When I write something interesting – people take interest. Sometimes I sit there in the morning and think “I've got to write something.” And I really don't.

Christian Russell · April 19, 2010 at 1:58 pm

There is more and more talk lately about the value of focusing on quality over quantity. I dig it. Daily blogging is cool, but it's easy to be fooled into thinking it's what you HAVE to do. All you have to do is look around…successful blogs range greatly. Some post 20 times daily, some post once a month. And of course, everything in between.

christina_brown · April 19, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Justin, OMG. Last night, I attended a #blogchat (you should check it out) session on Twitter and the topic was how to crave out your blogging schedule. Since the summer is now approaching, I want to spend less time blogging and more time enjoying the little things in life. That is why I decided to shorten my blog posts to 3 per week. I do not want to blog unnecessary fluff.

I want to write meaningful and engaging blog posts so writing less blog posts is a step in the right direction. Thank god you wrote this during my little experiment. I am glad other bloggers think the same way. Writing all week can get boring and troublesome because you forget that sometimes quality counts more than quantity.

SHerdegen · April 19, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. No need to explain, I get where you're coming from. Just expressing my own fears.

SHerdegen · April 19, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I'll be interested to see how this experiment works out. I've thought about blogging less too. My fear is instead of giving up six fairly shallow blog posts a week for one really substantial post, I'd be giving up six shallow posts for one shallow post.

I'm trying to work on improving my content. I think if I find myself working on a really good idea which keeps me from posting that day, I'll know I'm on to something good.

    Justin Kownacki · April 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    “The less prolific I am, the more relevant I must be.”

    I think that only worked for Terrence Malick and J. D. Salinger, but
    there is something to be said for deriving value through scarcity.

    In the end, it's less about how often anyone creates and more about
    how relevant those creations are. If you need more time to create
    something that'll last, go for it. If you'd rather be omnipresent but
    potentially less eternal, you're equally welcome to do so.

    None of us knows how our life's work will be summed up until we're
    already gone. Enjoy the journey.

michelewelch · April 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Hi Justin- just happen to come across your blog from another link. Very interesting article and would love to see what your final results will be.

I'm not new to the online world, but am to the world of 'blogging' and I am enjoying it immensely, however am torn between blogging 4-6 a week to 2-3 times. I currently decided to do the 2-3 but find myself 'needing' to share something on my non-blogging days :-)

Good luck with your experiment and thanks for sharing!

Mark Dykeman · April 19, 2010 at 11:52 am

Several bloggers that I respect have reduced frequency of output but are doing extremely well.

I think that scarcity can be leveraged well.

Look how people jump up and down with glee every time Clay Shirky or Malcolm Gladwell publish something. They work at a glacial pace from a blogger's perspective.

It will be interesting to hear about the results of your experiment.

jodee_ferrari · April 19, 2010 at 11:47 am

As usual, this makes sense!!

I had a conversation at work recently where I realized it's not about doing everything all the time, but using the available tools in the right frequency to engage an audience. A relevant tweet once or twice a day or reaching out to your audience and engaging in a conversation on Facebook can be far more valuable than less time consuming than the daily blog post if you're just trying to prove you're still there.

A nailgun is great for driving nails, but you still use a hammer to hang a picture.

Chris Brogan · April 19, 2010 at 11:33 am

You're on to something, of course. I fall into the daily, but not always revelatory camp.

My compromise might be this: I might do something weekly but put in “reporting” posts in between.

But then again, I have a few new things coming that will follow your model pretty closely.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Dave White · April 19, 2010 at 11:09 am

I've been thinking along the same lines recently, inspired by Chris Cashdollar's presentation on “The Art Direction Gap” at last year's Web Design Day Pittsburgh. What if you took the time to hone your blog entries and make them feel like carefully constructed works of art? You may not get the sheer traffic of someone who posts every day but I your posts will have more lasting value than most tossed-off blog articles.

There's also the matter that, frankly, most people's daily lives and thoughts are not all that riveting. I love my relatives but if I have to read one more blog post about what their pets are doing right now I may cry.

Jackson Wightman · April 19, 2010 at 10:17 am

Interesting.

Couple of pts:

– thanks for letting us know (I am accustomed to reading you daily bwn Monday and Fri so appreciate the heads up)

– I'd be interested to know what this does re your readership (I have no idea, but maybe it will mean more people read the posts more closely – instead of just skimming – maybe this will translate into more meaningful comments – not sure)

    Justin Kownacki · April 19, 2010 at 11:26 am

    I'm interested in what effect this will have on my traffic, too.

    But, then again, what is my traffic leading to? Am I looking to:

    * Engage in more constructive conversations?
    * Create meaningful, “evergreen” dialog?
    * Convert traffic into work?
    * Inflate my own ego?

    I'll probably have a better idea about all of this as the summer progresses.

Scott Paley · April 19, 2010 at 9:52 am

Justin – why not post different kinds of blog posts at different intervals? Each day you could post some simple links (with or without commentary) to items others have written that you think are relevant to your audience.

Then, once a week you can post a deeper, more insightful item (along the lines of what you wrote here). Once a month (or quarter) you can add something truly big (white paper, eBook, etc.)

This isn't so different from “old” media. Think about the difference between the NY Times vs. Time Magazine vs. The Atlantic.

    Justin Kownacki · April 19, 2010 at 9:57 am

    True, but also think about time — both your own and your audience's.

    Is your time best spent creating new content or best spent redirecting
    people to what you've already done?

    Will your audience appreciate reminders of your old work, or will 80%
    repackaged content cause them to eventually tune out your 20% new?

    Companies can allocate individuals to each practice. If you're flying
    solo, you have to allocate your own time accordingly — and most
    profitably, whether that's in terms of cash or response.

    Obviously, if feedback or traction are important to you, there's no
    sense in always creating something new if no one is noticing what
    you've already done. But if 80% of what we tweeted were reminders to
    read what we already wrote, you can see how NOT tweeting 79% of those
    tweets might help people find us more easily the first time.

    The best practice is somewhere in the middle of all these variables…

      Scott Paley · April 19, 2010 at 10:01 am

      To clarify, I meant you could link to posts I've written… ;)

      OK, well, maybe not mine, but others in your world. Share some link love.

      Also, there is a big difference between a 140 char tweet and a thoughtful blog post. My point is simply that you can, on a daily basis, put up *new* and relevant, but simple, content, and then weekly put up something more thoughtful and deep.

      But, I'll be curious to know how this experiment goes for you. Your approach may be best.

        jamesrohrbach · April 19, 2010 at 11:55 am

        I agree with all of this and was happy to see this post this afternoon. I think that quality means something, and, to Scott's point, that different platforms are best for different purposes. What feels right to me is to tweet links a few times a day, post short content on tumblr/posterous 1x/day, and try to write long, thoughtful blog posts 1x/week. That seems to both let me balance these activities with the rest of my life and work, and to produce and share content at a rate consistent with the intrinsic time required to make something of quality – writing that feels durable and that I can stand behind.

        So good luck with your new approach Justin, I totally support it!

      Jason Black · April 19, 2010 at 1:42 pm

      > Will your audience appreciate reminders of your old work, or will 80%
      repackaged content cause them to eventually tune out your 20% new?

      Yeah, that. When I first started blogging and looking around for help, I found Copyblogger. Gold mine of great stuff. I read it voraciously, and learned a lot.

      These days–and it wasn't all THAT many days ago that I found them–I easily don't click on half the stuff they tweet out because I can tell from the title it's a rehash of something they already taught me.

      Personally, I try to blog twice a week. That's what I can manage, along with day job, et cetera. But I try never to re-hash, and always to provide something polished and read-worthy.

      Here's to you for trying to move to a “less-if-better is more” philosophy. I can only hope it catches on in the blogosphere generally…

Justin Kownacki - What I’ve Learned From Blogging Weekly Instead of Daily · August 9, 2010 at 12:05 am

[…] an experiment with this blog.  From May through July, instead of posting daily, I would only post once per week.  That way, rather than scrambling to say something relevant 5 times a week, I could invest my […]

uberVU - social comments · April 19, 2010 at 1:39 pm

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by JustinKownacki: Let’s stop mass-producing our own irrelevance: http://bit.ly/ctMICg

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