Why I’m opting out of the content race.

Leaving the raceI don’t like doing things just because I’m told to do them. Or when I’m told I have to do them.

And recently I’m feeling a little pressured to keep adding new posts to this site on an increasingly frequent basis.

Where is this pressure coming from?

It’s coming from the web itself.

Both the search engines and social media favor content that is new and fresh. (How often do you check last week’s tweets or last month’s Facebook updates?)

Also, readers seem to favor content that is fresh and new. There is an assumption that posts and articles that are new are somehow better and more valuable than content that was published last week, a month ago or even a year ago.

More and more the web is about what’s happening right now.

And then of course, publishers of content feel under pressure from others in their space who are also publishing more and more in the hope of either being noticed for the first time, or holding onto the audience they already have.

In other words, unless we are careful, we begin to write new content not because we have something useful or interesting to share, but because we feel the need to meet an increasingly tight and competitive schedule.

The search engines want new content. Social media demands new content. And even our readers assume that new content is somehow better.

Unfortunately, this pressure to keep writing new stuff, more and more often, is likely to actually reduce the quality of content being published. This is inevitable when we write posts because we feel we have to, rather than because we have something important to say.

This is why I have chosen to opt out of the “content race”.

I’m not interested in write so-so posts simply because the system demands it. I would rather publish quality posts when I actually have something useful to say.

Will I lose out as a result? More than likely.

In particular I’ll lose the attention of readers who are addicted to what’s new…today, this hour, this minute.

And this is why I don’t recommend this as a strategy to others.

But for myself, after writing more than 3,000 posts and articles since I got started back in 1997, it feels like the right thing to do.

As a result, I will no longer be writing new posts according to my usual, weekly schedule. Instead I’ll add new posts on an irregular basis, when I feel I have something interesting or instructive to write about.

That could mean posting three times a week, or once every three weeks.

No schedule. No race.

If you feel this irregular publication schedule will make it harder for you to keep up with the articles I do publish, your best bet is to sign up for my newsletter below.

My newsletter readers always receive my most recent writing in their email in-boxes.

Leaving the racetrack…now.

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

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18 thoughts on “Why I’m opting out of the content race.

  1. Forgive me for even thinking this, Nick… but aren’t you effectively saying that I’ve been receiving sub-quality articles from you for a long time! Have a look again at what you say in your current article:

    “Unfortunately, this pressure to keep writing new stuff, more and more often, is likely to actually reduce the quality of content being published. This is inevitable when we write posts because we feel we have to, rather than because we have something important to say.”

    Mmmmmmmmm! Looking forward with great interest to great improvements in the future, Nick.

    Rgs

    Robert

    • Robert, hi. I hope not! And I don’t think so. I am opting out of the race BEFORE I get to that point. That’s the whole idea.

      Nick

  2. Always go with your gut! If it feels like the right thing to do, then you’re doing the right thing. It’s really too bad that ‘fresh’ content is being valued at the expense of solid quality content. Kinda sounds like a step backwards, not forward. Anyhow, I always enjoy your posts, I always get good information from them, so thanks for sharing.

  3. Good point. But I have found it doesn’t always need to be completely new content. I spend some of my time updating my older posts and then let people know I’ve updated them through social media and these seem almost as popular as new posts.

  4. Ironically, this is the first post of yours I read (the headline got my attention). Often I find the most relevant, most interesting content to come from an archive (6 months or further back). And for true depth, I still read books (from any time). Publishing text just to keep readers / search engines current adds only noise to the signal / noise ratio. Eventually either the system will implode and people will rediscover value over novelty, or we will imprison ourselves in a new Dark Ages.

  5. Hi Nick,

    I also read your coffee site (http://www.coffeedetective.com/). Will you be “opting out of the content race” there too?

    If not, why not? And, what’s the difference between “Excess Voice” and “Coffee Detective” in terms of needing to keep producing “new and fresh” content?

    As an aside, I’m building my own service business site and wonder if you think someone who really only needs a handful (4-7) of good clients, really has to keep up with this content race.

    Thanks Nick,

    Dale

    • Dale, hi

      All good questions. With my coffee website I don’t feel the same. There are countless things to write about, and I’m nowhere near the 3,000 article stage! Also, the coffee site isn’t a work thing. It’s a fun thing. Just a hobby, albeit with a passive income. So I don’t feel any pressure to add new content to a tight schedule. I just do what I want.

      As for a freelance business, it’s true that you can have a great career with only a handful of good clients. But your website has a role to play in attracting and keeping those clients. When your website makes you look good – and current – it reassures your clients.

      Hope this clarifies things a bit.

      Nick

  6. I don’t think copywriting articles age at the same speed as some other subjects. So, all the old content is still valid and useful.

    Could be a good time to create a “best of” ebook of your posts in a logical to read order – I’d buy it.

    Thanks for all the great content, courses and books you’ve already produced Nick.

    P.S. One subject I’d love to hear more about is ZeroDecaf… from a starting up a business side of things.

  7. Hi Nick,

    About six months ago I discovered that the world didn’t implode if I missed my twice-weekly publication schedule on my sites. . . Since then I’ve felt much less pressured and traffic on my primary site is increasing regularly, as are social media follows, etc.

    Nice to have validation from you that it’s an appropriate strategy.

  8. I’ve also opted out of a publishing schedule to take the pressure off myself. It doesn’t make any difference to my traffic. I do, however, maintain a pretty regular newsletter and social media publishing schedule, and draw on previously published content as needed. For most of my audience, that content is new to them, or they loved it the first time, and are happy to see it again. Personally, I would appreciate seeing some of your oldies but goodies in your newsletters. I’ve enjoyed your articles for years, and I don’t need constant new content from you.

  9. HOORAY!! I hope you’re at the forefront of a new trend Nick. I get worn out just reading the incessant posts that bombard my inbox day after day, so I can only imagine what it must be like for the people who write them. I feel overwhelmed if I log in to my email to find a host of unread messages (FORGET 24/7 connection to social media!!) and as a result I’ve started unsubscribing from anyone who posts too regularly. My favourite bloggers are people who post no more than once a week, and I tend to get a sense from them that they’re genuinely passionate about the topic they’re writing about rather than just ticking off boxes they’ve been told need to be ticked in order to build themselves a profitable brand. Having said that, I’ve always found your content to be insightful, useful and often very funny so good on you for quitting while you’re definitely ahead. I’ll look forward just as much to seeing your name pop up in my inbox on a new ad hoc schedule. Congratulations on flouting conventional wisdom and following your instincts, and I hope you enjoy a less hectic writing routine in the future.

  10. I stopped posting frantically several months ago when my business changed. I found half or more of my day was spent posting, finding things to post, or reading other posts..

    Life has been much easier since. I even get out and enjoy life occasionally.

    There has been a feeling that I’m not connected any more, of course. But, when I analysed it, rampant connectivity produced little in the way of business that I prized.

    So now its back to personal connections and referrals as the main marketing method. I’ll begin posting in future but it will be for pleasure, not business.

  11. Bonjour Nick,

    I couldn’t agree more with you! But actually, I discovered a very fast, yet effective way to get out of pressure for publishing articles on my site. I simply remove the date of publication!
    I’ve seen that on many sites, and decided to do the same. But of course, all depends on the purpose of the site.

    Regards, Val.

  12. Nick,

    From one “lazy blogger” to another, “Thank you.” I know you’re not lazy. But by the standard of all the people I’ve read who say you should post new material three times a week or more, we are lazy.

    Like you, I try to post information that has substance. I think I usually succeed. These posts, at least for me, take some time to prepare.

    I’m currently experimenting with promoting my posts on social media, and I am learning a few things, but I have a long way to go.

    My current plan is to post once a month and then spend about a month promoting the post on social media. So far I have had the most readers through this method. Though my numbers are very small, I am encouraged by what I am seeing.

    There is much more to life than blogging. Besides, every time you post something I’ll feel obligated to read it, and I just don’t have the time to read all these bloody posts.

    Stay lazy,
    Wes

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