Two Types of Blog Posts: The Meal and The Snack

If you have blogged for any time at all you have inevitable wondered about blogging frequency. You've probably asked questions like: Am I blogging enough? Am I blogging too much? How many blog posts should I write each week?

I've heard blogging referred to as "feeding the beast" and that once you start you must keep on feeding it. I agree generally with that idea and encourage bloggers to post a minimum of once a week. In my view that's the bare minimum to show that you're regularly active. This is not to say that if you post once every other week your blog is without value, but you can probably expect that people will learn your posting cycle and will check you blog about as frequently as you post. So don't be surprised if your traffic is sparse and you only post twice a month.

On the other end of the spectrum are blogs that post 20-30 times a day. The average person probably won't hit anywhere near that. Conventional wisdom (if there is such a thing for blogs) has said for the last few years that the more you post, the better off you are. That's true to a degree if you consider that every blog post is another hook in the water for people to find you through Google searches. It also shows that your blog is very active, which is a great thing for readers to realize.

The downside to these massive posting blogs, however, is that they create pressure on new bloggers to feel like they're failures if they don't blog often enough. Also, that type of blog can overwhelm readers because if they miss two days of posts they'll have 50 posts to sort through just to catch up. They'll skim the headlines at best in that situation or may bail on the blog altogether out of a sense that the time commitment required to read the blog is more than they're willing to give.

I look at blog posts in two ways: some are meals and some are snacks. A meal is a well thought out post that has some meat to it. It doesn't necessarily have to be long though it very well may. A meal is a post where someone comes away feeling like the time invested in reading the post was well worth it. A snack, on the other hand, is a quick thought, idea, funny video, link, etc. to provide ongoing value to the blog's readers yet without the time commitment as a meal. Whereas a meal blog post may take a minute or two (or more) to read, a snack may only take 10 seconds.

I personally try to make sure I serve up one meal a week and at least two snacks. Some bloggers seem to have their own working combination of the two. Seth Godin, for instance, serves several meals a week with a few snacks in between. Lifehacker, on the other hand, is virtually all snacks while bloggers like Mitch Joel and Jeremiah Owyang seem to serve up a meal with about every post. Each blogger needs to find the right meal to snack ratio for his blog but I've found that with this understanding of two types of blog posts, new bloggers especially feel empowered to begin blogging without any unnecessary pressure. For me it's a mental gauge for the type of posts I'm going to write over the course of an average week.


Mitch Joel - Twist Image said...

Thanks for mentioning my Blog, Six Pixels of Separation.

I was a professional writer (meaning I used to get paid for this sort of stuff) for many years prior to Blogging. The truth is, it may feel like a meal to you, but I do write it like it's a snack. Just stuff I see - written quickly.

Your post is spot on: Bloggers need to find the right balance. My experience shows me that it starts with your passion and thirst for your Blog. To be honest, there's a huge list of stuff I'd love to Blog about but I never get to.

I love Marketing, Digital Marketing and Personal Branding. My Blog is not a chore or work... it's something I love to do.

So my advice when trying to figure out the balance isn't what others are doing - but rather what feels right for you.

Thanks for noticing :)

Bill Seaver said...

Thanks Mitch. Perhaps the meal/snack is as much in the eye of the reader as much as the blog writer. Blogging "meaty" meal posts have depth and yours are usually quite meaty regardless of how much time it takes you, so thanks for the meat. Is this the new media version of "where's the beef?"