A few days ago, Mara Rogers wrote a post for Copyblogger about SpeedBlogging. Her post had a lot of smart tips for writing blog posts more quickly and efficiently, and I don’t disagree with any of the advice she gave.

But I’d like to propose another way to approach your posts: SlowBlogging.

Heard about the Slow Food movement? They’re an organization devoted to food that’s less convenient. No tomatoes in January (or June, if you live in Melbourne), no Lean Cuisine, no balancing a Big Mac on the steering wheel while you’re trying to merge onto the freeway. The Slow Food movement is all about food that’s quirky, local, and tasty.

Blogging is inherently a quick medium, but sometimes you want some handmade content that takes a little more time.

Chris Garrett calls these posts flagship content. Most blog posts are best consumed when they’re fresh, but these keep their value. They act, in Chris’s phrase, as “ambassadors for your blog.” They build your reputation and you can send readers to them again and again.

Solid “pillar” or “flagship” content takes a little longer to put together than routine daily posts do. Here are some SlowBlogging ideas you can try when you’re creating that cornerstone content.

Some ideas need more time

Mara’s an advocate of keeping a bank of ideas for future posts, and so am I. There’s nothing worse than wanting to cook up a tasty blog post and having nothing in the pantry.

Some ideas are topical, and you’ll need to write them up right away. If you’re going to comment on the latest celebrity train wreck, you’ll need to strike fast. But other ideas need more time to mature. You might think of them as bottles of homemade elderberry wine. They don’t taste too good when you first bottle them, but after they’ve been sitting for awhile, they start to get really tasty.

You’ll have some ideas that you’re just not sure what to do with. Park them in your idea cellar until they’re ready. Although some ideas do turn out to be duds, I’ve found that I often get the best posts out of ideas that have been sitting dormant for the longest time. You never know when that idea will ripen up and give you the perfect angle for a classic post.

Should it be a series?

Some ideas refuse to gracefully boil down into a single blog post. If you have a topic that’s getting away from you, consider making it a series.

Writing a blog series lets you give some loving in-depth attention to a topic without overwhelming your readers. And it gives you a wonderful feeling of luxury to know exactly what you’re going to write about for the next 7 or 8 posts.

A well-written series can form a terrific cornerstone for a blog. You might want to check out Brian’s Copywriting 101 series to see how he did it over on Copyblogger. I recently had a great time with a series on Dumb Things Small Businesses Do.

Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite

I love Mara’s fearless advice to “write and commit, then click Publish.”

I can tell you from personal experience that my method isn’t necessarily the key to optimal blogging productivity. But for me, writing is rewriting. It’s in the editing stages that I find the most important ideas in a post and polish them up to make them shine. (As well as clearing away any murky stuff that makes the post less delicious.)

I try to write a post two days before I want to post it. Over those next two days, I’ll read the post with fresh eyes each day and make changes. I do a last pass when I’m prepping it to post.

I do sometimes write “same-day” posts, but when I do, I still try to run through them at least three times. And if I can give myself a break between rewrites, I do.

This is a time when you want to know yourself. If you’re putting your posts through dozens of rewrites because you’re insecure or perfectionistic, try to force yourself to let go a little earlier in the process.

But if you tend to post your first drafts, try a few rewrites, especially on your authority content. You just may see a new depth and weight appear in your writing.

Write for pleasure

The Slow Food movement is all about taking a long Sunday morning to simmer the perfect pasta sauce just because you want to. You take your time picking out the perfect ripe tomatoes, you make a special trip to the farmer’s market for those really good Italian sausages, not because you have to, but because it’s enjoyable.

Sometimes you need to be efficient and get a point across. But I hope you’re also taking some time to write posts that give you pleasure. Play with language a little. Have some fun tossing an idea around. Let your personality come through.

Life is too short to bore yourself with your own content. No, it’s not all about you, but you’re also not a content-producing automaton. At least sometimes, take the time to savor the process of writing.

Mara’s SpeedBlogging techniques are definitely useful. And sometimes you want a nice, quick stir-fry list post for your blog. But when you need a long-simmered blog post Bolognese, give SlowBlogging a try. Variety is the spice of life . . . and blogging.

If you liked this post, please link to or Stumble it!

Flickr Creative Commons image by lepiaf.geo


  1. Karen Swim says:

    Savored this piece like a fine piece of dark chocolate and then shared the last bite with others on Stumble, because you know I’m generous like that! :-)

    Karen Swims last blog post..Resource Friday

  2. Sonia Simone says:

    You’re a doll. xoxo

  3. Chris L says:
  4. The Alice Waters /Sonia Simone guide to gourmet blogging. Tasty. I just paused to let this sink in. I like it a lot. Variable rhythms…simmer and sizzle.
    Yep. Savoring this as gorgeous images of fresh ingredients, sharply honed tools, and rich flavors come to mind. Love it.

    Janice Cartiers last blog post..Jason Wu and The Spotlight

  5. Great, perfect, exactly what I needed and your timing was right on.
    I’ve been reading and commenting for awhile as to me the whole process is sort of alien. If you follow A List Bloggers for inspiration it all seems pretty straight forward. Have a thought, jot it down, have someone else jot it down for you, bada bing,badda boom done.
    (That wasn’t meant to be an insulting definition by the way)
    ( It just sometimes seems as though it just flows that way)

    I don’t know if what I’m currently doing could be classed as
    “Flagship Content.” But you have honestly made me happy as heck to learn that what I’m doing and at the rate I’m doing it actually has a term (other than what I was currently thinking it was) which I won’t write. Thank you, thank you,thank you.

  6. chris zydel says:

    Hi Sonia,

    This was fantastic! I always think that I’m doing something wrong because I can NEVER sit down and just pop out a post in 45 minutes or less. I also like to let it “simmer”, allow things to bubble to the surface, come back to it, rewrite and craft it. All of that feels delicious to me and a lot like cooking. So thanks for the permission to be a slow cooking blogger/writer.



  7. Jason Kong says:

    Sonia, I’m curious: do you give yourself blog post deadlines to prevent overcooking? Personally, I burn my food a lot…

  8. Sonia,

    Loved your food analogies, especially the pantry. Maybe we should start calling flagship content our “bread and butter.”

    Your post reminded me of the cranberry-pineapple chutney I made for Thanksgiving. Took over an hour to make (carmelizing onions is very slow work) and five minutes to eat. But it definitely was worth it.

    I enjoy reading your commentary. Keep it up!


    Sheryl Schuff, CPAs last blog post..Should You Take a Home Office Deduction?

  9. Joanna Young says:

    I think this is one of the reasons I like writing to a theme – it means I’m thinking about the same issue for a month, so some posts come out the slow simmering way. Some need research, and some depend on me looking out for links and resources over a few weeks ago.

    But it still leaves room for some to be ‘quick and dirty’ if an idea (hopefully still connected!) occurs to me.

    Joanna Youngs last blog post..Fear and Love: The Theme Tune for Audacious Writing

  10. Zoe says:

    Sonia, I am so thrilled to read this. SlowBlogging is the perfect name.

    For 80% of my posts, the blogging process is like an accelerated process of giving birth (without that whole pain part). I let the idea have a gestation period and nurture it with relevant ideas, and then begins the process of pushing it out onto WordPress. It takes a while to get the ideas out in their full form, but to me, it’s worth the time. Oh, and I guess editing the post would be like cleaning the schtuff off the baby — or is this analogy getting too graphic?

    Thanks for this post :)

    Zoes last blog post..Are “Blooks” the New Black in Publishing?

  11. Amen to that. Great stuff.

    Mark McGuinnesss last blog post..Should We Leave Creativity to the Professionals?

  12. Kelly says:


    I was just saying to a friend the other day that while I already use most of the SpeedBlogging tactics, at best I get mediumblogging from it. Even when I know exactly what I want to say (50%), the words play hide-and-seek in my head until I insist they come out on the page. I rewrite twice, usually (old thesis writer—never send out a first draft!), once when I’m going from handwritten to word processing and once when I’m going from word processing to final format. It’s funny but at each stage I see tweaks I didn’t see before. My shortest posts, from idea to “publish,” take an hour. Ah, well.

    But SlowBlogging… now that I do love. Every once in a while, I love to take a subject and really dig into it, look at every angle, write all my thoughts as if it were a thesis. Those I almost always break up into shorter posts, sometimes as a series and sometimes more gently tied together, but the process gets me so much more into the subject that I feel like there’s more knowledge and more heart in my slowblogs.

    Great way of thinking about it!



    Kellys last blog post..Tip of the Week: Pump Down the Volume…

  13. Jean Gogolin says:

    Amen, amen, amen. I belong to Slow Food, and had never thought of the parallels. But every time I’ve done a post in white heat mode and then looked at it later, I find a typo or a place where the reasoning wasn’t quite right. And now, to make things worse, I haven’t posted for two weeks because I’ve had so many paying projects going. (Good news there!) So I’m going to feel less guilty about taking it slower. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Jean Gogolins last blog post..Why Sound Bites Rock – And How to Write Them

  14. Seconds before coming here I was reading Richard Bandler’s, co-creator of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Guide to TRANCE-formation.

    I thought of this passage after I read your post…

    “I regard dreaming as unconscious rehearsal. If I do something I’ve never done before, I tend to go home, go to sleep, and do it all night long. This is one of the functions of REM sleep. REM sleep is the way the unconscious mind processes what it’s experienced during the day.

    It’s literally practicing repetitively to pattern the new learning at the the neurological level. Quality information and quality material are important to the learning process. If the brain isn’t given anything specific to work with, it processes nonsense.”

    Your desired process of sleeping two nights on your copy is what I imagine produces your “flagship” writing.

    My business partner used to pressure me to write a post everyday and I could, but it’d be a 4-5 hour process. I want my writing to be seasoned, prepared and served the Morton’s of Chicago Steak House way.

    At Morton’s they used to present their deserts to you at the same time you were ordering your main course. Specifically, the Godiva Chocolate Cake.

    The reason for bringing dessert to your attention now was because if you wanted the Godiva special they would need to start preparing it now. When desert time came your tastebuds would be blissfully ravaged by the warm, soft, texture of right-out-of-the-oven cake.

    You never forget the taste of something someone painstakingly took time to prepare. You’ve forgetten every single microwaved meal you’ve had.

    My granddaddy has a saying. It goes… “You can always taste if I a woman loves cooking.”

    Your writing style reflects a woman who loves writing. A woman who has uploaded premium knowledge into her mind. Not a woman out for a buck. And for that my senses are grateful to you.

    Note Taking Nerd #2

    Note Taking Nerd #2s last blog post..If I Could Hear The Questions You Ask Yourself Would I Think I Was In The Presence of a Leader Or a Victim?

  15. I love this post, and not only because I’m writing so much about food. Blogging is such an in-between style of writing–sometimes the pleasure is in a white heat of passion, pouring out with typos and all; but I also love spending time on a blog now and then, and I love them from others, too.

    Barbara Samuel O’Neals last blog post..Lost Recipe arrives today in Australia

  16. Loved this post – it was filled with great energy and great ideas- did you know that as you approach the speed of light everything slows down? Slow down to go fast! There is only the present moment… Breathe, enjoy, be inspired, write on…..

    Love and infinite blessings, AWyldfyre

  17. Cheryl says:

    A good friend of mine who publishes a daily blog post on all things wedding was just saying the other day how much she misses writing. I asked her how she could miss that since she does it nearly every day and she said, “You know, really write, let things cook a bit, think about it more deeply…THAT kind of writing.” I shared your blog post with her cuz I think it’s what she was really talking about.

  18. Thanks Sonia. I know that my first and even 2nd drafts looking nothing like the final (when I allow a post to percolate, that is). Although it is a daily challenge to stay ahead of the eight ball. Great post!

  19. Very Evolved says:

    I am firmly in the slow blogging camp – since I’m a blogging neuroscientist I love exploring topics that take more than 500 words to delve into.
    And the polishing that goes into honing each post is often pleasure in itself.

    Glad to see it’s a view shared by many – thanks Sonia!


  20. Nice article, Sonia. I too share your passion for great ideas and written excellence. Frequently these outcomes require time to achieve. Unfortunately, deadline pressures are a fact of life. Most of my customers evaluate my deliverables not just for quality, but on a composite of quality, timeliness and cost. Being a great blogger is a talent. There is no escaping the fact that a worthy blogging skill is writing with quality AND speed.


    Read the provocative blog on marketing and persuasion.

    Bill Freedmans last blog post..Learning from Tech Companies that Grew in Q4 2008

  21. Leo Dimilo says:

    I am the “classic” slow blogger. I personally don’t like the snippet posts that seem to be standard fare on the internet (but I do understand why…if you are blogging every day, how on earth could you put that much thought into your topic?)

    But the biggest reason why I blog slow is that it allows me a lot of time for promotion and because most of my stuff is loaded with content, I can readily promote any post, any day of the week because I know that I put my all into each post.

    Leo Dimilos last blog post..Take Back Your Life…How to Get More Traffic to your Site With Just One Post a Week..

  22. I used to be much slower about my content. Hand writing a blog post one day then rewriting it on the computer the next, then cutting it by about half before I post.

    I still do that with guest posts, which are usually significantly longer than my regular blog posts. I like the current mix – my blog is quick thoughts, my guest posts deep explorations. I guess it could be said that I’m giving away my best content, but then again, if I were to make jam, I’d probably give away 95% of the jars for others to enjoy. ;)

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndromes last blog post..Getting through it on your own: The Deep Friar interview

  23. Terry Heath says:

    Slow blogging: a refreshing concept in this new world of do more, faster. Plus, being a slow reader (I chew my food before swallowing) I can’t consume all that fast blogging anyway.

    Terry Heaths last blog post..Crows and Social Proof

  24. Mamashares says:

    I guess there is a time and a place for both, but only if the content in both give something back. It ain’t fun plucking knowledge from the mass of shallow specials; a time consuming pain in the rear for any writer taking a moment away. Save your faves I say, and always be willing to share.

  25. By the way, I think someone has to do a post on slowreading.

    I find that my relationship to reading has changed because I’m doing so much of it on the internet. While I feel fortunate to be living in this time of perpetually exploding info access, I’m ambivalent about it too.

    Even offline reading often feels like skimming, not reading to me. I don’t seem to savor words as I did when I was a teenager. I suppose I’m busier, but it feels like the reading process itself is more electric and chaotic, with multiple windows open all the time and multiple online activities happening. I think another word should be coined altogether actually….

    Tom @WageFreedoms last blog post..Better Inconveniences

  26. Iain Broome says:

    Got to say, I’m with you on this one. When I started my blog last month I made a promise to myself to not get too hung up on posting daily or even three or four times a week. Instead, I wanted, and have tried so far, to blog as often as possible without affecting my other commitments, and but make sure each post is substantial and useful.

    That’s the theory anyway.

    Iain Broomes last blog post..Recommended reading for writers – January 2009

  27. Thanks Sonia, this is a message that needs to be shared. The world is travelling too fast.

  28. [Charlene] says:

    I love that you advocate thoughtful, deliberate blogging!

    I’ve been blogging since I posted my first website in 1995, back when I was using free HTML tools to do what our content management systems do today. (Bless the developers of CMS!) I’ve just started a new blog for my company, and I’m struggling a bit to find my voice for this blog. I’m still experimenting with exactly what I want to share as the ambassador for my company. In the past, I’ve keep topical blogs and covered all sorts of personal topics. This one is a real challenge.

    I started out thinking I would write more often and that I would write relatively short blog posts. Oh, my naive dreams. It turns out, the ones that I’m doing quick and short are not so satisfying to write, and I suspect, to read. What I’m finding is that I have about one long blog post a week inside me. Sometimes, I spend a whole afternoon writing it, and sometimes, I write it in smaller pieces over a couple of days or weeks.

    To bump up the post count, I’ve started a Friday Reflection series, where I share a story about what I’ve been learning in my business during the week. It’s more about the backstory of running my business. I find them a lot more fun to write than the topical themes I had originally scheduled. I spend most of the week crafting them, and do my best to have them written for review and rewriting by Thursday lunch.

    Bravo to you for encouraging the slow blogging!

    [Charlene]s last blog post..Make The Perfect Decision Every Time

  29. Désirée says:

    It is so good to hear that there are people out there who still want things to take its time.

    I’ll definetly bookmark your blog.

  30. Sonia,
    Nice post. Thanks for reminding me to slow done and keep focused on the quality of my writing and sustainable value of the content. It’s the Flagship content that keeps you in the minds of your readers, and hopefully keeps them coming back.

    Your does!

  31. Sonia Simone says:

    I love all of you slow bloggers out there! I think I may have pushed the definition a bit too much in the last weeks, but I’m steering things back in the non-glacial direction.

  32. Terena says:

    My favorite blogs are the ones that give me a sense that people are really thinking about what they are writing and really care about their readers. That they want people to get something out of it. I don’t read blogs that are full of info recycled from other sites, or if it gives the impression the writer is trying to pump up his/her numbers so they can sell me something. I hate Big Macs! I used to be really worried about how many readers I was “catching,” but now I’m happy with my 15 subscribers who have stuck with me because I know I am able to help them in some way, either through info or entertainment.

    My own system is to mix up my posts with news about publishing and books, my own thoughts on running a press, and an occasional guest here and there (I’d love more of those). I try to do three posts a week, but if I don’t have anything but soundbites that week, I skip it. One quicky a week is plenty.

    Thanks for this post. I really enjoy your writing.

    Terenas last blog post..The Rules of Working With Your Significant Other

  33. Sonia,
    This is a great thoughtful post in a fast-paced world. I agree that slow blogging is a great way to really produce quality content. I find that I can slow blog certain posts each week, and then I have to do speed blogging sometimes to keep up with all the ideas I want to get down on my blog. The idea of “flagship posts” is great. Thank you for your insight.
    Stephanie Valentine

    Stephanie Valentines last blog post..Online MLM Marketing — Don’t Be a Used-Car Salesman


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