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Is this Little-Known Content Mistake Costing You Subscribers?

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When I was five years old, I loved candy. Okay, who are we kidding? I still love candy. But this story is about me as a five-year-old so bear with me.

Halloween was of course one of my most favorite times of the year, and after a particularly good “haul” one year, my dad decided to give me permission to do the unthinkable – eat as much of my candy as I wanted. I felt like Scrooge McDuck diving into his pool of gold coins every time I reached into my pumpkin-themed bucket for another handful of candy.

You might be able to guess what happened next. That’s right, I ate so many Snickers and Twizzlers and whatnot that I got very sick. It was several weeks before I could even look at candy again.

The lesson my dad was trying to teach me was that moderation is key in whatever you do. At five years old, I was happy to eat candy until I was sick, but I wasn’t ready to pay those consequences. It never crossed my mind that I could have too much of something so amazingly good. I didn’t understand that more isn’t always better.

Your blog or podcast content is like candy. (Well, hopefully!) In other words, it’s really good, and people want it. Readers come to your site for their virtual sugar fix, like five year olds on Halloween flock to the house giving out the full-sized Hershey bars. At least, that’s the goal, right? You want your readers to love your content.

Only, too much content can give your readers a stomach ache.

Okay, maybe not a stomach ache, but if you’re posting too much content and your readers can’t keep up, it’s like eating too much candy. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. I know you have a lot of ideas. I do too. But if you give people more content than they can handle, they’re going to unsubscribe.

How much is too much? That depends on your niche. Someone coming to a blog for news is probably going to want updates several times every day. That’s why a site like Mashable can get away with posting so often. In other niches, posting that often is obnoxious. People don’t have the time to read that much! For example, Social Media Examiner posts about once per day. They have a huge pool of writers, so several posts a day might be doable from a production standpoint, but their posts are so in-depth that it would overwhelm readers in a hurry.

You run the risk of getting boring too. For example, Jenny at The Bloggess posts a few times per week, but rarely more than once per day. Her blog is about her life – so she writes when interesting things happen. If she forced herself to post three times a day, half of those posts might be nothing more than, “Uh…so I had a chicken salad sandwich for lunch…”

It also depends on what your readers are used to. If you post once a week and then suddenly amp it up to post every day, people are going to step back in a very surprised way. This is especially true of your email subscribers. No one likes an inbox full of stuff they weren’t expecting, even if that stuff is really good content. So, if you want to start posting more content, slowly increase you post rate. Let people dip their feet in the pool and get in slowly rather than pushing them in when their backs are turned.

The bottom line: When thinking about post rate, the question isn’t always, “Am I posting enough?” Sometimes the question is, “Am I posting too much?” No matter how tasty your content may be, you need to practice moderation to keep subscribers around and interested.

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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  • bdorman264

    Ah yes, how much is enough? I have friends who post every day and usually not short posts either. There is no way I can keep up with them every day and visit others in my community as well. They know this however; and if it fits their model then rock-n-roll, right?
     
    I suppose some do it to keep eyeballs on their site and increase traffic but I liken it to your candy analogy; too much of a good thing and a lot of it is getting passed by because it’s just too much.
     
    My vote is moderation and quality, I think you can be more impactful.
     
    Jenny Lawson at  The Bloggess rocks; I love her stuff, but even her schedule doesn’t allow me to get there every post. Of course, when you have 5,000 comments on a post I don’t think she is missing me…..:)

    • allison_boyer

       @bdorman264 Jenny totally rocks! I’m with you on the moderation and quality thing! 🙂

    • Rick

      Great question Bill. How much is enough? I think that varies from blog to blog and community to community. One thing I’m certain of that is almost a mantra for me but consistency, consistency, consistency. Be consistent and you have a far better chance of succeeding.

  • basilpuglisi

    I totally agree with this 100%, that is why even with DigitalEthos.org and its recent growth we keep our Digital Media Daily at just once a day, as a content portal focused on Awareness and Education it allows us to center on quality not quantity.

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