This week, we're addressing some of the issues that arise over time, to make long-term blogging possible. Yesterday, we talked about taking an extended break or going on vacation. Today, let's talk about content planning.
Breaking a lengthy topic into a 3-5 part series is a good way to deliver your research in managable pieces. Generally, 300-350 words is ideal for a blog post (with plenty of exceptions, of course). If the content you are researching can be broken naturally into 300-500 word "chunks," it will be more readable. An added benefit of chunking is that it encourages return readership.
As you are reading through the other blogs in your network, and perusing your feeds, you will undoubtedly come across topics that interest you, but about which you are not immediately prepared to provide any new information about. Save those links, and stories, in some type of archive for long-term research projects, and when you're needing writing inspiration, you'll have a few topics ready to go. You can use your e-mail folders for this, or folders you have set up on your hard-drive or portable storage device.
A "pillar post" is one that you refer back to periodically through links. Usually, it will be one of your higher-trafficked posts. As you blog, find these pillar posts, and use them. Some bloggers draw attention to their pillar posts by linking to them in their sidebars under a heading such as "most popular posts." Cultivating pillar posts helps your new readers quickly establish what your blog is about, and has the additional benefit of helping with your search engine rankings.
Also see: Where can I find good content for my blog? and You might want to add these to your RSS Feed
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.