Content marketers are sometimes faced with a challenging dichotomy. Do I produce more content, or do I produce better content?
It’s presented as a one-for-one trade-off. Either I can produce a lot, or I can invest deeply in my content and produce just a little bit. But that little bit will be great!
The emphasis on quantity at the expense of quality emerged from an SEO-oriented mindset that is largely no longer relevant. The original idea was simple: the more content you put out onto the Internet – gathering up backlinks and internal links and social shares – the faster your site would rise to the top and bring new visitors to buy your stuff.
Shortly after content became king, quantity became that grumpy guy who’s always telling the king what to do. You know... that guy.
The problem is the internet is now drowning in content. If you put out material that’s just like 99% of the other content online, you simply won’t see the results you’re looking for from that content. To be successful today, you have to put out high-quality material – and you have to deliver it in a quantity that makes sense for your audience and your strategy.
You can produce quality at quantity
“Creatives sitting at the adult tables of the digital world (media outlets, for instance) don’t ever get to ask that question. They have to do both! I know some journalists who publish 2-3 articles per DAY, all while working on 1-2 longer, more in-depth pieces. And they have to meet a high-quality bar set by their editors. If we asked them, “Do you write to be high quality or high quantity?" ... they'd just laugh at us.”
The key is to decide what quantity makes sense for your strategy, then build the right team around that. If you’ve determined that the best content marketing cadence for your company is to deliver journalistic-style articles every single day, that’s great. Staff your content team with former journalists who know how to pump out top-quality articles all day long.
The pathway for journalists into content marketing is becoming more well-trodden every day, which means your likelihood of finding a managing editor with 6-10 years of newspaper experience who wants to run your content engine is much better than it once was. There are also incredible freelancers who will partner with you to develop journalistic-quality content on a regular basis without bringing on a new full-time employee.
“But Lena,” you say, “That sounds expensive! Can’t I just pay a content farm $10 bucks a post to fill up my blog calendar?”
Sure you could. But it would be a waste of time and money.
Now that everyone is doing content marketing, you can’t scrape by with bottom of the barrel content quality. You will simply be ignored, and your adventure into the big exciting world of Content will come to a staggering halt. To succeed in the noisy modern content landscape, the content you create has to be downright awesome. Building the right team around your goals will get you there.
… But “quantity” means what you make of it
By that I mean, you don’t have to ship every single day. There’s no rulebook that says you must do XYZ to succeed – if everyone started following the same playbook, it would stop working.
There seems to be a mad rush to produce as much content as we possibly can. We want a new blog post every day to feed the SEO beast. We need three different versions of that eBook to appeal to different buyer personas. We need to repurpose that webinar into six SlideShares, one for each stage of the marketing and sales funnels.
What we’re not looking at quite so closely is the impact of each of these new pieces of content piling on top of the last. Are we meeting our goals? Did that incremental blog post convert as many visitors into subscribers as we hoped?
You might dig in and find out the posts that really engage your audience and drive conversion aren’t what you expect.
The real question is this: At what quantity can you deliver high quality?
If publishing every day means you lower your standards, you might not meet your performance targets — so your effort will be wasted.
Align on consistency
Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute argues the most important element of a strong content marketing program is consistent delivery. You can deliver weekly, daily, monthly, or whatever works for you, but the key is to create an agreement with your audience and then make good on that promise.
Changing your team’s mindset on the relationship between quality and quantity rests on an agreement around consistency. Figure out how much content you can produce at a high quality, then commit to doing it at a regular cadence.
Does your team fight over quantity or quality? Share your war stories in the comments!