Quality vs. Quantity in Content Marketing

Content calendar

“Argh, I’ve GOT to get a blog out this week. What the #@$& am I going to write about?” Familiar? Yeah.

When one is trying to fulfil the 2,198 ‘must do’ marketing activities that are hot this year, one can lose sight of why content marketing works.

It doesn’t work because you’re constantly bombarding the world with news about your office refurb or photos of a tidy electrical job you did yesterday (though there’s nothing wrong with those things.)

It works because it brings value. It helps someone, it entertains someone. If you can honestly say that 100% of the content you publish is carefully created to do just that, you may leave now. Go buy yourself a 99 and have a nice sit-down.

Oh, you’re all still here? Thought so.

I’m guilty of it. There was a period last year when I forced myself to get at least two pieces of content for a certain business each week, regardless of if I had something to say.

This year I’ve stripped it way back because I’ve been too busy with another project for the same business – and we saw the best ever figures for the content area last month. Clearly, it’s not about how often I’m posting.

If the same blogs get all the traffic every month, it’s time to work out why

I read on Econsultancy recently that 10 blogs account for 50% of their traffic. I’ve seen the same trend my content. Those core blogs are clearly insanely valuable to people, and the others we publish are just bringing in little dribbles.

So – why not create more of those incredible blogs? Spending longer on fewer but better makes total sense. With Google’s focus on content quality and engaging only experts in your field, there’s never been a worse time to be churning out lower-quality stuff because you feel you have to publish SOMETHING.

Regroup, maybe flirt with the idea of a content plan and calendar, start working on bigger pieces that are truly unique.

What makes a valuable piece of content?

Winning content takes a while to put together. It takes research, planning, revisions, sign-off, images, proof, careful distribution…yeah, it takes a while.

But all that effort shows. Readers can see it, and that means search engines see it. Time on page tends to increase with content length (duh – there’s more to read), but only if it’s great long content.

5 things great content involves:

  1. Expert knowledge – which can mean personal experience as well as formal education or training.
  2. Mixed media – there are a lot of blogs I would read with nothing but words in them, but it’s wise to include something for everyone. Graphs, videos, infographics, GIFographics and illustrations can make you stand out, get shared and get you found in image searches.
  3. Enough – good content has to have enough STUFF to be valuable. Sometimes 500 words is all you need to deliver value; sometimes it takes 3000 words. Just try to keep a good balance and don’t publish too many shorty short things. I know they’re easier and quicker but more good words = more value.
  4. Ongoing care – if you usually hit publish and never think about that content again, it’s time to change your ways. Pruning your content and updating it with new information shows search engines you care about keeping your website fresh and relevant. It also keeps those amazing core posts evergreen.
  5. Attention to detail – research, spelling and how the page works are all very important to your quality rating. Your content might be wonderful but you have to take pride in all the things around it to succeed. What the user eventually sees is only half the story. That’s why it takes a while!

Stick with these rules for your content and you’ll find you can’t manage to churn out stuff like you might have done in the past, but what you DO publish will be the best you can achieve. And hey – shouldn’t you only ever publish your best?

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