Ask The Readers: How Much Time Do You Spend on Content Vs. Promotion?

  • May 13, 2010 by Corbett Barr
  • 25 Comments

In this week’s “ask the readers” segment, I’d like to ask you how much time you spend creating content vs. promoting your site. I’m also curious to find out why you split your time how you do, and what you think an optimal split between content and promotion is for your stage of site.

The winning answer from our previous question

But first, let’s review your answers from the previous “ask the readers” question. I asked: what’s the most important measure of a site’s growth?

Your answers gave people a lot to think about when it comes to choosing metrics to pay attention to. Admittedly, the question may have been a little broad and the right answer probably depends on your individual goals for a site, what type of site you’re running and what stage it’s in.

The most common answers were: number of visitors, number of comments and number of subscribers. You also mentioned retweets, emails received, depth of interaction and page views from referring sites. All great answers.

As for my favorite answer though, I have to go with the answer from Baker of Man Vs. Debt (and not just because he happens to be a friend of mine and already successful blogger):

# of people willing to pay/support a blogger due to value received from content.

If one of your goals in blogging is to earn income, Baker is dead on that what really matters is how many of your visitors are willing to purchase something through/from you. You can build a blog with millions of visitors, but if none of them are looking to purchase products or services through you, you won’t achieve your goal of earning income.

Of course, how to measure that is another question. Often you don’t find out until you offer something for sale. We’ll get into more details about what Baker means in some future posts (maybe I’ll get him to write a guest post on the subject).

Personally, I use the number of comments (both new and returning), the depth of interaction, subscriber growth and social media shares (retweets, etc.) as my main indicators of growth.

Content Vs. Promotion

For this week, I would love to get your take on the age-old content vs. promotion debate. How much time should you be spending on each? What is the optimal split? How does that change as your site grows? Can you build a popular site with too much or too little of either?

I’ll leave it to you here. Thanks in advance for your response. My next post here will be the 2nd monthly report for Think Traffic. Can you believe it’s been another month already?

How much time do you spend on content vs. promotion?

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Mars Dorian May 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Hey Corbett,

I put a lot of time into crafting my posts – I want them as mind-blowing and ass-kicking as possible !
I didn’t use to promote them much, but now I do – through my favorite hubs, blogger alliances and high quality blogs. Difficult thing to say – but I promote way more then I write. I don’t think there’s a ratio – whatever feels right for you IS THE RIGHT Way to go ! shiiiiiiiish, I’m so tired now, gotta go to bed !

David Damron May 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Great question.

I think content is HUGE. BUT…..if people aren’t reading your material then how in the world will you grow. When I started The Minimalist Path and LifeExcursion, I wrote some of my best articles. However, very few people have EVER read them because they are somewhat buried in the archives now. I think content is extremely important, but what does it do if your mom is the only one reading it.

Drum roll please…….

The breakdown of Content -Promotion on the Important-Factor-O-Wheel is…..

51% content – 49% promotion

(I hope Leo Babauta never reads this…he may never promote me again….hahaha)

David Damron

Melissa Gorzelanczyk May 13, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Hi Corbett – I would say promotion is minimal right now – unless commenting on blogs counts, which I consider fun and entertaining. In truth, here’s the low down on my blogging habits:

70% content
10% promotion
20% fiddling around on social media, getting distracted by all the other beautiful blogs and reading – one of my favorite pastimes.

Now imagine if ….

Marcin May 14, 2010 at 4:05 am

Most of my time is spent on writing posts and answering comments. Awesome content and discussing with my readers are the most important things to do. So I would say 80-90% is content.

liberateyourlifeproject May 14, 2010 at 6:47 am

Personally for me, since i have a newer blog with lesser traffic on lifestyle design, I have been concentrating more on blog promotion. This is possible because I have built some content and placed them in a queue, and can then post whenever i feel the need to.

Right, now, it is 70% promo, 30% content building.

But i certainly think that when the site has generated enough traffic and the readers are clamoring for more, I’d focus on the content building and less so for the promotion.

That’s just my 5 cents :0

Tim L. May 14, 2010 at 6:52 am

I run several blogs and one is almost 8 years old now. It varies from month to month, but I’d say 70% content, 10% promotion, 20% revenue efforts (invoicing, communication with advertisers, book fulfillment, inserting affiliate links, etc.). Even with that, the 10% for promotion counts networking, both online and in the real world.

If find that people who spend as much or more time on promotion as they do on content tend to put out pretty forgettable content. Lots of linkbait, top-10 lists, and repackaging of what others have written. They spend their whole day on facebook and twitter instead of spending time coming up with unique ideas and creating something worthwhile. Good content draws search traffic, subscribers, and journalists who spread the word, so that keeps pulling in people even when you go off the grid for two weeks, doing nothing for promotion.

Parker Lee May 14, 2010 at 6:54 am

Hey Corbett, Awesome post!

Alright, as of now because my site is still new, I spend about 70% of the time on writing kick ass posts, researching on how I can improving my writing, etc.

30% of the time promotion. This means retweets, blog alliances, super blogs etc.

Pascal May 14, 2010 at 7:41 am

Hi Corbett, this question also great as your last one.

For me, Content 90% and promotion is 10%. Best content sells itself. In my blog also I am concentrating on my content more than promotional method. But my 10% promotional methods also work well for me.

liberateyourlifeproject May 14, 2010 at 8:19 am

Would you mind sharing with us your 10% promo methods? I have had tough luck promoting mine :(

Everett Bogue May 14, 2010 at 8:59 am

100% content.

If you create work that matters, it promotes itself. I just hit the publish button, retweet my post, and let it take flight. I’ve done this since day one.

The best way to get your stuff noticed is to spend all of your time promoting other people’s work. Generosity is the best marketing.

And of course, creating work that matters.

Ed May 14, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Content: I focus on posts until I feel the post is useful and interesting and a value to my readers

Promotion: After I publish a post I submit it to most Social Media websites such as Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg. I normally spend a few minutes on that.

Mel May 14, 2010 at 5:57 pm

It’s a given that you need to put in the required time to create high quality content but I spend more time on promotion, which includes the time spent on Twitter and LinkedIn interacting with people, so that they are willing to read my content when I do post it. And I include the time spent reading blogs and getting new ideas about how to promote the content.

Arturas May 14, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I believe it all depends on the situation. If you are just starting a new blog I think you need much more time to spend on the content promotion, then writing and as the blog popularity grows the trend should shift more to writing, at the end, when you reached your goal I think it would like like 70% content and 30% promotion

Doug May 15, 2010 at 6:41 am

Was wondering if any of the bloggers could also tell how much actual time they spend a week working (in addition to the ratios)? Thanks.

Doug

Jo May 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm

My blog is about 5 months old and I spend about 35% of my time writing, 30% on promotion and the other 35% fiddling with layout, tweaking design, and all those other behind the scenes activities.

I would say that I do a job that involves a lot of copywriting and have an MA in creative writing, so it probably takes me less time to write posts than it would if I was new to writing.

At this stage, promotion is vital to me to build my traffic and grow my audience, but as others have said – if it isn’t good content, promotion counts for very little!

And to answer Doug’s question, I spend around 20 hours a week on my blog (I’m holding down quite a demanding job too) – If I could do more, I would!

Jo

Robert May 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Good question indeed…I think it varies depending on where your at. Starting out, content I believe should be your focus, your new visitors need to be enthralled, love you, advocate for you, and converse with you…I’d say 70/30% … once you’re above 750 subscribers, I’d start to even it out a bit, and go with what feels right….Once one of my blogs was above 500 I found that putting a few more hours into promotion had a solid impact on me mentally and the blog popularity (which is more perceived than numbers)… I had the meat of solid content and core subscribers to have new comers stick…just my two cents

Wesley Craig Green May 17, 2010 at 6:36 am

My blog is just under six months old and I find I spend, roughly, 40% on actual content creation and 60% on networking / promotion.

While I work to make my posts and blog as SEO-friendly as possible, SEO will only bring so much traffic considering the newness of my blog. Which is why I try to spend 1 to 1.5 hours a day marketing and networking to help build awareness for my blog and myself.

Personally, I find commenting on blogs and being active on a handful of related forums to be more effective than social networking. Maybe this is can be chalked up to there being so much “noise” when using social networking. Does anyone else find this to be true or is it just me? (lol)

Wesley Craig Green

Tim L. May 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

Wesley, I think you’ve learned a valuable lesson. The things people used to advise 5 years ago for promoting a blog are far more effective for real traffic that sticks around than what’s come up since. Those things are also less of a time suck. A few regular message board posts on the right forum will send traffic for months or a year even, whereas a tweet or facebook mention is as fleeting as the wind. (Plus those and blog comments are more valuable from an SEO standpoint–often they are not “no follow” links.)

Joan Sanchez May 24, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Hello Everyone,

I am fairly new to the blog world and I startled a blog about a month and a half ago, I have been focused on my content almost 100 % but I am starting to wonder why I don’t get that much traffic. I post things on Facebook,Twitter, and I send mass emails to friends and family but I don’t get the traffic I want.

Can anyone recommend other ways to promote my blog? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Joan

Corbett Barr May 24, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Hey Joan, thanks for writing. If you’ve been 100% focused on content, you shouldn’t be too surprised that you aren’t getting much traffic.

Now that you’re paying more attention to promotion though, there are a couple of things to be aware of. First and foremost, you need to make sure your site offers clear benefits to the reader. What is in it for your visitors? Why would they want to spend time on your site?

Regarding promotion, you need to focus your efforts on Facebook/Twitter, etc. on trying to be helpful and/or make friends with people. If you only broadcast your links and don’t interact much with other people, you probably won’t get many visitors to your site. It takes time to do this right and start to see the benefits of using social media, so be patient.

I hope that helps. Have a look around through the older posts here for some more beginner’s tips.

Kristina L. April 22, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I am a newbie to the internet world and now I am concentrating more on writing blogs and comments. From all that I have read, content is king. Also, the written word and said that backlinks is great, the more the better. I like the comments prior to mine it has given me more ideas.

Pascal May 15, 2010 at 8:58 am

Hi, My 10% promotional methods are video distribution, submission on tutorial sites etc. I have written about these traffic methods in my blog post. Have a look on it.

Glad about you asked me.

liberateyourlifeproject May 15, 2010 at 9:17 am

Hi Pascal, thanks for the info, as a matter of fact i did click on your link yesterday and saw your promotion methods.

I now agree with you that the best way to build traffic is to contribute to others first!

and what better way to do that than via videos? great help!

Pasca May 15, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Hi,
If you don’t want to go for creating videos, then you can do small things that can make some improvement in your blog.

For example,

you can concentrate on On page SEO.
Your post titles are in h2. Change it to h1.
Use subtitles as h2. Optimize your images.

Then

You can narrow your niche. Instead writing different stuffs, focus on something very deep. You will get more traffic from search engines.

Then

You can go for guest post submissions, article submissions etc.

From my experience, easiest trick is building useful content, distributing content as videos, submission in tutorial websites, helping others for free, giving lots of free stuffs like eBooks, services etc. If you don’t want to do that, you will have to put more & more effort to build traffic and wait for long time

Note: You can do the following now.
1. Narrow your niche. Just write in deep about any one of the stuff currently you are writing .
2. Do basic search engine optimization
3. Guest post submissions

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