3 Ways To Get Quality Content On your Blog Or Website With A Minimum Of Effort #blogging

by Paul Wolfe on October 20, 2011

Back in the day Bill Gates said: Content Is King.  And yep, that quote would have been way cooler if Steve Jobs had said it, but even so I believe Bill Gates is right.

Quality content does so many things for your blog or website that it should be a no-brainer – and as Corbett Barr says quality content is the price of entry these days.

But the one problem with creating quality content is that it takes time.  And sometimes life has a nasty habit of getting in the way and you don’t have as much time as you would like to create that level of quality content that your audience expects.

Easy solutions to this conundrum are to:

  • Publish ‘average’ posts
  • Publish less frequently

The first option – to publish ‘average’ posts – is something that I recommend avoiding. To paraphrase the old sporting cliché: you’re only good as your last post.

Too many ‘average’ posts will diminish both your audience numbers, and the relationship you have with that audience.  It would be far better to publish once a week and publish only quality material than publish twice or three times a week, and have once ‘good’ post and one or two average posts.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently as commitments to my other websites have lessened the amount of time I have for writing.  I want to continue posting twice a week – but am struggling to find the time to create twice weekly content.

So here are three ways you can take to help maintain your publishing schedule in terms of both frequency and quality content.

1. Guest Posting

Publishing guest posts onto your blog or website can be a good way to get fresh, quality material into your publishing schedule with a low opportunity cost in terms of time invested in creating the material.

Guest posting is a common tactic used by a lot of blogs to help with publishing commitments.  Both Problogger and Copyblogger use a high proportion of guest posts.

And there are plenty of other websites and blogs that take guest posts to help their publication schedule.  So it’s definitely something that you can do too – but there’s a caveat with guest posting.

That caveat is that YOUR idea of what constitutes a quality post may not be the same as people who are looking to guest post.  I foresaw this time dilemma looming and posted this recently:

Guest Posts Wanted – $50 Per Post

The problem that I’ve encountered since then is that the majority of pitches I’ve received for guest posts have been just too generic.  And I’m looking for very specific types of posts – and so haven’t had much luck finding the type of posts that I really want.

So guest posting is a possible way of solving the quality content/time taken conundrum.  But how successful this strategy could be for you will depend on your perception of quality, and what you’re trying to achieve.

Does that mean I’ve stopped looking for guest posts?  Nope, still on the lookout.  But the lack of pitches that fit what I want to achieve has led me to adopt another strategy.

2. The Email Interview Method

On Monday I posted this:

New Business Model For Fiction Writers: Interview With Sean Platt

Now I really enjoyed this post!  Here’s why:

  • It took about 20 minutes for me to write – I wrote a few paragraphs of introduction and came up with a list of 12 questions.  And that was it.
  • Sean’s Kindle model is a brilliant idea and I knew he was looking to promote it – and I wanted to learn more about it.  So I learned a ton from his answers.  (That’s a big HINT – if you haven’t read the interview yet, then click on the link and read it).
  • I realized that there are topics I’m interested in that the audience here at One Spoon would be interested in.  And I don’t know the answers….rather than spend hours testing and tracking, I can ask someone who’s already doing that topic.  And use their answers to create an interesting, quality blog post!

There are two variations of this that I’ve seen around the Blogosphere that you could do – both take more effort, but if they fit the goals of your blog or website then they would be worth doing.

Firstly you could interview someone via Skype, record it, and use the MP3 that you create as a Podcast.  (Then you can post a link and transcript on your blog, and get your podcast on iTunes).

Or you could email a bunch of ‘experts’ in your field a number of questions.  And the answers to those questions can form a series of Blog Posts.

You can see Eugene Farber of www.contentstrategyhub.com doing it here:

29 Brilliant Minds Share Uncommon Content Strategy Advice

Or, another example, you can see Stuart Mills of www.unlockthedoor.net doing it with a series he called Value 101 here:

Value 101 Part 1

Whatever way you do it, interviews can be a great way to get quality content with a minimum of time input.

There’s a third method to get quality content with a minimum of time investment you can use as well.

3. Content Curation

Content Curation has been a bit of a buzz topic recently. I’ve seen people talking about it all over the Blogosphere and in various forums.

Essentially when you ‘curate content’ what you are doing is finding content that other people create – preferably great content – and linking to it.

Now you’re probably already doing this if you’re active on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn.  But you can do it for your blog too.

A great example of a regular, quality post that’s created by content curation is Kristi Hines’s ‘Fetching Friday Mash Up.’    (Are you a secret ‘gleek’ btw Kristi?)

Essentially what Kristi does is she posts a round up of blog post and article links on various topics that will be of interest to her readers.  Now I read a lot of blogs – but Kristi must have an army of elves out there scouring the old Interwebz for quality, relevant content because I nearly always find articles or bloggers that I’ve missed.

And the takeaway from this is that Kristi creates great value for her readers.  And because she posts to so many articles she establishes credentials as a thought leader in her space.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s seen a measurable spike in traffic after being featured in her Mash Up.

And that’s content curation in a nutshell – I think I read somewhere on Kristi’s blog that she has a system of marking posts in her Google Reader feed that she’s going to include in her Friday Mash Up so that the actual creation of the post is straightforward.

If you’re going to use content curation on a regular basis my advice would be to get creative and work out how to do it so that you stand out.  Every man and his dog publish link posts – and very few do them as well as Kristi.  So try and come up with an angle that positions you as a thought leader in your niche.

Summary

Writing quality content is a necessity for your blog or website – the downside of that is that regular quality content takes time.

If you have issues with time you could post average articles, or post less.  (Posting less is better than posting average IMO).

If you want to maintain a regular schedule and have time issues there are 3 strategies presented today that could help you overcome this:

  • 1)   Guest Posting
  • 2)   Interviews (email or otherwise)
  • 3)   Content Curation

Your Shout

Are there any strategies I’ve missed out that allow you to post quality content to your blog or website without an investment of hours and hours of time?  What strategies do you use when you’re short of time to maintain a consistent publication schedule?

Answers on a postcard please….or post in the comments section below.

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Related posts:

  1. How To Improve The Quality of Your Blog Posts By 50%
  2. The 3 Crucial Steps You Should Take BEFORE You Create Any Content #blogging
  3. The Guest Blogging Trade-Off And How To Guest Blog On Your Own Site
  4. Blog Post Critique 1 – Adarsh Thrampy/Sales Maximus

{ 28 comments }

Ann @ Creative Boomer October 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Thanks for the heads up about Kristi’s list posts. I usually don’t like list posts because typically they’re done very poorly. But you’re right, hers is well done.
Right now my blog is on a once a week schedule because that’s how long it takes me to think through what I want to write. I’d like to post more often but don’t want to just throw something up there. Your suggestions have given me something to think about.

Eugene @ Content Strategy October 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Thanks for the mention Paul…of course that series wouldn’t have had such a great reception without people like you participating!

The group interview has grown into one of my favorite tactics. It’s a great way to promote your site because the participants share your post, you gain social proof because there are experts adding value to your blog, the participants get cross-promotion for themselves as well due to the the shared traffic, and the readers get a ton of value.

Not going to lie, though, setting one of those bad boys up takes a while (finding pictures for the participants, writing descriptions, organizing all the emails, formatting, etc).

But it’s SO worth it. And the “duplicate post” plugin makes it easier to set up subsequent posts after the first one is done.

Paul Wolfe October 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Hey Eugene

Thanks for stopping by. I didn’t even know there was a duplicate post plug in! LOL.

Yep I imagine the set up of those bad boys is relatively steep – but once they are set up they give a good return for your website. And as you say, subsequent posts are much easier to put together.

Paul

Eugene @ Content Strategy October 20, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I didn’t know about the plugin either until I did a group interview for my original blog. There was over 40 people participating in that one, so setting up each interview one by one would have been a HUGE pain.

So I discovered it out of necessity. :)

It’s very cool. You can duplicate any post or page on your site and basically use it as a template.

Steve@Earn Money Online October 20, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Paul,

I like this list. But of course have some problems with specifics.

1. Guest posting. When done right for course it can be great. But even you talk about having a tough time finding the “right” posts… and you are offering a pretty nice reward for a good post.

While this can be great if done right, I see far to many people going into this head first. Guest posting has become the new “article marketing” and it seems to me that the general quality has been dropping. (not saying that there are not awesome guest posts…but the “average” post quality seems to dip)

2. No problem with this one. A great method with minimal effort.

3. Content Curation. As you pointed out Kristi is a great example of CC. done right. (Now that you mention it, I am sure of the army of elves theory) But I see it done wrong a lot too.

Perhaps you remember I did a regular content curation for a long time too. I tried to make it a little different and spent as long writing it as I would a normal post to. (sometimes hours)

Now these undoubtedly draw traffic. You link someones content, they usually come visit and might reciprocate, and will likely give some social media love.

But their value is not very evergreen. Who really cares about list of best of the web from 15 Jun 2010? While an article written Jun 15 might still have some valid points and great information.

Because of that alone I am on the fence. But too many of these articles really do not highlight the blogger themselves. They seem to be more “filler”. And if used as just filler are fine.

None of these are bad…all can be great when “Done right” but like everything, these should not just be a matter of, “Oh I have 20 minutes, let me throw up some links, or knock out a quick interview”

These also require a bit of thought. (As I am sure you will agree)

Paul Wolfe October 20, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Steve

Some good points. I’m definitely with you on the ‘guest posting is the new article marketing’ – and I’d definitely agree that the quality has dipped recently.

There are other ways of curating content beside just a list post – that was the obvious example, and Kristi does a great job of it. One way might be to list say the best 5 posts on a particular topic – that way your title might be ‘ 5 Takes On Online Video Marketing’ for example (or something better) which has a longtail keyword in the title and will perhaps retain relevance beyond the short life span of a links post.

(Actually Facebook is a really cool platform to curate content on – I’ve been using it for my bass website recently with great results! I imagine Google + would be good too!).

Thanks for stopping by.

Paul

Stuart October 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Hi Paul, great read about other ways which we can get quality content onto our home page – I, like so many others, feel pressure to consistently churn out nugget after priceless nugget.

It’s this pressure which has some bloggers to post less frequently, maybe once a week, and I think this approach may be suited for other stressed-out bloggers out there. I might adopt this technique, especially as I’ll be working my new full-time job very soon!

By the way, could you change the link to my homepage from unlockthedoor.com to unlockthedoor.net please. Thanks Paul :-)

Paul Wolfe October 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Stu

Apologies for that – have changed and edited it!

It can be pressurised – the most important thing I think is that people have a very clear and very specific set of goals in relation to what they want their blog to achieve and how it fits into their overall business strategy.

Once you’ve set those goals then you can go about examining the time you have – and the ideal publishing schedule that you’d like to adopt.

Paul

Kristi Hines October 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Thanks for the mention! I assure you, there’s no army of elves. My Friday posts now take about 1 – 2 hours to compile (used to be longer, but I’ve got a system going). If you want to curate, the best thing to do is to subscribe to a lot of blogs in Google Reader and then do a search for the topic you want to curate posts. It still takes a while to read through them and choose which ones are best, but it makes the initial search much simpler. :)

Elephant's Eye October 21, 2011 at 7:36 pm

One Kristi spike here ;~)

I am aiming at a weekly quality post. With a second one, if I can fit it in.

Paul Wolfe October 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

One weekly post is enough in many niches – the quality is more important than the quantity. Start with once a week, and go from there. If you can do a second, then do so. It can be tough for people who find writing a chore (for writing geeks like me who live to write….two posts a week is not an issue!).

Paul Wolfe October 21, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Yeah….I’m not sure I believe you on the elf front! LOL.

1-2 hours is actually not bad in terms of time investment for the quality of post that you produce every Friday (and if anyone reading the comments STILL hasn’t visited Kristi’s Friday Mash Up then please go do so….it’s required reading in my household every Friday!).

Thanks for stopping by.

Paul

Gabriella October 21, 2011 at 9:31 am

You make some great points here, Paul and I agree ‘you are only as good as your last post’ as is a fashion designer with their last clothing design or singer with their last single. Interviews are nice to read and if they’re not too long then enjoyable and make people want to comment. In addition, guest posting is great as two parties are beneficial.

also, if someone is seeking out comments… well, one cannot expect to sit idle and wait – unless you are Danny Brown and attract comments like a magnet. Ha ha. One should make an effort to form relationships with other bloggers and visit their websites, too.

Quality control is important. If you have shoddy content then it reflects what type of person you are like – whether you are such a person or not.

Marko Zirkovich October 21, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Hi Paul,

I think most people getting into blogging underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to not only create good, quality content – but to keep up with it over time.

At least that’s how it went for me.
Initially, there’s that first wave of enthusiasm and hey, after all what’s a couple of hundred words to write?

But soon work, family and life in general seem to conspire against you. Inspiration for new post ideas doesn’t come on demand, there’s technical challenges, plug-in conflicts to deal with, promotion so your content you’ve already put lots of time and energy in doesn’t end up in a virtual ghost town, etc…

So thanks for the ideas to help with content creation. I really like the interview angle of learning new stuff from an expert and getting high quality content for a post at the same time. :-)

Paul Wolfe October 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Marko

Thanks for stopping by.

The great thing about the interview angle is that it doesn’t have to be an ‘expert’ in the definition of someone who is a thought leader in your industry. It could be someone who does something in your field that you like and that YOu don’t do. And you set up the interview, ask the questions – and let them educate both YOUR audience and you.

Obviously you need to pick your subject carefully – with Sean I knew I was onto a winner because he’s a great writer. But there are other people out there in the blogosphere who do things that I don’t who can educate me AND my audience at the same time. (Off the top of my head, I can think of 8 or 9 posts that could be created like this that would add great value here….)

Paul

Marko @ distraction-free practicing October 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Hi Paul,

Thanks you for the additional insight. I really appreciate it.

I’ve already started to contact a few of my online contacts. 1st interview is already scheduled for the end of November when the interview “victim” returns from a tour. :-)

Looking forward to reading your next interviews.

Tram Tran@startyoung, finishfirst October 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm

hi, I use list creating as well and I think it’s quite an effective way to blog. However, it is quite time consuming to write=) Let me know what you think. Btw, May I ask how you climb the Alexa ladder so quickly? ( I was just checking out your traffic report and am in awe=)

Pete Goumas October 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Hi Paul,
It is a very nice and informative post.Thanks for sharing 3 ways to get quality content on our blog.These points are helpful for many bloggers especially for those who are new in this field.

John@Beginner Guitar Lessons October 25, 2011 at 5:53 am

Hey Paul,

I think everyone agrees that quality content is king, but it can be a challenge to produce quality content for your blog consistently. I like the idea of the content curation method because I come across a lot of great original content while browsing the web and it would be great to share some of the things I find with my readers. Thanks for the great content strategy advice, I really appreciate it.

Marvin@PsychologyBlog October 26, 2011 at 8:48 am

Really like the interview idea, I’ve just sent off a round of questions to a friend who’s a signed artist. Muchas gracias Mr Spoon.

Sam@Web Content October 26, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Great post! I’ve used #2 a ton of times for magazine features, but I’ve never thought of it as a way to generate good web content. I can think of a few clients that it would really work for too. Thanks for the tip!

Sam@employee appraisal form October 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm

These are all good methods. Finding good guest blogs can be hard, and while paying for them isn’t always necessary (I’ve found the occasional good guest blog with just a linkback) anyone who does this for living knows the value of making sure people get paid for the work that they do. Paying for blogs is a good way to get an article with an actual point to it, as opposed to the word filler that turns up in so many guest blogs.

Mike@ExerciseandNutritonTips October 30, 2011 at 3:50 am

I have used guest posting a few times on my site and find that it has worked really well as I have built relationships with other webmasters that ended up helping both of us get more traffic to our sites.

Satrap@ Online Jobs October 30, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I love Kristie’s Fetching Friday Mash Up. She always has links to really great content there.

I think guest posting is great, But I think you have to set some boundaries. I see some blogs that publish so many guest posts that you almost forget who is the actual blogger behind this blog.

I guess you just have to use guest posting in moderation or at least, not rely on gust post for content, solely. Other wise, you are going to lose your own voice on your own blog.

Jimmy October 31, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Hi Paul,

Out of the three strategies I have tried the first two. Guesting posts for me is minimal so far because I am just starting out and bloggers do not want to guest post on my site because of the low traffic count.

I tried and completed a 10 piece interview series recently. It was such a joy. People that I approached were so willing to help. Although it took some of them weeks to write, the wait was worth it. Everyone learnt a lot from each other and we created quite a buzz online. One of that interview got me 46 comments – my highest so far after just 3 months of blogging.

CC I have yet to try although I think I tried a compilation of you tube with reviews before. Does that count as CC?

Other methods I tried and liked include doing a series on a topic and then rounding up with a plus summary post. But series must be thought through carefully.

Richard November 3, 2011 at 4:03 am

Given those two options, it’s way better to keep the quality high and just publish less frequently. There are plenty of blogs with great content that publish less frequently that do really well. As long as you have great content, you will get readers.

Paul Wolfe November 3, 2011 at 7:33 am

Hi Richard

Thanks for dropping by. And I agree – quality trumps quantity every day of the week.

Paul

Rasmus@tjäna pengar på internet November 20, 2011 at 7:28 am

Really great advice and a great post ! You have earned a tweet from me :)

I have never paid attention to guest blogging before but when I read this post I understand how powerful it can be. But if I have a small blog it will be hard to find guest bloggers, right ?

Do I need a popular blog to make this strategy work ?

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