The 80 / 20 blogging rule; what it is & how it can help grow your blog
Up until about 3 months ago, I’d spent the last four and a half years of blogging spending every bit of my time and energy writing and producing content. I blogged every single day and juggled a career too, I felt like I would have failed to miss a day. 100% of my efforts went into content production, and anything else like events, networking and distribution was a bonus or in all honesty barely got a seconds thought. My strategy was 100% focussed on producing great content regularly, in the hope that people would discover it and appreciate my hard work, and share and grow my blog in turn …
But three months ago I had a small (ginormous) epiphany, triggered by a real realisation for how the industry had changed, and a better understanding of how other content publishers were turning their blogs into businesses. After years spent being hard on myself and putting pressure on myself to maintain my daily blog features, I genuinely realised and accepted that a successful blogging business is far, far, far more than the content you produce for your website. In fact the reality is it’s probably only 20% of what builds a business, and probably should contribute to far nearer to 20% of my efforts. The reality is it’s actually the distribution of your content, the building and maintenance of your social brand, audience interaction and engagement, networking, event attendance, client pitches and not to mention the operations behind running and managing a business that really build a brand, a business and a successful blog. And that’s when I started to learn a little more about the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule (in relation to blogging and content) flips the norm and says that 80% of your time and effort should be spent on promoting your content, blog, brand & business and that 20% is what should be spent on the actual production of your content. A stark contrast to my personal blogging strategy.
And more than this, when we look at the marketing industry more specifically, for many advertisers the reality is that organic content is ultimately dead, for brands especially if you want to put content out there, you need to back it with paid distribution to actually get it seen. Now us bloggers don’t have advertising budgets nor the same issue (we have audiences who actually want to read and actively seek out our content), but it puts things into perspective a little right? The focus needs to be on cutting through, getting yourself out there, and getting your content and brand seen … The fundamentals behind this are quality content, but this can no longer take 100% of the resource available. So what can we learn from the 80/20 rule that can help grow and build our own blogs and blogging businesses?
Quality not quantity | Build your referrals | Dedicate time to meetings | Spend time Engaging | Leverage old content like new content
HOW TO APPLY THE 80:20 RULE TO YOUR BLOGGING STRATEGY
Quality over quantity
Something I’ve been talking about for goodness knows how long is the importance of quality content over quantity. Naturally, as with many of my tips, I spent years ignoring my own advice and ‘forced’ myself to churn out content daily. The reality was that my content was good, but maybe not always the best it could be – it could have added more value if perhaps I’d spent more time developing that single feature. More than that, my daily blogging was ultimately wiping my posts after 24 hours of air time, what a waste of my efforts, the content deserved far more visibility than that (and i knew it too). But despite the fact it’s taken me far too long to realise and make a change, the reality is that if you want to cut through in this industry these days, you need to be producing incredible content that adds value to your readers, and you need to spend time and effort getting it seen. If you’re practicing 80/20, you’ll need to work smart with that 20%, and that means being single minded and focussing on making fewer pieces of content, but making them absolutely amazing, and dedicating 80% of your time to showing them off & promoting them.
Build your referrals
The 80/20 principle addresses the reality that there’s simply so much content out there now a day, that unless you dedicate serious time and energy into promoting it, the reality is it won’t extend much beyond your organic fan base. To get your content seen by more people, you need to spend time building your referrals, whether that’s upping your time spent on social platforms that drive traffic, or networking to build out your overall blog awareness, building out your traffic sources is essential. And ultimately should be a priority in your blogging plan if you want to grow and gain success from your blog.
Dedicate time to meetings
Part of the 80% is of course networking, networking opens doors to new audiences, new clients, new commissions and more promotion for your blog & content. Five years ago proactively networking and seeking business opportunities was unheard of, but today it’s the reality, and in fact if you don’t get on board you ultimately miss out. Trust me, I learnt the hard way. So as part of your new 80/20 strategy, ensure you dedicate time to networking, meeting clients, other bloggers, brands and attending events, these ultimately will allow you to grow your business in every sense.
Spend more time engaging
When I met Deliciously Ella about two years ago, she credited the success of her blog and the imminent release of her first book down to the time and effort she spent engaging with her audience and fans. Responding to comments, tweets, instagrams and Facebook messages to ensure her readers always got everything and more out of their experience. This engagement with her audience helped grow her food blog into a business empire. So whilst producing a great Instagram might feel like the job done, the reality is if you want to get it seen & you want people to follow, you need to get it seen and the best way to do this is by engaging with your followers and other influencers alike.
Leverage old content like new content
Back to my point earlier around almost disregarding my latest post every time a new post was released, keeping your old content alive is absolutely essential and such a core part of the 80/20 strategy. The reality is as your blog grows and your social base increases new readers won’t have seen old content, old content that’s great quality and potentially valuable to them, so finding ways to make your content work harder for you and finding ways to ensure your content is evergreen is another critical factor in working to the 80/20 way. There are tons of ways to ensure your content lives longer and the benefit of this is two fold, your site receives traffic for something you did previously that requires no additional effort from you, and secondly it releases more time for you to spend working on your 80% tactics … Promoting and growing your blog and blogging business.
The 80/20 model is super interesting and such a contrast to how I’ve been running my own blog for the last 4-5 years. But the reality of the industry today, versus back in 2010/11 is that getting your content seen is so much harder than it used to. There’s such a huge variety of content out there, to be seen takes more than just an incredible high quality editorial. So whilst I probably can’t commit to such a high ratio of time spent promoting (after all the content production is what I love the most) the reality of the industry is that at least 50% of my time is now required to just get my blog and brand out there. But the good news is that the ‘promotion’ part (social networking, promoting my content, engaging with readers, meeting clients, attending events) is super fun, and the fact it can grow your blog is just a bonus!
Do you work 80:20? How do you balance content production with content promotion? 80:20 can apply to more than just content too … 80:20 living generally promotes a much healthier work life balance too!
Jodie Moores says
So happy I have discovered your blog, your content is fabulous and always so helpful! I agree with this completely, it is no longer about amazing content day in day out but how it is promoted. I would say I currently have a 50/50 split and I should defiantly dedicate more time to other essential parts of blogging.
I DEFINITELY need to apply this to my schedule. Really really helpful, thank you!
Great article! I’ve been blogging for a year, with s small readership of friends and family. My content is well-received, and I’m ready to take it to the next level. Can you recommend a way for me to build referrals? Thanks!
I don’t know I feel bittersweet about this. It is so sad that 80 % is just promotion…! Being so it is harder to get quality content!
But I have noted down the promote your old posts tip(:
cate // kateidoscope
I totally agree :) Especially given for so many years i’ve just 100% into content and not much else. I don’t think I could do 80:20 … but i’m definitely trying to balance content production & managing my blog, with engaging with readers, building my social channels & networking / attending a little events. Actually so far I think it’s had a positive impact on the quality of my posts, now i feel less pressure to ensure I blog daily, i’m trying to make every post the best I can :) Definitely a balance I think xx
This is my first comment on your blog that I find really resourceful for new bloggers. I’ve recently opened up a blog but had to stop because I wasn’t producing enough quality content. So to start afresh I decided to create 10 to 12 posts, like that I will have both the time to promote them and write others posts meanwhile without any stress.
I have a question about attending events and connecting with bloggers. I am all new in London, do you have any tips for attending events and connecting with bloggers?
Thanks for posting this! I just started blogging a few months ago and committed (to myself) to posting content twice a week and the other days working on being on social media, checking out other blogs, networking and learning new strategies and tips. Somehow I still feel that “when I become a REAL blogger” I will have new content to post everyday. Your post helped me see that it is not all about content and not to feel guilty if I don’t have a new post every day. I also like the evergreen concept. I also have a tendency to think if a post is a day old it is done and over. I definitely want to do better with continuing to promote older, relevant content. Thanks and love your blog and insight!
The Sunday Mode says
Usually with longer posts like this on other blogs I’ll ‘switch off’ but I found this entire post ridiculously informative, interesting, engaging and helpful- talk about quality content.
Thank you for this, I think the 80/20 rule is a really interesting strategy and it’s something I’m going to try and implement myself.
Sanchari Das says
Great article .. really helpful for bloggers . Definitely gonna try it out
Sanchari from https://freshfashioneveryday.wordpress.com/
Oralia Martinez says
What a great article; I’ve been following your blog for a while and it’s great! I think now that you’e going to add promotion and networking to the mix, it won’t be long before you start seeing the reach and benefit you’re looking for.
Thays Dos Santos says
For the going to blogger events, how to you go about finding these events? Is there a website that publishes them or a facebook group?
Love your blog!
This is such a handy post to have (I’ve book marked it for the future ;)) Beautiful photography too!
Great article and lovely blog! :)
Helena – Swedish girl in Tokyo
Oh wow! I would have thought that you mean 80% Content and 20% Networking. This sight on Blogging is also life changing for me!
xx Ana http://www.disasterdiary.de
CATARINA MORAIS says
Such a great post! Thanks xx
Stephanie Hartley says
This is such an interesting way to think about things. I’ve cut back recently on the amount of time that I’ve spent networking and doing ‘behind the scenes’ blogging and I’ve really noticed a dip in my engagement!
Steph – http://www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
Im definetly going to implement this strategy. I blog twice a week and although I put a lot of effort into my posts I really should promote more and spend time networking. This is something I really need to work on. Great post. Some fab tips here
I’m starting to realise how much more work goes into blogging rather than pressing the publishing button. Thanks for this
I love this! Being a fairly new blogger I thought the more content you put up, the more likely it was that it would get noticed! Now you’ve said it, it seems like common sense that the content actually needs to be promoted as much as possible! Thank you for this post!
Cloe X clxelouise.blogspot.com
Rosa Fairfield says
Really great tips here, it has shown me that I really need to step up my game in regards to promoting my blog.
Loved your post !! Great tips
Thank you so much for this amazing post. I’ve heard about this rule already, but you add such a great value with your tips and own experiences. For me it’s so difficult to to stick to this rule, as I love the most content creation, but it’s really a must to focus more to promoting. Your post really helps to understand better, what to do.
Liza Lauf says
That is a very interesting idea, I was always focused more on the content rather than promotion. Thanks for the advice, I will try it out!
I always follow this rule. I’m constantly sharing others content on Twitter and occasionally on Facebook.
This is so true. While creating consistent content is awesome, it’s also so much about distribution, otherwise how will you reach a larger audience?! I’m learning lately to sit back, comment more, share socially & remind myself that it’s okay to not be constantly pushing out content. Love this post x
Georgia Sunray says
I feel so identified with this post! Thanks for sharing this!
Harriet C says
As someone who doesn’t post daily I’m really trying to put a lot of my time into promoting my posts, like you said. Next I’m going to work on engaging and interacting with other bloggers more!
Harriet | Shake This Town
Such helpful advice! Thank you for sharing.
Fariha | http://www.farihawajid
Sinead Crowe says
so so true! I panic if my views aren’t the same on a day I don’t post but you’re right! That extra time should be spent building my audience, engaging and learning how to make my blog better in terms of SEO etc!
This actually makes so much sense!! I need to remember to promote old posts for sure!! Thanks for sharing x
This is really great advice. I can’t wait to apply it to my blogging efforts. I worry so much about having something twice a week, sometimes it’s just fluffy nonsense. Instead, I should focus on promo at those times. <3
This post had helped so much! Thank you for sharing!:)
This is a really interesting concept and not one I’ve heard of before! I’m definitely going to bookmark this for future use as I’m currently trying to up my blog game, I especially want to engage more with my readers and other bloggers :)