If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to start a blog, please be forewarned that the blogosphere has a real zombie problem.
No, not that kind of zombie.
“Zombie” is a slang term used to describe a blog that has stopped publishing new posts. In other words, the blog has joined the Blogosphere of the Living Dead, which is comprised of blogs that still have a valid URL, but desperately crave new “Posts!”
It’s Not Personal—Zombies are Professional
If you’re considering starting a personal blog (especially one about “real zombies”), then please stop reading—and start blogging.
However, if you’re considering starting a professional blog, then please continue reading. By a “professional blog” I do not mean a blog that makes money. I simply mean a blog that’s part of the social media strategy for your organization or a blog that helps advance your professional career—which, yes, may also directly or (far more likely, if at all) indirectly make you money.
If you are seriously considering starting a professional blog, before you do anything else, complete the 20-10-5 plan.
The 20-10-5 Plan
- Brainstorm 20 high level ideas for blog posts
- Write 10 rough drafts based on those ideas
- Finish 5 ready-to-publish posts from those drafts
If you are unable to complete this simple plan, then seriously reconsider starting a professional blog.
Please Note: I will add the caveat that if writing is not your thing, and you’re planning on podcasting or video blogging instead, I still adamantly believe you must complete the 20-10-5 plan. In essence, the plan is simply a challenge to see if you can create five pieces of ready-to-publish content—BEFORE you launch your professional blog, since IMHO—if you can’t, then don’t.
Recommended Next Steps
If you completed the 20-10-5 plan, then after you launch your blog, consider the following recommendations:
- Do not post more than once a week
- Maintain an editorial calendar and schedule your future posts
- Finish more ready-to-publish posts (you’re good until Week 6 because of the 20-10-5 plan)
Yes, you’ll be tempted to start posting more than once a week. Yes, you’ll be eager to share your brilliance with the blogosphere.
However, just like many new things, blogging is really fun—when it’s new.
So let’s run the numbers:
- Posting once a week = 52 blog posts a year
- Posting twice a week = 104 blog posts a year
- Posting five times a week (basically once every weekday) = 260 blog posts a year
I am not trying to harsh your mellow. I am simply saying that you need to pace yourself—especially at the beginning.
I am not a Zombie—or a Social Media Expert
I am not a “social media expert.” In fact, until late 2008, I wasn’t even interested enough to ask people what they meant when I heard them talking about “social media.” I started blogging, tweeting, and using other social media in early 2009.
Do I practice what I preach? Check my archives.
My blog was started in March 2009. I published 5-8 posts per month (1-2 posts per week) for each of the first five months, and then I gradually increased my posting frequency. Now, almost two years later, I have published 236 posts on this blog, which is an overall average of 10 posts per month (2-3 posts per week), without ever posting fewer than 5 times in one month.
So if you do decide to become a blogger, please don’t become a zombie in 2011—wait until the Zombie Apocalypse of 2012 :-)