You’re about to launch a blog for your business. How much content should you have first?
You’re getting ready to launch a blog for your business. Most often, this happens as part of a larger website overhaul. Maybe you’re already revamping your site, and while you didn’t have a blog on your old site, you’re ready to start a content marketing strategy with your new website.
Or maybe you used to blog more, but fell off the wagon. Now you’re refreshing your blog page to make it look more modern. The question is: Do you need to have a backlog of content before you launch?
The answer, as so many things in life, depends on your circumstances. If you’re launching a new blog, relaunching an old blog, or in the middle of redeveloping your current blog, your strategy will vary. Here’s our breakdown of what you should do in each of those circumstances.
If your blog is ready to go, just start publishing.
Some businesses want to build up a backlog so they can launch with more of a “splash.” In general, I think this is a misguided way of thinking about a business blog. You aren’t Netflix; no one is waiting with baited breath for your content to drop.
Building a backlog is all well and good so long as it doesn’t prevent you from publishing your content right away. However, if you’re done developing your blog, there’s no reason to wait. In fact, doing so only delays your ability to rank for keywords.
As we’ve said before, it usually takes about 6 months for blog content to begin ranking organically. If you delay the launch of your blog for a month or two just to build up a backlog, you’re only prolonging that period. And by the time visitors do start coming to your blog through organic search, you’ll already have built a backlog from your blogging.
If you blog once a week, it will take two months to create a content backlog. The only question is whether your content is available on your blog during those two months as you write it. For me, the answer is a pretty obvious “yes.”
If you have time to build up a backlog before your blog launch, do so.
That said, if your current website is under development, or if you’re revamping your blog page, this time is a perfect opportunity to begin building a content backlog.
After all, the main reason to launch your blog with a content backlog is that it adds immediate credibility to your archive. If someone comes to visit your blog page and they only see one or two posts, the lack of depth to your content catalog will be somewhat anticlimactic. On the other hand, if you already have a page or two in your content archive, it’s a signal that you can speak authoritatively on the subject.
On its own, this reason isn’t important enough to justify building up a pre-launch content archive. But if you’re already waiting for your website or blog page to undergo development, then it’s smart to use that time to create your backlog.
For our clients, we usually like to launch their websites with 4–8 blog posts. This fills up the content archive and gives those initial blogs an early chance to start ranking.
If you have content from a previous blog, post and backdate.
Some blogs come with baggage—a mixed bag of old content that may or may not still be valuable along with some true gems. If you have this, great! Having a content archive that goes back a few years looks good for your blog, even if older posts are a big sporadic.
You should clear up anything that is irrelevant or so dated that it would make you look bad. For instance, if you used your blog to post old company announcements, job listings, new hires that are now hold hires, etc., it’s good to delete these. Similarly, posts that contain information that is no longer accurate should go.
But do keep the pieces that have aged well, and if you can import them with their original publication dates, all the better. If for whatever reason you’re importing blog posts individually, it’s not strictly necessary to keep their original publication dates, but it does look good if you can. Just make sure you don’t publish them all on one day.
Once you launch, stick to your schedule.
- Leaving gaps in your posting schedule looks unprofessional. Sure, you can avoid this by omitting the publication date on your blog, but I hate doing this, because it means your readers don’t know how relevant your content is. Dates are important, and if you can show that you’ve been publishing a post (or more!) a week for several consecutive months, it shows that you value your blog and take your content seriously.
- Once you start skipping posts, it’s hard to get back into the discipline of regular writing. I’ve seen this happen numerous times. The moment someone starts prioritizing other tasks over regular blog posting, its sets a precedent in which anything comes first. When this happens, the blog eventually dies—and with it, your content strategy. It’s easy to discount the value of a single post, but the true value of your blog lies in its cumulative strength. Don’t neglect it.
- I said earlier that most business blogs don’t have audiences waiting for them to release their latest post. But then—some do. If you plan for your content to set you up as an industry leader, it is absolutely imperative that you keep to a schedule. If you’re not going to make your publication date, why should your audience show up?
Launching with a content backlog is far less important than posting regularly once you do launch. With regular posting, you will have a content backlog in a matter of weeks. Without regular posting, your blog launch won’t mean anything, because your blog won’t last.