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The Power of Taking Extra Time to Create Content

Posted By Darren Rowse 11th of August 2009 Writing Content 0 Comments

time-compelling-content.pngToday we’re examining principle #6 of creating compelling content for your blog but to be honest I feel really strange writing it – because it’s too easy and really should go without saying….

However it’s something I know most bloggers struggle with, despite knowing it – so here goes….

Creating compelling content for a blog doesn’t just happen.

Unless you’re something of a freak (or have a great gift) creating compelling content takes a lot of time and effort. Really it is the same as any creative process – it takes time.

Tangent – over the weekend just gone I had the honor to attend the world premier of an amazing (and controversial) documentary by the name of the 10 Conditions of Love (you can see a trailer for it here on YouTube). The film has been in the headlines here in Melbourne as a result of the Chinese trying to stop it being shown.

The director (Jeff Daniels) is a friend and we know he’s put a great deal of work into creating the documentary. In fact by day he works as a secondary school teacher and so his documentary work has largely been an after hours passion. This particularly film took 7 years to make!

I reflected on the way home from seeing the film to my wife that apart from it being an inspiring story that one of the things that made the biggest impact for me was Jeff’s dedication to the task. 7 years of dreaming, researching, filming, editing…. to create a 55 minute end result.

Having seen the film I feel the 7 years of crafting this film was well worth it – it’s a thought provoking and inspiring tale (can you tell I’m a fan?) – but in addition to the challenging story I was challenged by Jeff’s own incredible effort in putting the film together. I came away asking myself whether I put a similar kind of time and effort into the creation of my own content?

Great blog posts don’t just happen. However when I talk to bloggers about their blogging workflow I get the distinct impression that many of us don’t actually put a lot of time aside to develop our posts. While there are times when whipping out a quick post on a basic idea can connect with your readership I’ve found that it is when I set aside extended periods of time to work on a post that it raises in quality to the next level.

I know the pressure of feeling you have to get out a post to keep your posting schedule moving but why not commit to working on one post each week that you work on each day over the week.

Your Homework for Today:

It’s the start of another week – so today choose a larger topic that will take some thought and effort and set aside time each day over the coming week to really put some effort into the writing of the post. Set aside at least 10-15 minutes each day of this week to think about that post

  • to research what others are saying on the topic
  • to look at it from new angles and form a unique opinion on the topic
  • to find examples and quotes to add new depth to the post
  • to check it for errors
  • to make it ‘look’ good (by finding pictures and taking extra time to format it well)

To help you through this process I’ve outlined 10 points in the process of writing a blog post that taking a little extra time can help you to improve your post.

You don’t need to spend 7 years on the post but see what happens when instead of whipping together a post on the run you take time to ‘craft’ it into something more.

Note: Not every blog needs to have long in depth posts to be successful. Many successful blogs take the approach of creating lots of short, sharp and ‘link’ based content – however even many of these throw in longer more thoughtful posts from time to time. If this isn’t the ‘style’ of your blog then I understand your hesitation in mixing things up – but there’s no harm in trying something new on your blog from time to time. It’s all a part of experimenting with new voices and styles – you never know, you might just be surprised by the result!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. 7 Years! Oh. That’s a lot of time.
    Anyway if we can spend more time per post in the initial stages of our blogs that can sharpen our ability to write. So after some time we can write compelling content consuming lesser amount of time.

  2. I’m trying to turn my fiction stories into a cornerstone of my web magazine. Since I have recently added several writers to my staff, I write only 2-3 articles most weeks (fiction story + others) which allows me to devote quite a bit more time for the fiction stories.

    Also, on Mondays I typically have an article that touches on several news stories from the week – so I typically do think about this article every day of the week.

  3. I’ve been trying different ways of budgeting my blogging time (I work full time and blog in my off-hours), and what’s worked well for me is “writing ahead” on the weekends.

    Instead of writing exactly one post every day, I try to write 4 or 5 posts every weekend, then schedule them to publish at intervals during the next week.

    Not only does this allow me to do some blog promotion during the weekdays, but it also lets me spend more time on each post. Hopefully that means better content. Another benefit – I have all week to come up with interesting topics to cover on the weekend – kind of like your 15 minutes a day suggestion.

  4. I was just looking at trying to put out more content in less time, but I can see your point. And you have taken the other side before of writing quicker.

  5. Most of my posts tend to be a little more detailed. However, I have never “crafted” one over a week, and I am very week when it comes to posting pictures with my posts. I am going to try this and see what happens. I am pretty excited about the process actually. Thanks!

  6. It’s always been the case that the content I have spent more time on and really went the extra mile on has gotten a better response and more attention. They take a long time to write but they are well worth it.

  7. I do not usually put extra time into my posts. In some of the posts that took more time, I could tell the difference and they got more exposure.

    Your advice is great and I will try to do the home work well! :-)

  8. I really like this idea of creating 1 article per week that goes at least one step beyond what I usually write.

    For one of my blogs, it would make sense that this is the only article I publish for the week.

    Committing to writing an article per day isn’t that hard for me, at least for a few months. (But if that’s all there was to it, I’d be rich! Woohoo!)

    So this past weekend I started hammering out more structure for creating content. My plan is to operate within this structure for a month or two, then write it up to report the results. There may still be an article per day, but the style of writing and the content will vary more.

    Having 1 article per week that goes into real depth fits in very well with the new plan, and this post on Problogger provides just the inspiration for it.

  9. hmmm.. i will try it…
    Thanks for this useful post


  10. Sometimes I feel that I tend to put too much time into researching and preparing my content. This has a risk of not putting out enough content or feeling drained after publishing a post.

    I guess one must find a happy middle ground.


  11. Good point here. I think too often bloggers think that making great content comes quick and easy and they fail to put the work into it that’s really required to make articles and content that stands above the crowd. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Ok, I like this and I’ll do it. As a sailor, who receives “government health care”, I have felt for a while that I should weigh in on the topic, but it was going to be a big project. Because of that, I have put it off.

    No more. Today I start!

  13. A lot blogger tend to write their post almost everyday, actually not to keep up the schedule, but to get search engine ranking. Seriously, there was a guy who told me that SEO is the king, but from your point of view as I read your post, you are writing Content is the king.

    Yes. unique and compelling content will always be the best seller to blog readers who will read word by word. But as you know, there are just too many blogs that just don’t get their content unique and compelling.

    But reading what you had write concentrate 1 article a week is probably not my style, I would rather take about 2 to 3 days to write a compelling article… a week is most probably too long.

  14. ya I agree that great content needs time to create and research.

    Sometimes it has been there, and needed something or someone to open up to the world and link them together as a blog post.

  15. Thank you for the insightful explanation. I don’t define myself with time to produce a post. I create my post whenever anytime. I find something or moment that is interesting, useful and relevant topic.

  16. Short posts can also require quite a bit of time as well. The extent to which a short post is considered quality in my mind is based upon how compelling it is.

    Length can mean very, very little.

    The skill required to write few words and tell a lot is a considerable one indeed. And crafting such posts often requires considerable effort and time. Just think poetry for example.

  17. Until very recently, long-and-time-consuming was the ONLY kind of post I did. For over two years I’ve been at it, and my average has been in the 2000+ word range.

    Recently, I started experimenting with shorter formats. My last 3-4 are of this sort. The results are inconclusive so far, but I’ll probably continue to use 2000+ word posts as anchor content, and pepper the proceedings with a few satellite shorts.

    I suspect that the main effect of this path is that growth is slower (MUCH slower). After 2 years, I am only now within shouting distance of 500 subscribers. But the benefit is that you attract a much more engaged and intelligent sort of reader, who stays with you long-term.

    Of course, I am now trying to have my cake and eat it too :) We’ll see how it goes.


  18. I take about 4 to 6 hours writing each post, all told. I try to make each one special and I usually publish two a week. I’ve developed a loyal following that has come to expect these long posts from me.

    As a blog reader myself, I’ve always gotten more out of longer and more in-depth posts, so that’s what I’ve gravitated towards in my writing. I am amazed at how much content some people put out in terms of post count, but I’d rather read one well-crafted, comprehensive post than five or seven short ones that are (perhaps) more forgettable.

  19. @venkat I recall reading your article on coworking. It was very good overall.

    It turns out that writing short articles that are worth reading is an art unto itself.

    Writing daily is also an art unto itself!

    Your notion of using very long articles for pillar content is exactly what I am doing as well.

    Great post!

  20. I feel that I get the most inspiration for writing either when I’m trying to get to sleep (!!) or when I’m out walking the dog.

    It seems simple that simply getting away from a computer screen and getting some wind in your face allows you to put your mind gently to work. The major advantage is, when you get back you’ve already mapped out your article, thought of the places you need to visit to reference content and the witty banter you’re going to weave into it.

    I guess any form of exercise could do the trick as well, but getting away from a screen to truly develop content can only be a good thing – of course, ticking over in bed in the wee hours of the morning ISN’T as productive (If you are like that, my suggestion is have a notepad – or a phone/ipod etc. by your bed and jot down ideas – then take care of them in the morning).


  21. I’ve really tried to put in the practice lately of balancing shorter “to the point” posts with an occasional thought-out longer one. I often find myself writing too many shorter ones because I’m always lacking in motivation to write better posts.

    This post was very helpful, and a bit of inspiration for getting started with better posts. :)

  22. I agree. Creating compelling content does take time. I know I spend a few hours each day writing my blog posts. This is why I take a break on weekends so that I’m not too overwhelmed.

  23. Content is king, no doubt, with ‘care’ as his queen… I think readers will ‘smell’ when an author is baiting.

  24. I usually write about 2-4 paragraphs per post. Seems simple, but once you throw in the extra time needed for linking, fact checking, grammar checking and photo optimization – it ends up taking significantly longer than a 2-4 paragraph letter or email might take.

  25. The whole thing is about content. I collect ideas, quotations, research and notes in one file and as it evolves, the articles seem to write themselves.

  26. Great post. Content is often overlooked, but in reality is very important to a blog.

  27. Hello Darren,

    Thank you for this inspiring post,

    Your Blog post today is very apt, because I started writing articles for fun on the internet,not for money, and I did put the thought and care into them, as you mention, because it was fun and I loved it.

    Before I knew it I started to make sales online with Clickbank, I do not know how it happened, I fluked it. Now article writing has turned into a source of income for me.

    One last thing, as my article content was building up, from submitting to EzineArticles and GoArticles, I decided to put it all into one place. That is a Blog.

    You are the inspiration for that, Darren.

    Keep Blogging!
    Jim Cassa

  28. It can be time consuming create a good post but we are all doing our part to change the world with valuable and priceless content. Shakespeare is dead but his words lives on so will your.If it is worth doing then do it well.

  29. Seven years on a blog post, ha ha ha! Sometimes it feels like that though.

    Oh, and Darren, that intro on the ’10 tips’ post was a riot. I hate that pressure of punching out content (and I don’t even make money off my blog!).

  30. I like the part in the mojo post about practice making perfect. There may be hope for me yet.

  31. Good advice. It can certainly get tough to churn out the quality, especially when you start to spread yourself thin.

  32. I sometimes find myself writing quick posts because I fear of falling behind. This is never going to help you become a better blogger. Even if you don’t post everyday, taking the time to write quality and compelling content will make up for it. Readers appreciate bloggers who take time out to prepare posts rather than quickly come up with content. Quality always outweighs quantity.

  33. Creating content is often the most challenging part for a blogger.

  34. Darren,

    You’ve just described the process by which I write most of my blog posts. I’m usually pleased with the results, but frustrated that I ‘m not more prolific. I’m working up to posting once a day M through F, but some articles take more time and I end up not making my goal.

    A few weekends I was able to create 5 articles on Sunday morn, and will do this again in the future.

    In addition to articles, I like to share photos and relevant videos I find online, especially on TED.

    Thanks for your emphasis on content. It is the reason I blog.

  35. Useful post! I will do my homework.


  36. This is such good advise! I mostly blog tutorials: kids crafts and recipes that you can just post quite mindlessly: load photo’s add text and post. But I usually have one opinion post for example (http://www.se7en.org.za/2009/04/22/se7en-reasons-why-children-dont-play-anymore), I hammer my opinions out really quickly but find if I hold them back for a week or so and review them every couple of days before I post I can present much better content… or at least more balanced than heat of the moment bashing out!!!

  37. Excellent article. Great information. As for myself I like to spend extra time on articles – and work hard to create powerful content. The better crafted your articles – the more people will flock towards your content.

  38. Some of my content is written from scratch as detailed mini-articles. (I also post a lot of news clips, tailored topically to each blog.) I like to write fill-the-gap posts in particular: if I’m out researching something for another writing project, and I realize that there isn’t a good website or article on that precise subtopic, I make a note so that I can blog it later. Similarly, if one of my readers asks me a question that sounds like other folks would enjoy knowing, I often turn that into a full-blown post. These posts not only tend to please my readers, but they also get good search traffic because there’s little competition.

  39. Very interesting, thank you for posting! This has been my own trouble spot. The vast majority of the posts on my blog (which is just a personal blog) are actually stories and poems found in various places which I wish to share with my readers. Very little effort there! Sure, people like reading the stories, but I’m sure that’s not enough. Plus, I’ve been developing a new, Christian blog for daily devotionals, articles, and the like, and how am I going to run it if I can’t even write quick posts about the goings-on in my daily life?

    Definitely something that requires discipline and time. Must work on that!

    Perhaps devote my rides to and from work (which can be lengthy) to brainstorming. I think I’ll try that.

    Thanks again!

  40. There is no time limit to create the content for a blog.It is depend upon content whether you create your content like silver or like gold.
    I am giving you one example of Wooden craft:
    Wooden furniture need more dedication in polishing the surface.More dedication more shining.
    The same rule is implemented for blog content.
    Blogger is like a wooden craftsman.

  41. Definitely something I should work on, though I find that the more enthusiastic I am about a topic the less time it takes me to write a post. I suppose that makes sense, but I can’t always write about things I’m enthusiastic about or I run out of content ideas.

  42. I agree wholeheartedly. I find that I get many more page views and comments on posts that I spend time on. Some posts are inevitably going to be thrown together quickly, but those do not generate nearly the user activity

  43. Instead of writing exactly one post every day, I try to write 4 or 5 posts every weekend, then schedule them to publish at intervals during the next week.

  44. Writing good posts is hard work. I can crank out the technical stuff about brewing beer at home but the difficult writing is the anectdotal and personal introspective lines that require creativity and flow. Thanks for the help.

  45. Darren, This really rings for me. I never thought my job would be writer but that’s what it has become. Thanks for confirming what I’ve been banking on, Frank from Panic Away and The Linden Method

  46. Until discovering this post & your blog, I thought maybe I was doing this wrong. Just started my blog 4 months ago, and spend 3-6 hours on each post I write. As a work-from-home Mom, I’ve found it difficult to post more than 2x a week and have been perplexed as to how people can post 5x a week! I have found I am writing faster have even developed a method for building the framework then going back and filling in the post with more richness. I do imagine this all gets easier. Dedication is definitely key. I want my blog to be content-driven, not gimmicky. Even though I’m sure it takes a lot longer to build an audience this way, at least I know that people are visiting because they like what they read and not because of some corny Mr. Linky promotion. I just hope I can keep it fun for myself, and not like homework. I have enough of that!

  47. It’s funny you should bring this up because I was thinking the same thing about my content. I really don’t give it the time it deserves. Sometimes I assume the reader knows more than they do, sometimes I’m just lazy, and sometimes I stop before I really take the content to the next level.

    I don’t put nearly enough time into creating the content that I should. But I have an excuse. For some reason I feel like people would rather read something, anything than to wait a while longer for good content to be presented to them. In reality I know waiting a little longer won’t bother most people but for some reason my mind tells me I have to post “X” articles, lenses, hubs, etc per day or I risk losing audience.

  48. Yes, it is of course challenging to churn out quality content – even thrice per week. There are millions of blogs out there and tens of thousands of bloggers writing about the same topic, and one definitely needs to think hard and create compelling content for his/her blog. The ‘thinking hard’ part, somehow, just gets harder..

  49. You are right, Darren! I am a newbie blogger and not thinking to earn living with my blog. I have my main job that help me survive and consider blogging is the best way to release stress. Time is limited while my work must be completed so extra time and overtime to create content is my strategy now, even weekend. T

  50. Another idea, in creating a good content, just like what you do, it’s nice to create a series of lectures on certain topics. It gives readers more interest :-)

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