How to build a blogging routine that doesn’t overwhelm your business

“Business blogging” isn’t dead yet. Even though a lot of businesses no longer want to admit they’re still “blogging,” consistently posting new, substantive articles to your brand’s owned media channels is still one of the best ways to ensure you stay relevant in organic search results and on social media.

The only big thing that I think has changed about business blogging in the past few years is the (welcome) resurgence of “quality over quantity.” We survived a few overheated years when SEO experts admonished CEOs for failing to post fewer than five times a day. I definitely don’t miss the “content farm” mentality that crept in to online publishing. Under pressure to produce so much new content on a daily basis, too many sites regurgitated the same tired talking points designed for algorithms to ingest, instead of for humans to enjoy.

Sure, some of that weird obsession with frequency has spilled over into social media, but the shift in attention has opened up opportunities for inbound marketers with meaningful things to say about products and services that their audiences really need. Still, when our team conducts discovery sessions for prospective new clients, we almost always hear pushback about the number of new articles or press releases we suggest posting in a given week. When that happens, I like to share three things I’ve learned about how to keep your owned media channels fresh without burning yourself out.

First, audit your existing article base

The best Agile software developers I know always tell me that they struggle to help product owners understand that there’s no “done” in what they do—just a series of milestones and releases. It’s good to start thinking about your brand’s website in the same way.

Your customers and prospects judge your website based on how fresh it feels. If you write five articles and call it a day (and this was standard practice when I started building websites over 20 years ago), most of your prospects will wonder if the lights are on, but nobody’s home.

Every month, revisit your company’s mission and vision statements, then align those with the content on your current site. I’ll bet you’ve probably doubled down on one area of focus and neglected another. Or, you’re so fixated on the latest thing you’re trying to sell that the underlying principles you want to express have fallen off your site’s main pages. Even a quick site audit will show you what you can quickly add to get your brand back into balance while delivering a better customer experience for visitors to your site.

Next, define the right cadence for posting.

The right cadence for posting to your site or social depends on how current you need to appear to your customers and prospects, and on how aggressively your competitors want to court your existing audience. At a minimum, we urge our clients to update their business blog at least once a week. For most industries, three times a week is a sweet spot.

Because we’re no longer worried about churning through short posts to please search engine crawlers, you can spend more time focusing your audience’s attention on a few slightly longer pieces each week. That said, the half-life for a solid, thoughtful post about your audience’s favorite topic is still usually less than a week. Your blog’s archives will keep working well for long-tail search queries, so topics you’ve written about before are more “fair game” than you might think.

Finally, build a long-term plan.

With a focus and a frequency mapped out, you’ll struggle far less often with the question, “what should I blog about on my business site?” Mapping your site’s needs into a comprehensive content calendar doesn’t fill the abstract editorial function that chases away many marketers. In fact, knowing what you should be writing about over the next 6-8 weeks makes the inbound marketing process so much easier, especially if you’re assigning writing duties to members of your team.

Brainstorming topics, researching data points, and writing copy challenge entirely different parts of our brains. Yet, many beginning business bloggers I run into still try to tackle all three of these steps at once—and usually their process is to wedge all that work in between other job duties. When you block out even an hour to fill out your editorial calendar, you’ll give yourself a longer runway for ideas. You may even reveal threads or themes that can simplify what you want to share with your audience over the coming weeks.

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram