Review Your Posts To Improve Your Blogging

spongebob guy If you start every blog post with a clean slate, with no sense of where you’re going and no sense of where you’ve been, you’re bound to repeat yourself, to get caught in ruts, to miss opportunities to diversify your content and be more helpful to others. Take a look back every now and again and see what you’ve blogged about lately. Here’s the thrust of my last 15 posts:

  • Software
  • Promotion for Thesis
  • Blogging Advice
  • Business Advice
  • Video Book Review
  • Social Media / Thinking
  • Video Product Review
  • Video Book Review
  • Promotion for Thesis
  • Pointer to AMEX Open Post
  • Blogging Advice
  • Self-Improvement
  • Promotion for Donald Miller Project
  • Learning Advice
  • Self-Improvement

So, I can see that i’ve done 7 promotions or reviews. 50% of what I’ve done in my last 15 posts wasn’t as instructional. The remaining posts were split between blogging/social media and business/self-improvement.

This gives me something to work from. Now, what shall I do with it?

If I were to keep an editorial calendar, where I keep track of what I want to write daily, I’d probably want to make the mix more like this: 4 business/self-improvement, 2 social media/marketing, 1 promotion – per week.

Now, that’s MY mix. That’s me talking about what works for my blog. I blog daily. You might not. My blog is built to educate and to provide some level of lead generation. Yours might have other purposes.

Where my blog is heading NEXT will be announced shortly (I’m just waiting on another project to complete). After that time, the mix I’ve shown above will change significantly, but I’ll also be expanding what I can do to be helpful to you.

But this is about you.

Try The Experiment

Look at your last 15 (or 30) posts. How do they break down? What did you discover? Feel free to share the results in the comments. I know I’d love to read what you’re doing with your platform.

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  • http://blog.optimalupgrades.ca Elie

    I took up your suggestion and looked up my posts – 3 motivational, 1 promotional (for myself), 2 stories, 9 educational.

    The breakdown works for me, I think. I'm basically providing advice to small/medium businesses, so the motivation and education would occupy most of the space on my site. The stories relate to this, and provide another perspective (real-world application). Every so often my readers need a reminder of what it is I do, so 1 post every three weeks that promotes my business I think is okay.

    What do you think? Could this be better balanced?

  • http://twitter.com/chrisgarrett Chris Garrett

    I did a similar exercise recently, I looked at what I posted the first year, last year, and recently … man, has it changed!

    Not all the changes were good or bad, just changes. It certainly gives you an insight into what has been occupying your mind, and why :)

    Interesting stuff, I will look over my last 30 now :)

  • http://www.MarketingBeyondAdvertising.com/blog/ Tom Wanek

    Very interesting exercise. I feel like I can throw in a few more inspirational / self improvement posts. Here's my last several posts:

    Sales Strategy / Promotion for a colleague’s workshop
    Marketing to Women – Video
    Inspiration
    Marketing Strategy Tip – Video
    Marketing Strategy Tip – Video
    Website Planning – Video
    Credibility in Advertising Domino’s Case Study
    Credibility in Marketing – Video
    Advertising Message Technique inspired by David Ogilvy
    Creating Contrast with your Copywriting
    Promotional – for my own book
    Persuading Customers – Video
    Marketing Strategy – Video
    Recommendation – using stock images

  • http://amandamagee.com amandamagee

    Just completed this exercise and was presently surprised by the organic path of my posts. That said, having looked at them collectively, I now have a keen sense of where I need to go to fulfill myself, my readers and my mission. So simple and yet I never would have thought of it. Thank you.

  • http://principlesoffailure.blogspot.com/ SHerdegen

    I like this idea. It's so easy to get wrapped up in what I'm going to write next I don't stop to look at where I've been and if I'm going anywhere.

    I like to try to keep my blog a mixture of opinion, observation and practical advice. It helps to stop and reflect on how those posts balance each other.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylelreed

    4 post about blogging
    2 post with resources
    5 post about being a 20 something and life
    4 post asking questions to my readers.

    I like this experiment. Helps me focus in my strategy and what I am going for, to provide a blog for 20 somethings that are making some major life changes and decisions.

  • http://www.comfyzone.com/ Leather Beds

    Auto blogging software that creates blog posts based on RSS feeds from other blogs. You don’t need to create any content as it pulls the other feeds.

  • http://twitter.com/Melissa_Venable Melissa A. Venable

    This was a helpful exercise for me, too. I looked at my last 30 posts (almost the entire blog!) and most were either lists of resources or reviews of some sort – conferences, books, etc. I didn't realize how many review-type posts I had. Helpful maybe, but a little variety might be better. Time to try an editorial calendar to plan ahead and add some balance. Thanks!

  • hariskrijestorac

    I have been blogging since September 2009 and have produced exactly 15 posts! Here's how they break down:

    Social Web (9 posts)
    TEDxCMU (2 posts)
    Personal experience (1 post)
    Information Systems (1 post)

    Even though 15 posts in 8 months is not a lot, I'm 100% proud of every one of them. I don't feel the obligation to blog more just for the sake of it.

    One thing I noticed is that my posts do not represent the breadth of my interests. However, there are others ways I express these interests publicly. For example, I express my passion for ethnic music on my band's youtube channel (http://youtube.com/mid2theeast).

  • hariskrijestorac

    Sorry I left out 2 posts on professional speaking/communications

  • beckymccray

    I took Chris Garrett's challenge, and looked at the recent 15, 15 from last year about this time, and my very first 15. (Scary!)

    Latest 15:
    3 brag baskets
    3 parts of selling a business series (guest posts)
    3 tourism
    3 business
    1 opinion: broadband
    1 business/economic development

    First 15: much shorter, much less original content
    1 opinion: my initial manifesto
    3 resources: economic development and business
    5 business
    5 link/quote posts: business
    1 link/quote post: broadband

    Last year:
    4 site/product reviews
    4 Brag Baskets
    5 business (3 guest posts) (2 on failure)
    1 event notice

    Two take-aways for me:
    1. I need to build this into my regular reviews.
    2. Time to refresh my posting calendar.

  • http://www.projectauthenticity.com Robyn

    Chris
    This was a great exercise for me on so many levels. All of your challenges/exercises lately I have really been able to learn something and grow, thank you for that. So here's my last 15 summary:
    Launching Project Authenticity – the mission – 2 (My perception was that there were more, I have work to do. Good work though!)
    Marketing – 7
    Story – 3
    Community – 1
    Events – 2

    Thanks again

  • http://www.kaplancopy.com/blog Jodi Kaplan

    Funny, Chris, I just did this morning – long before I read this post.

    Client Education -1
    Marketing Strategy – 5
    Web site review – 1
    Reader Spotlight – 1
    Cool Online Tools – 1
    Email Marketing – 2
    Copywriting – 2
    Stories – 2

  • http://www.kaplancopy.com/blog Jodi Kaplan

    That first line should read, “…I just did this exercise this morning….”

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

    I might suggest running this list through your Google Analytics too, to see not only what you want your mix to be, but what within that mix is getting read. Of course look at total page views. But, I'm also a big believe in time spent per page as a success metric.

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  • http://www.mikestenger.com Mike Stenger

    Never thought about reviewing your posts like that Chris. I tend do a post 5-6 days/week and write about or do a video on several ideas and go from there. Sometimes it's social media, sometimes it's self improvement, or business, or even a screen capture.

    By the way, definitely agree with Jay on looking through Google Analytics. You don't want to always do a post on the same subject of course but at least you'll have an idea of what performs best.

  • meganmatthieson

    Good Exercise! My editor is having me do the same with sex scenes. How many. Where do they fall. An interesting way to break it down and see the larger picture. Thanks so much!

  • themartin

    Great advice Chris, as a new blogger, an editorial calendar would be extremely helpful. Reviewing / tracking posts will also help to ensure you're staying true to your personal brand. Also, I own both your books on social media, great resources too. I tell myself “brevity” all the time now whenever I post.

  • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh

    The ‘goals’ feature in GA is worth exploring if you want to drill-down into how your pillar articles are performing and/or setting targets re: click-thrus etc.

    @chrisbrogan for me the difference is that your articles tend to be shorter than in 08/09. Your article about creating an ecosystem. That was gold-dust.

  • http://www.r4cards.co.uk/ r4 nintendo ds

    Very useful and informative suggestions provided here. I will surly look forward to it for improving the blogging system. I really like the way this article is written. I have learned great knowledge from there. Thanks.

  • musingsofahousewife

    Interesting. I never thought of this, but since I blog on a variety of topics, this is an interesting study. Of my last 20 posts, 5 were on real food, 2 on fashion, 2 on parenting, 3 on american idol recaps, 2 sponsored posts, 1 on health/toxins, and then 1 on life, and a few other random things. I used to blog primarily about my life, and now the majority are informational. I need to get back to more of a balance. Thanks for this. I think an editorial calendar is just what I need. I keep a lame one (basically only if something specific is due) but I need to make it more a part of my blogging strategy.

  • http://grootship.com Rex

    I use my blog slightly differently, every post is an idea of something you can do in a corporation. I know everyone posts their thoughts and ideas, but I think this is different. Every post is in the format of Problem / Solution. It's like coming up with a new business idea every day (of course, some are better than others.)

    I feel like eventually I'm going to run out of ideas (I don't know what I was thinking posting every day), but I've been able to keep it up since April 1st, with some help from my friends. So that's the other part. I'd like this to be a blog that anyone can guest post on if they have an idea. That way it can be a repository of ideas of everyone, not just me. And then maybe I (we) won't run out of ideas.

    It's hard to categorize them, but if I were to use very general categories for the last 15 it would look like this:

    Ideas for meetings: 4
    Things to do for yourself: 6
    Ideas involving others: 5

    Thanks for your ideas, Chris. They help expand my mind.

  • marymcd

    Great reminder, Chris. We set up a monthly calendar for all of our blogs, and have a theme that we may weave through one, two, or all three (relationships was February's theme, and we talked about different ways that relationships affect our productivity, throughput, etc.)

    Yep, we're still not bulletproof and will/may repeat a post or thought; but at least with a theme, my staff and I can ensure we're linked up a bit, and can also share ideas freely for future blog posts with each other (“Hey, I just came across a great idea that would fit better in your blog than mine!”)

  • http://www.gillianpritchett.com Gillian

    So should we have a schedule or adopt a serendipitous approach and then analyse afterwards as you suggest ? voilà la question !!

    I have a schedule. Iw rote one finally at the beginning of the year. However ….. if you checked my blog you'd see that I 've only written one this year. Yes in four months I have only written one. I realised today why this is… I was so determined to stick to my schedule of the type of posts I intended to write that it made it a chore and I let the day job and doing stuff on the biz get in the way. In previous years I wrote lots of blog posts (not as many as you 'tis true but a respectable and consistent amount) and yet I still had a day job and worked on my biz. The difference ? I didn't have a schedule I just wrote spontanteously on whatever grabbed my attention, whatever I thought it would be useful to share etc.

  • http://www.rezdwanhamid.com/ Rezdwan Hamid

    I started my blog with an editorial calendar in mind and the habit has continued till today. I also felt that an editorial calendar is a must for new bloggers.

    It's been a mix of articles, reviews and tutorials (among other things) and they go out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday respectively. Tuesdays and Thursdays are more flexible blog posts.

    It may seem a little rigid to keep to this type of editorial calendar but it keeps me on track about the mix of blog posts and in a way, it also forces me to keep blogging consistently.

  • http://www.rondegiusti.com/ Ron De Giusti

    I am not a full-time blogger. It is something I enjoy doing on the side of my pay-the-bills profession of doing consulting on Microsoft CRM and Sharepoint projects.

    Because blogging is something I do on the side, I feel my biggest constraint is that I do not keep to an editorial calendar.

    I would imagine that most people who do not blog as a full-time profession find that their biggest constraint is that they find it difficult to blog with some regularity, which is most likely tied to the fact that they have not created and are able to stick to an editorial calendar.

  • http://from.simontsmall.com Simon T Small

    Thanks dude, have reviewed all my posts, and the result is a re-categorisation of them all!

  • http://favit.com/panciuc Radu Panciuc

    The problem with my blog is that I can't mix my moods of writing. I don't write as often as I would like to but when I start on something I kind of stick to the same category for 5 posts. It happens to find 5-6 interesting videos, I post them throughout one week. I realize there are too many clips on the blog and then I think that I should write something more meaningful and personal. I do that for 1 week and I start again with some clips. I really need to arrange my posts and try to shuffle them from time to time. One way I try now is to save them as drafts and publish them at some later time. This way it doesn't look like I've been posting too much on the same category.

  • acerlilly

    OMG you are so right to tell us to see what we've posted about. I don't blog. I give info and opinions on others sites… then I forget about it. Saw you on Twitter, I just read this blog of yours and was really interested in continuing. I looked up some old posts from last month and they aren't too terrible. Ethics, Taxes, People, Antiques, Self, Nostalgia, and Art. Wow didn't know it was so diverse. Would love to blog, I need a website? Yes? Thanks!

  • JoshuaGarrison

    Interesting read Chris, thanks for sharing. what I try to do the most is to vary on the type of blog post I write and the kind of information I provide on it, just like you do. I also post every 2 weeks a list of my latest blog posts. (I don't post as frequently as you).

    I recommend bloggers looking for advices to join the conversations on http://startups.com

  • http://roperdoespr.blogspot.com Samantha

    I'm still trying to decide where to take my blogging. I'm still a student but I'm using my blog as a sort of case study/my response to articles/my professional experience type of dump. I am working on finding some sort of unifying theme. Anyone have any tips on how to decide what audience to reach? I don't know if I want to reach other PR students or try and communicate with established bloggers, or both.

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  • Meaghan Roberts

    I am definitly going to review my blog posts now to see where I have gone. I never really thought about going back and making sure to start each new post with a clean slate. My blog is centered around a specific topic, so I know I have repeated some. I have just recently started to blog, so I will definitely keep your tip in mind when I write each new post. Thanks for the advice!

  • http://thesocialmediachronicle.blogspot.com/ Natalie DeNike

    This is a very helpful tip. I often feel that my blog posts start to become stale or overdone when I create or repeat similar content. When trying your experiment, I found that many of my posts had a similar tone and repetitive nature. The content varied slightly, but not enough to excite an audience. Moving forward, I plan to start with an open mind for my blog posts. Thanks for the tip.

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    then I forget about it. Saw you on Twitter, I just read this blog of yours and was really interested in continuing. I looked up some old posts from last month and they aren't too terrible. Ethics, Taxes, People, Antiques, Self, Nostalgia, and Art. Wow didn't know it was so diverse.

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