If you’re starting a new blog or other publishing habits, how often should you be publishing?
My recommendation is to publish regularly, and as frequently as you can manage it.
The most frequent I’ve seen by individuals is daily. Seth Godin is famous for his daily blog, which has over 7,000 posts and counting. Seth manages to publish a well written, useful piece of advice daily. Other examples include Jonathan Stark and Philip Morgan, consultants who publish their thoughts daily to their respective mailing lists. The most frequent example I’ve seen from a company is BuzzFeed, who built a content empire one brick at a time, every 15 minutes.
As a counter-example, Patrick Mackenzie is a hugely influential tech writer and consultant. His cadence is “when he has time” and his format is very, very long.
There is no universal ‘best’ publishing cadence. But in most cases, Consistently trumps irregularity; Frequent beats sporadic.
What are the benefits of more frequent publishing? First, it’s easier to publish more and publish smaller. Larger publishing projects lead to more pressure, which makes publishing a scarier proposition. It’s counter-intuitive, but if the thought of putting your ideas out into the world makes you anxious, then the answer is to publish more frequently, not less. Think of it like going to the gym. Each article is rep. Build those publishing muscles!
Writing more also lets you cover more ground and target problems more specifically. Each piece of content is another chance to help someone or show up in a search result. It’s another chance for success. If you have the time, I’d recommend Darius Kazemi’s talk, How I Won the Lottery.
Finally, you get better faster the more you publish. I’m reminded of a story from the book Art & Fear:
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
Art & Fear, David Bayles and Ted Orland
So get out there, and start making those pots.