80% promotion, 20% content.
Sounds good when you’re gonna sell a course for 2 large (as in $2K) resulting in a $300 website RPM. Or you sell $50/mo. software. In this case, every visitor counts (financially speaking).
But what about the lion’s share of us publishers who go after keywords with 200 searches a month and an ad CPC of $1?
Is that worth 1 week of promotion?
Somebody has to target the obscure keywords, right? I’m happy to do it. I earn a living from it. I love it.
But instead of promoting an article for 4 days with an upside monthly revenue of $15, I’d rather spend the rest of the week publishing another 5 to 10 articles.
Because if I focus on promotion so that I only publish one article per week, at the end of the year I have 50 published articles targeting KWs with 200 monthly searches with a potential RPM of $10.
BTW, what do I mean by promotion?
It’s really fun (sarcasm). You get to contact 1,000 other bloggers and small businesses begging them for a link. Have you ever done this? I did once and lasted 20 contacts. I then hired someone. They did hundreds. The result was pitiful because this doesn’t work in every niche.
Let’s do the math.
If I go after KWs with 200 monthly searches it’s reasonably safe to say the resulting traffic is higher (due to targeting other KWs by accident). Let’s be generous and say each article gets 1,000 monthly visitors. This is super generous, but we gotta assume something.
With 50 published articles, in one year I would have 50,000 monthly visitors. Problem is, the RPM is $10 so I make $500 per month.
Spending 4 days promoting such articles is like bringing a nuke to a fistfight. It’s not necessary. It’s overkill.
How about the following scenario?
Instead, suppose I publish 5 articles per week with the same metrics. That’s 250 published articles in one year.
Assume 30% rank well. I’m assuming only 30% will do well because I didn’t do any promotion.
That would be 75 articles pulling in 1,000 visitors per month which is 75,000 visitors PLUS the traffic from the other articles that don’t rank well for intended keywords but likely pull in some traffic anyway.
Let’s say another 15K visitors per month.
That’s 90K monthly visitors which is $900 per month also assuming a $10 RPM.
There you have it.
Empirical proof that spending 80% of the time promoting content is not the best use of time or resources. I’m KIDDING. That is a hypothetical. It’s also NOT the point.
One problem with my hypothetical is if I went the route of only 50 articles per year, I’d go after bigger keywords. But remember, somebody has to go for the low hanging fruit. It might as well be those of us who love content production and loathe promotion.
What is the point?
The point is this and I say this over and over and over.
Each niche is different and must be treated differently.
Another example is you’d be a fool to use display ads on sites in some niches but a fool not to use display ads in other niches.
Some people issue blanket statements such as “AdSense is the worst way to monetize a site.” Problem is, they only publish the one site that tells you how to publish niche sites. If you copy them and publish a “how to blog” site, they give good advice. If you actually publish a real-world site in a real world niche, their advice may not be the best.
The problem is too many people talk about the importance of extensive post promotion universally; as in it should be done in every niche.
What they don’t tell you is that all that promotion is only good for certain niches (such as their niche which is a niche all about telling you how to grow a blog). Too many of these folks don’t operate in real world niches. The “how to blog” niche is a meta niche in a sense. It should be reserved for folks who have other sites, but it’s not. The “how to blog” niche is a very different beast from other niches such as hobby niches, lifestyle niches, recipe niches, pets niches and so on. Very, very different.
I bring this up because yet again I read an article on the importance of outreach and promotion for every article and how it helped their “how to blog” site grow so fast. I agree, promotion and all that is great for that site, but it’s not worth it for so many other niches.
I’m not saying if you have a handful of colleagues and social channels that you don’t blast your new content across those. It’s even worth contacting sites you link to or mention They’ll appreciate it. By all means do it.
What I’m saying is in most real-world niches, you aren’t going to spend 80% of your time promoting content.
Do you think Huffpost invests 80% of its time and resources into promoting their content with outreach? Nope.
Does Buzzfeed do that? Nope. They leverage their content into multiple formats and blast it out across social, but they don’t spend 80% of their time and budget on promotion. They focus on the content.
I could go on and on.
If you’re in the “how to blog” niche, the SEO niche or personal finance niche where you’re selling courses or services or promoting something that results in super high RPMs and it’s been proven other sites will promote you because they’re your buddies, then promotion is awesome.
But if you write about knitting and publish knitting tutorials, don’t spend one day creating the tutorial followed by 4 days of promotion. Follow it with 4 more days of more tutorials. 80% content and 20% promotion would be more like it (I loathe promotion so don’t bother, but if I did promote, 20% would be the maximum).
Are there exceptions?
Of course there are exceptions. If you publish some epic article with killer graphics, charts and illustrations targeting a monster keyword (25K+ searches per month and/or very lucrative) and you’re confident other sites will link to it, that would be worth promoting. If you hit #1 in Google and you earn $400 per month for it, that’s a great result and worth promotion (and probably needs promotion).
But to spend 4 days promoting your 200 monthly search volume keyword article is ludicrous. By all means go to it, but I’ll pass.
In sum, don’t blindly follow all advice. Advice is contextual and it has to make sense to you and your niche. Yes, this applies to anything you read from me.
P.S. Okay, I probably got a little heated in this post but it’s personal. I followed the wrong advice (as in don’t use ads) for years. Had I read one person who said that display ads were the bomb for many different niches, I’d have used them and probably been way ahead. BTW, that was a big reason for me starting Fatstacks. After all, somebody has to go to bat for poor little Google AdSense.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.