Since 2017 when this blog was founded, I have held to one of two schedules. My first more formal endeavour into the world of blogging was deeply informed by the approach of Gary Vaynerchuk as outlined in his various keynotes, and especially his first book, Crush It.
Based on Gary’s advice, this blog started off with the entrepreneurial approach: Go hard, post daily at minimum! GaryVee advocated the “daily blog post,” and since he was my largest source in the spring of 2017, his voice was the loudest.
But it was a little too much, especially for my purposes, because my approach is ultimately more of a creative than a business project.
Is Gary wrong? Are there other options? Well, I think that there are other options, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are mutually exclusive. Let’s investigate.
Interestingly, my move from the “constant output” business philosophy of GaryVee was mirrored by the more artistic and academically oriented views of Simon Sinek. Sinek stated, I believe in his book Leaders Eat Last, that for the creative mind, time is secondary to the artistic perfection and conveyance of an idea. Now, Sinek didn’t use such fancy language, but it boils down to this:
Creativity thrives under all sorts of constraints,
but time needn’t always be one of them.
And it was under this philosophy as well as Gary Vaynerchuck’s, that I decided to go from a loose daily goal to a more strict weekly one.
The weekly approach served me very well from the summer of 2017 all the way until the end of this summer, 2020. But did it really? We’ll take some time right now to investigate that.
Run the Numbers
Does posting weekly actually help my site get more views and likes? Is my blog reaching more people? The answer is an astounding (and disappointing) no. Interaction has sort of been all over the place. And worse, it’s been overall negative. See the chart on the right.
Here we see that since 2018, I’ve overall gone down. Note that 2017 was not only my first year blogging, but that I started in the spring, so I sort of missed a quarter.
It is kind of disappointing, but I realized why a year or so ago, and I’ll explain it here.
Why Posting Weekly or Daily only works for Some Bloggers
This really comes down to the sort of content that you put out. Posting often is great for blogs that cover a topic, or that function like newsletters. If you run your blog like an Instagram or Twitter page, as a social media output and update site rather than a more longform and moody space to journal and consider ideas, then it is almost a must that you post daily and pay attention to things like search engine optimization (SEO).
And this is where Sinek comes in. He told a story about the difference between how he treated deadlines for his first book, Start With Why, and what happened with his second book, Leaders Eat Last.
I can’t remember if he reflected in the second book itself, or if it was during a public lecture, but either way, here is the gist of the story.
He said, he really felt rushed in trying to finish Start With Why on time, and that there were some things he wanted to include, but couldn’t, and some things that he did include that should have been, not removed, but shortened.
Start With Why is a great book, and it really informed my personal process a few years back. I recommend it to anyone who feels a little lost or directionless, even if you have larger goals in mind. However, I do agree that it was an 8/10 where it could have been a 9 or a 10. Sinek found out that his publisher expected him to give the manuscript in late. All writers are late! Maybe it’s an artist thing.
There seems to be a certain importance to going as deep as possible the first time; but only for certain types of people.
You see, Sinek doesn’t write books like GaryVee, or big fiction writers like Steven King or Agatha Christie. Sinek is more like Michael Crichton. That is, some writers will circle back to or re-use ideas. Gary Vaynerchuk has admitted that he only has a handful of core topics, and every one of his talks is just a repetition; a different view of one of his key concerns. Is there a problem with that? No, in fact, it shows that his message is true in a higher sense; that it’s universal and relevant across time and contexts.
But Michael Crichton is different. He would write in great depth about a topic, be it dinosaurs, group psychology, apes, or nanotechnology, and then after he may never return to the topic. But while he was there, he was very scholarly and meticulous. Even in Jurassic Park, and its the sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park, he covered different issues. The first novel addressed science and chaos theory. Can we control things we don’t understand, or which are too complex? The sequel dwelt in the discussion of extinction and coexistence. The dinosaurs on the second island actually created an equilibrium in nature after being left alone.
And this is where Sinek and Crichton differ from King and GaryVee. When Crichton or Sinek cover a topic, they go deep, but may never return to it in the future. What I learned about dinosaurs in Jurassic Park actually helped me get better marks in an archaeology elective course during university, but Crichton almost never talks about dinosaurs beyond those two books. What I learned from Simon Sinek in Leaders Eat Last changed how I saw leadership and the role of a business owner. There were a few key elements: Leaders speak last, so that everyone’s opinion is heard; and that managers and CEOs should be concerned with their employees, not the customers. Employees who feel secure in their roles at work will then care for customers, because they don’t feel they have to watch their own backs. And this is all important stuff, but Sinek doesn’t address it in Start With Why, and I doubt leadership will come up in such depth in The Infinite Game.
Why is that? Why can King get away with writing horror and thriller novels year after year; why can GaryVee talk on the same five or six topics for years, and people still tune in to hear his message—yet other writers will go deep with a topic and then rarely return?
I think the answer is in a difference of mindsets. There are your “old reliable” folk like Gary and Steven. We love comfort foods like potatoes and breads. But there’s also the more artistic and scholarly approach of Simon and Michael, where we dive deep into a brand new topic and dredge all we can from the bottom. But it’s hard to stay down there for too long, so eventually we take our treasures back to the surface.
To return to an old topic as Crichton does in The Lost World: Jurassic Park might only be worth the research, the trip back down to the bottom, if there’s enough diamonds and pearls down there to warrant the trip. Or, if there is enough demand.
Now, what does all this have to do with a blog schedule?
The daily approach of culling from the first few layers of a big idea, that works great for entrepreneurs. For people who generate a lot of ideas in one major field. Perhaps, it’s a more extroverted form of communication. So does that mean digging deep is more introverted? Does it require research and solitary contemplation to plumb the depths? That’s probably a blog post all on its own, so for now I’ll put it aside and forge ahead. Either way, we have these two approaches, and while I can play like Gary and post every day, it simply dilutes rather than adding to my message. I need to take a more artistic approach, as I stated right at the beginning of this journal entry.
And so moving forward, there will—obviously be a schedule.
What? Well, let me explain and then we can run.
See, I think that if you don’t set goals, you don’t achieve. Further, I would say a deadline is a sort of temporal goal. “I want to be done by this date.” What is going to change as a result of this reflection, is how exactly that goal is oriented.
The goal here is to get that one quality piece out in a consistent enough time frame to encourage blog follows and likes, but there is no upper limit. Anyone who was with me in the fall of 2018 saw that my output increased like crazy. In fact, you can see that reflected in the stats at the start of this post. I’m not ruling that out. As I get back into writing chapters for The Solune Prince, chapters will likely come out in tandem with, rather than in replacement of, the major post of the month.
So, long time followers and new readers alike, prepare for some good work, and perhaps some bonuses thrown in if I feel so inclined.
Thanks for reading, hope to see you in a few weeks when the next major post releases.