I honestly didn’t wake up a week ago and decide to take shots at my former business partner Darren Rowse: we can/ do disagree on a range of things (in a good way..indeed I valued him as a business partner way back then, working through different ideas is the BEST way to get the BEST out of your business ) but I have to take umbrage with another of his posts.
No offense (I know that’s cliched) but honestly Darren, none meant.
This post: How Much Content Should I Have Ready to Go When I Launch a Blog? and it’s recommendations are…well, let’s just say I disagree 😉
To tl;dr his post, Darren recommends that you have 3-5 posts published, 5-10 posts ready to publish and 20+ blog post ideas “brainstormed.”
Sorry, but seriously this is balls.
Here’s my comment on the post (with one typo fixed) and explanation to follow:
Sorry Darren to disagree again but 3-5 doesn’t go close.
But that given, depends on your launch strategy.
If you simply launch with no publicity, no contacting people, PR etc yeah 3-5 is all very well and good.
But lets pretend that you can actually get decent attention with your launch…I know you certainly could. People come in (in a spike, be it small/M/L) to check out your new site.
Do you really want to present them 3-5 posts or 20 or even 100 posts that highlight the full range of topics/ subtopics you want to cover?
The key with ANY good launch is like catching a fish: once you get them interested you want to hook them into reading the site. 3-5 posts doesn’t even come close. At a standard, depending on the site I’d say 10 but more 20+ posts, and depending on the topic possibly more.
Of note is that Gawker sites use to launch (out of private, ie non-Googlable) with often 100+ posts, that’s because when people come looking they want to cater for them with a variety of options.
You see a “launch” done right should ALWAYS involve more posts, end of story.
My analogy in that comment I will repeat again: it’s like catching a fish, once you get the fish (in this case your readers) interested you want to permanently hook them, and you need a variety of bait to do so.
Unless your blog is about Llama farming in far eastern Peru, or a similar extraordinarily niche topic, your bait (your content) has to be more than 3-5 posts when you launch, end of story.
A proper launch (and I note this in the comment above) should include publicity. That might be something as simple as emailing everyone you know, but it may include press releases, ad campaigns, and a full blown PR campaign.
If you do it properly it should result in some sort of surge of new readers (might be 100, might be 10,000… I’ve experienced both.) The key here is to turn those one off “I’ve read you’ve launched a site and am checking it out” readers into long term readers.
20 is a figure I’ve used, but even anything up to 100 helps. The key to ANY good launch is to get the new traffic to come back, and 3-5 posts isn’t a lot to offer. 20+ posts, particularly if your topic isn’t uber niche is the way to go: the theory is to offer content (bait) to as many people coming to your site as possible, and you can’t do that in 3-5 posts. 20+ posts you can.
Give your launch customers bait, give them a full range of content you intend to offer at launch that you expect to deliver full term. Given as many people as you can a reason to read your blog on a regular basis.
I mentioned in the comment at Problogger the way Gawker use to launch their sites: I don’t think an individual blogger should go that far, but likewise Nick Denton knows his stuff, and that’s why he launches blogs the way he does. You don’t have to believe me, but you can look at one of the best and see how the serious pros do it.