This is a guest contribution from Brooke McAlary, founder of Slow Your Home.
You’ve heard of slow food, perhaps even slow travel or slow homes. But slow…blogging? Really?
Isn’t the point of blogging to be topical, with our fingers on the pulse of global trends? Don’t we, as bloggers, pride ourselves on being the gatekeepers of information, upcoming releases and Game of Thrones memes?
Each day we feel pressured to uncover and share the next Big Thing – the app of the year, the design trend of the season, the life-hack no-one has ever shared before.
By adopting the slow blogging approach, however, you can walk away from that pressure. You intentionally choose to pull back, to put your hands up and say, “Hey, TechCrunch, you can have your 15 posts a day. I’m going to run my own race instead, thanks.”
Aside from the obvious and very attractive point of not trying to compete with the BoingBoings, the Huffington Posts and the Apartment Therapies of the internet, slow blogging also allows you to say more while writing less.
But let’s back-track a moment.
What is Slow Blogging?
The term Slow Blogging was coined by Todd Sieling in his 2006 manifesto. Essentially Sieling outlined the movement as a rejection of immediacy and embracing the intrinsic value of our words.
In other words, wait until you have something interesting to say before hitting Publish.
What slow blogging isn’t, is lazy, ignorant or careless. It’s the exact opposite. It means you value both your time and that of your readers so much that you refuse to waste it. What you create is of value instead of simply adding to the noise.
A Slow Blogger:
- Gives his ideas time and space to fully form. He doesn’t rush them out into the world simply to fill the silence.
- Writes for people, not search engines.
- Doesn’t focus on her analytics figures, subscriber count or Twitter followers. She sees the value, rather, in her tribe, her community, her people.
- Has a simplified workflow. His days are not filled with productivity apps and curation tools. A notepad, some Post-Its or Evernote will suffice.
- Is authentic, intentional and mindful in her writing. Honesty and transparency result from spending more time thinking and questioning.
- Understands she cannot be everywhere.
Why is Slow Blogging a Good Thing?
I’ve been writing about simple living for over two years, but it wasn’t until I started applying the elements of slow blogging that I saw vast improvement in my work, my community and my readership.
Slowing down, posting less frequently, spending more time thinking, studying and writing my posts, has ultimately led me to attract a much bigger audience. My readers now are engaged, inspired and my greatest champions, and I put much of that down to my decision to go Slow.
I’ll say that part again, because it bears repeating.
My readership has grown as I’ve posted less.
In addition to a more engaged audience, most bloggers who adopt all (or parts) of the slow blogging movement to their work will see the following advantages:
- Your content will have greater depth and clarity.
- The quality of your work will go up as your output goes down.
- You will spend less time writing, giving you more time to spend on your life, business, work, family or cocktails in the sun.
- You will experience less stress and less pressure as you stop focusing on traffic numbers, subscriber counts and comments.
- You will focus more on delivering real value to the people in your audience, and therefore create a much more loyal community.
- Yes, growth may be slower to begin with, but as you develop your voice and a reputation for depth, your audience will grow in both size and loyalty.
5 Action Steps to Slow Down Your Blogging
Does this slow blogging thing sound attractive to you? Would you like to dip your toe in the proverbial water?
Here’s 5 action steps you can take:
1. Commit to posting less frequently. If you currently post every day, try cutting back to 2-3 days a week. Less, if you feel brave. Then give it a month and judge your community’s reaction.
2. Limit social media to 10 minutes per outlet per day. Use programs like HootSuite or Buffer to automate some of your output. And only get online if you would like to, not out of obligation. The world will keep turning if you avoid Twitter for a day.
3. Simplify your writing process. Be it with a pen and paper or a simple writing app, commit to keeping your notes, outlines and drafts in one place. Keep it simple.
4. Commit to writing one longer, well-thought out piece per week/fortnight/month. Depending on your topic, this could mean spending 5-15 hours on one post. Publish and promote it, then judge the reaction of your readers.
5. Ask yourself before hitting Publish, “Is this truly helpful to my readers? Will they care? Do I care?” In other words, only post when you have something real to say.
While the Slow Blogging movement has its foundation in the minimalism and simple living niches, it can apply to a huge range of topics.
The following sites all apply elements of slow blogging, and all are very successful:
So before you cast this movement aside as not being for you, simply ask yourself if you’d benefit from a more engaged community, more readers and more popular content. Then see if there are elements of slow blogging you could incorporate into your work.