When I first made the decision to start taking my blog more seriously last semester I thought I needed to produce content 5 days a week to stay relevant (and 7 days a week was always in the back of my mind). Blogging is so competitive and we are always trying to make it to the top of someone's Newsfeed (because let's be honest, there is so much "news" in this day and age, and nothing sticks forever.) I have recently made the switch to blogging three times a week and I am so much happier, and my page views are seeing an increase too. The difference? I am producing quality content and not quantity content.
What Is Quality Content?
Quality content for me has a few different components:
First and foremost when you are writing a quality post, you are passionate about the topic. It's hard to write a thousand words on a topic that you are not passionate about (trust me I've tried!) Being passionate shows through your words in the post. Everything written is very genuine, and it reads like you wrote it.
Lengthy & Organized
Quality posts are lengthy, but they don't stop there! They are also organized. Anyone can write a ton of words, but the post still be subpar. Organization is key to great, quality writing. Adding things like lists and headers to break up the text make all the difference between a so-so post with great information and a quality post with great information.
I have went through Pinterest to pin something and I'd love the Pinterest image. As soon as I checked out the organization of the post it went from shareable to not so in as long as it took me to scan the page. Organization is key to a successful quality post, because it makes it easier to actually share your post with friends.
Quality posts are also media-rich. They include great, eye-catching graphics; images related to the post; and nice shareable images. If you see a quality post, you want to be able to easily share the information with others and quality content sharers make that easy by including high quality images in their posts!
What Is Quantity Content?
I would say that for different people, quantity content is different. For me personally I realized that there were certain blog posts that I really didn't like and honestly they weren't that successful. I was sharing all of these wishlists, which may have gotten me a shout by a brand, but they didn't actually resonate with my readers. I was also curating Polyvore looks, and that didn't really work for me either. I didn't feel confident sharing those posts on most social media networks, and honestly I was tired of shouting "Look at all this stuff I love, but I can't afford!" Also I think curating those wishlists was making me buy way more to keep up with the imaginary Jones'.
Quantity content for me is the stuff that you don't really care about, the stuff you dread having to write, and the stuff that you just put off until the last-minute. Quantity content is the filler stuff, the 300 word posts that you try to scrape up to have a successful Yoast SEO score. This is not the fun side of blogging. It's not the reason I started blogging either. I started my blog so I could help people, and who was I really helping in this situation. Now, don't get me wrong, I still L-O-V-E fashion blogging. I love sharing my fashion outfits (on the appropriate day for my fashion posts, every other Friday!) but as far as round-up posts, I am parting ways with them.
How Can I Produce Quality Content?
So the first step to producing quality content is to really take a look at your blog and yourself:
What Are You Passionate About?
As I stated earlier passion makes quality content. What message do you want to share with the world? What content do you love to read and write about? You can make any content quality if you work at it long enough.
What Has Done Well On Your Blog Before?
For me I know my most successful post in the world is "How To Take Notes And Study Like A Pro" It's my most viewed blog, my most re-pinned blog, and it still gets me views basically every single day. I knew I needed to create content just like this, but I didn't know if I wanted to be a strictly college blog. So I don't try to pass myself off as one, but I do happen to post some great quality college advice content every two weeks.
Obviously you don't have to be someone you are not, you don't have to try to always use content like what your most popular post is. If your most successful posts don't really match who you are right now, go back to what you are passionate about and write on that.
Develop Your Content Categories
After taking stock on what was successful and what I wanted to do with my blog I came up with six content categories I really liked for The Happy Arkansan. Instead of focusing on a lot of various things I wanted to focus on: college advice, sorority life, blogging/social media, Arkansas, fashion, and lifestyle. I have a rotating schedule for when my posts come out and then I can work with that.
So, since you have some content categories you may not have dealt with before, or some content categories that just need refreshing I really encourage you to do some timed brainstorming. Dedicate a page in a notebook to one of your content categories, set a 10 minute timer, and then write down as many content ideas as you can think of. Repeat this process for as many times as you need. After this you should easily be able to have tons of writing ideas for your blog that you can develop into quality content.
The next step is taking one or two of the topics that you have selected from your brainstorming session and writing them out. Before you write them, plan a bit.
- Who are you writing this for?
- What do you want them to gain from this information?
- What sections do you want for this post?
- How can you provide the most insight?
There may be a blog that you think of that just doesn't make sense for you to write. There are many topics I am just not that informed about, or I don't have experience in. For those topics that I know will make quality post, I contact friends and bloggers I know will make great quality posts about those subjects to see if they could guest post. Win-Win.
For the writing of my posts I usually just write in my main headlines and then go one section at a time, typing at whatever makes sense for me at the time. I don't always go in order of what is on the post, sometimes I write a few sentences on one section and come back to it later. That's a-okay! The biggest myth is that you have to write your post in order, but honestly that just stifles your natural creativity. If you have a good idea on how to write a section further down in your post, go to that section as quickly as possible.
How Do I Market My Quality Content, So I Can Avoid Quantity Content?
The biggest myth is that you need to always have new content so that you can stay relevant. You do want regular updates to your blog, but they don't have to be daily. It's all about how you market your posts. Here are some of my favorite ways to market your content.
Your Social Media
First and foremost, your social media is obviously a big place to start. I will mention some social media sites more specifically later, but for now, just social media in general.
Post On Facebook
Posting on Facebook is very important for those wanting to share their message on social media. My number one tip is to share your Facebook page status in as many places as you can. By sharing the status, people look at the Facebook page update and engage with it. This is really great for increasing your Facebook engagement, because let's be real, Facebook engagement is nothing to get excited about unless you want to shell out some cash.
Post Multiple Times On Twitter
Your Twitter strategy needs to be on point. You can't just share your update once and expect it to get any reach on Twitter. Twitter reach comes from actually posting about your content multiple times. It might seem crazy to update so many times, but you need to. The Twitter newsfeed is a scary place, and it's hard to get any traction for a tweet, so tweet multiple times. Obviously also tweet other things in between each content promotion tweet so if someone goes on your profile they just don't see three promotion tweets in a row.
Remind Your Instagram Followers
Use that one link to your advantage and update it once you have a new blog out. Remind your followers to check the link in your bio for a new blog update. You can share an image from them blog or piggyback off another update you were already making. Whatever makes sense for you!
Google+ is not a network I spend a lot of time curating, not going to lie. With WordPress though I make sure all my blog updates get automatically published to Google+ so that I can share with my readers over there.
Facebook Groups are so amazing. These groups can do so many different things for your reach and your engagement. I am a part of a few different groups. Some help me with my Instagram engagement and others help me with my blog engagement. Depending on what I need that day/week I may get involved with different threads, but I am not obligated to do any thread I don't want to do.
Pinterest seriously needed a bubble all its own. I am currently taking Pinfinite Growth by Melyssa Griffin and it's blowing my mind! Definitely check it out if you have some spare moments. I have been growing my Pinterest for a while with very sporadic updating and I'd reached 1,100 followers on my own. Over the next few weeks I will be implementing so many of Melyssa's strategies and I can't wait to let you know how that goes. Obviously Pinterest is great because people go on Pinterest to find things. They want to click from Pinterest to other articles, tutorials, and maybe even products as well. They aren't afraid to click-through so that's a really awesome part about Pinterest. Find your perfect group boards, curate boards that matter to you and your brand and you will be golden.
Lately I have been using StumbleUpon as a technique to share my post and I have been loving it. First and foremost you need to add your post to StumbleUpon. Most people going to your blog aren't going to add it automatically, even if you have a StumbleUpon button on your blog. You need to also add as many tags to the posts as are relevant, so your post is Stumbled by the right amount of people. After that you also need to share your Stumble. It's easy to share the StumbleUpon link and there are groups out there that have StumbleUpon threads just for this. Obviously don't like anything you wouldn't normally like, as this would throw off your actual StumbleUpon data. I actually like using StumbleUpon on my own so I am always careful with what I chose to thumbs up. This is a great way to get views for your blog.
Remember Spacing Is important
If you are going to be posting less and less per week, you need to know that the spacing of your marketing is important. You cannot only market you new blog post on the day it was published. Do a few things on the first day that it is published. Maybe submit it to StumbleUpon, publish it on half of your Group and Regular Pinterest boards, and share it on social media. Then the next day share it at different times, share your Facebook status on your wall and in groups as appropriate, publish to your other group boards, etc. Split your marketing into as many days as you need to. I only publish on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I need to advertise my Monday blog on Monday/Tuesday, my Wednesday blog on Wednesday/Thursday, and my Friday blog on Friday/Saturday at least.
Repurpose Older Content
One of the most important things you have to learn to do is repurpose your old quality content. Over the years you have probably published a ton of quality content (or at least so-so content with great ideas.) Go back through those, update the text, update the pictures, and market that as well. No need to lose all the great information that you have published in the past. Update the content, make it SEO friendly, and share it across the internet!
What Do I Do With All My Quantity Content Ideas?
So you probably have a ton of quantity content ideas. A 150 word blog is not going to be amazing, but a 150 word Facebook or Instagram update might be fantastic. Instead of sharing your content on your blog consider talking about it on a social media network, talking about your quantity post idea in video form on YouTube or Periscope, and just using that content for good.
Another great way to use your quantity content is to take some time to greatly expand it, maybe turn it into an awesome guest blog, or just work on it a little at a time and see if you can make it become quality content. Your quantity content ideas are not doomed to stay that way forever!
I hope that you got something interesting out of this article. Realize that not everything has to be a 3,000 word expose on life, but it is important to present quality content to your readers and avoid the filler content as much as possible. What did you provide to your audience today? I know we all want to take our content from ho-hum to hot damn, so I made an awesome workbook just to help you with that. Sign up to my newsletter for this 15 page workbook here that covers everything from content creation to using marketing effectively. It really builds on this content and I have lots of other freebies you will have access to as well.