Sometimes we get so wrapped up in meeting deadlines, posting content, researching and brainstorming new ideas, applying keyword research techniques and analyzing data that comes in on our website’s performance that it’s worth taking a moment to just stop and think about this thing we call blogging for a few minutes.

Relax, take a deep breath. Let’s be in the moment.

To get to the true meaning of blogging, I thought I’d try to put things into perspective for all the content marketers out there running this race (aka marathon),.

What content creation looks like in 2017

Here’s a super simple checklist for every piece of content you create for your blog. Sound familiar?

  1. It has to speak to the pain points of one of your specific personas and at the very least, it needs to have a high probability of resonating with your target audience.
  2. It has to be extremely thorough and answer a searcher’s query. Anything you think they might want to know about a particular topic – it must be included in this piece.
  3. It needs to be keyword- and topic-researched before you even think about putting pen to paper (ahem, fingertips to keys) so that you know you’ve got good potential to rank well for it in organic search. And we don’t care about page two. Page one or bust.
  4. Once you’ve got a winning topic, you need to do thorough research on what everyone else is writing about on said topic to ensure you’re bringing something new to the table. This goes double if it’s a trending topic and there are a lot of big names writing about it.
  5. After it’s been written, it needs to be published, shared, emailed and advertised so there’s no possible chance for anyone to miss out on it.
  6. Finally, it needs to be analyzed and reported on to see if all your efforts have paid off and if your goals with this one blog post have been met. And what are your blog content goals exactly? We’ve covered this before.

Super simple or flat-out exhausting? I’m feeling the latter!

What happens after you’ve published?

In the grand scheme of things, what happens after you’ve published this spectacularly awesome piece of content? In an ideal world, and if you’ve shared it according to checklist item No. 5, it will get noticed by important influencers in your industry and they will help boost the sharing and engagement metrics of your piece and maybe even yield some good traffic to your site over the next few days.

Realistically, most content doesn’t have an extremely long shelf life, especially if you stop promoting it to your networks. For example, a tweet has an average shelf life of 18 minutes.

Excuse me? Did you just say 18 minutes? Like, a fraction of an hour?

And consider this: If a blog, on average, publishes one post per business day for 10 years, that’s five posts per week x 52 weeks per year. After 10 years, that’s 2,600 pieces of content! When the average blog post takes 3 hours and 16 minutes to write, you end up with nearly 8,500 hours of work. That’s a significant amount of time and effort.

Sustainable blogging for the win

I read a quote about blogging recently that keeps popping up in the back of my head. A novelist was using it to express her process and approach to blogging as opposed to, say, writing a full-length novel.

She said, “I didn’t want to be like the novelist who spent so much time rewriting his first sentence that he never wrote his second. If I wanted to get anything accomplished, I needed to keep pushing ahead without constantly second-guessing myself.”

Sustainable blogging (if this term doesn’t already exist, I am officially coining it!) has to reflect this method of thinking. In a world so saturated with content, advertisements and overt and subliminal messaging in our faces every single day, how can we even begin to compete or stand out without eventually losing steam, petering out and giving up?

If we approach our blogs as they should be viewed and understood, for their true purpose, we can sustainably move forward with content creation.

So what’s the point of blogging?

Blogs are meant to drive brand awareness, reach as wide an audience as possible and improve search presence for your website. They bring in tippy top of the funnel visitor traffic to your site. For new visitors and perhaps the majority of your audience, they are a first impression. They need to be relevant, intriguing, super-valuable and approachable.

And it’s not easy to get first impressions right all the time. But you should try, every single day, with every single post. Your blog posts should be the written embodiment of the image you want to portray to your customers and prospects. They should encompass your values and value offers. And those two facts should be blatantly obvious at first read.

So write with heart. Don’t strive for perfection or maximum ROI from this one little blog post you’re putting out into the aether. Otherwise, you’ll risk not publishing at all.

What you should be looking to accomplish with each piece is achieving evidence of your fully formed thoughts, insights and opinions on a topic. With that much passion and conviction, plainly written and on display, your readers might just be inspired enough to subscribe to your newsletter…

…and then the real fun begins!

Lauren Fox is the Creative Manager at Brafton. When she's not busy annoying the heck out of her one-eyed tuxedo cat Jack, she's either exploring one of the many hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest or cooking up a tasty meal in her tiny kitchen in Seattle.