Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I often scoff at conventional wisdom about blogging, content marketing, etc. Which brings us to the fact that I’ve been a bit remiss when it comes to blogging (which, of course, is considered a cardinal sin). That’s partially due to the holidays and the resulting 24/7 presence of my children. But I’ve also been distracted with…you know, life. Which brings me to my current heresy:
Please don’t post when you have nothing to say.
There are a gazillion websites out there that talk about the importance of regular blogging and offer suggestions on how to come up with topics. But then there’s reality. When you post just to be posting, it’s more obvious than you think. People know. And that’s not a good thing.
With that in mind, here’s why you shouldn’t post just because the calendar says so.
You annoy your readers.
The cry of “There’s too much content out there!” is almost a cliche by now. But the same people who say that are also the ones who say that regular posting is of paramount importance. And it is — if you have a good reason. But posting just to be posting annoys the heck out of people who regularly read your blog because they find it valuable, relevant, interesting, etc. It’s analogous to voluntarily giving a retailer your email address as part of the payment process, only to get dozens of spammy emails that you have zero interest in. Just don’t.
You dilute your brand.
You spent years developing your brand and building your authority as an influencer. It only takes a couple of garbage posts to undo all of that.
It doesn’t help SEO.
Sure, regular posting is an SEO best practice. But it’s far from the only factor in determining SERP rankings. Views, shares, backlinks, quality content, etc., all count, too. Which is why junk content can hurt more than it helps.
What to do instead
With that said, it’s still not a good idea to just disappear for weeks at a time. For one thing, it frustrates your followers. For another, an outdated blog makes people wonder if you’re even still in the game. And Google frowns upon it. So here are some things you can do when you experience those occasional dry spells:
Publish an “I’m still here” post.
Maybe it’s not ideal, but it demonstrates that you’re still around without wasting anyone’s time or attention. Explain that you’re temporarily busy with…whatever. Admit that you don’t have a good topic in mind and tell your readers that you don’t want to waste their time. Assure them that you’ll be back soon, and include a date if that’s feasible. I’d much rather see this than a post that’s nothing but fluff.
You don’t have to create everything from scratch. Curating quality content still adds value for your readers, and it ingratiates you to the authors of the content you share. The key is to add a sentence or two that expresses your own thoughts about the content you’re sharing.
Post an image.
Find an image you like, stick your favorite quote on it, and post. It’s an instant update that takes only a few seconds for people to consume and appreciate.
Ask a question.
If you have enough followers — and those followers are relatively engaged — let them do the work for you. Post a survey. Ask a “What do you think?” question (the sneaky bonus is that this will provide you with topics for future blog posts). Invite a reader to address a topic that’s of particular importance to them.
Send people somewhere else.
This is probably the mother of all heresies. But, trust me — your loyal followers would greatly appreciate being referred to a different source, especially when the alternative is something that makes them wish they had spent that time brushing their teeth. Share some of the resources you depend on.
Do the work.
If you feel compelled to publish content just because your calendar app is getting all bouncy, do it right. Take a break from whatever is distracting you, do your research, and write a real blog post that adds real value.
Here’s an analogy. As a born-and-bred Southerner, I was raised with the knowledge that wearing white shoes after Labor Day is verboten. But let’s say that those white shoes are really, really comfortable. And your dark shoes have stiletto heels that have proven to be more than you can handle. Plus, they give you blisters. Sure…ideally, you’d be prepared with brand-new dark shoes way before Labor Day. But, hey — life ain’t ideal. So maybe you just haven’t gotten around to it. And, in that case, it would be dumb to wear shoes that hurt you just because it’s after Labor Day. Resist the tyranny of the calendar!