There's nothing more depressing than spending hours crafting and perfecting your blog posts, only to send it out into the world . . . and have it fail miserably.
It hurts. It really hurts. Your pride more than anything else, but still — there's pain.
The good news is, there is one formula that can (almost) guarantee that your post (or podcast or video) finds success and a spotlight to shine in, and it's called The 80/20 Rule.
What Is The 80/20 Rule?
The 80/20 Rule is the ratio in which you spend marketing your content verses creating your content. Yes, that's right — you need to spend more time (lots and lots more time) marketing your posts than you do actually creating them. Specifically, 80 percent of your time marketing it (the "lion's share" if you will), and only 20 percent of your time creating it. This is because we don't live in a Field of Dreams world and James Earl Jones was totally wrong — if you build it, they probably won't come. Unless, of course, you give them your address and a GPS with turn-by-turn directions. This is 2015, after all.
The (very simplified) way this shakes out is, if you have a single hour to write a blog post, you should whip it up in a short 12 minutes, and spend the rest of your available 48 pimping that sucker out to every outlet you can think of. The "why" is simple — you want to grow your base of readers. Build a bigger audience. Reach more eyeballs. And in order to do that, you need to spend less time perfecting your blog post, and more time getting it in front of as many commuters, social networkers, and thumb-flickers as possible.
And don't roll your eyes — you CAN get a blog post from your brain to the virtual page in a shorter amount of time. I wrote a blog post about it. In about 15 minutes in case you were wondering.
What Exactly Do You Mean By "Marketing"?
Once you finish a post, there's more work to be done than just simply hitting "publish," crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. You gotta do the legwork! Marketing your content can (and frankly, should) include:
- Posting on social media — Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, or wherever else you can think of an is appropriate for your content
- Sharing and starting a conversation around it with your Facebook Page or Facebook Group
- Using Stumbleupon
- Submitting it as a guest post or blog tip on other websites
- Submitting it as a post swap
- Repurposing it in different formats (podcasts and videos, for example)
- Marketing it when relevant trends pop up
- Repeating the process using different headlines, angles, and hashtags
"The perfect blog post" doesn't mean a darn thing if no one is reading it, so instead of agonizing over the perfect headline, the perfect photo, the perfect Pinterest image, the perfect pun in the second paragraph, or the perfect opening line, spend your precious time seeding your "pretty great" post so that more people can actually consume your content and get something out of it. If you find that your post STILL isn't working, go back and revamp it with a new angle, a new headline, and new images.
But Wait, Up There You Say "Almost" Guarantee Success. What's Up With That?
So yes, you caught me. I said that this formula can ALMOST guarantee great success. Here's the deal: I know this formula works. I've used it for nearly eight years as a professional blogger. The variable that I can't factor in is the quality of your post and the idea itself. This is nothing personal, it's just reality — if you have a bad idea or can't communicate a good idea clearly then no one is going to want to read about it, or they'll be so confused about what you're trying to say that they won't share it. And trust me, I've TOTALLY been there. That's why I spend some time outlining my posts during free moments — commutes, breaks, red lights (while I'm walking, not driving, OK mom?), waiting for my order at lunch, wherever I can grab a second, in order to cut down the time it takes to actually produce the darn thing. If you outline, you'll see where your holes (or confusing corn mazes) are, and will magically be able to produce your post in a fraction of the time when you sit down at your computer.
OK, so what questions do you have about the 80/20 rule? Leave them in the comments below or on Twitter. And if you're struggling with the brain juice to even come up with awesome blog post ideas and you're longing for those euphoric "lightbulb moments," then check out my FREE guide, 21 Ways to Brainstorm Smart Content, which is ACTION PACKED with tips, tricks, and resources to kick-start your blog brainstorming process. Did I mention it's free? It's free.