More content? Better content? Which is more important?Posted by Jeff Scholes on Sep 24, 2020
In 2015, The Washington Post shifted its content strategy, and, as a result, would publish an astonishing 1,200 posts every day. As a result, the number of visitors to its site grew 23% year over year, numbers that would send any marketing executive over the moon.
For many marketing leaders, this stat ended the debate of which was more important in content marketing: quantity or quality? Clearly, quantity is king.
Even more evidence for the quantity argument can be found in Orbit Media’s 2019 Annual Blogging Survey. Those bloggers that published daily were about more than twice as likely to report “strong results” compared to those who posted once a week, and three times more likely than those who published monthly.
But the Orbit Media data doesn’t uniformly point to the superiority of quantity. Other factors are important to “strong results.” For instance, the longer blog posts are, the better the results. Bloggers whose posts were typically 1,500 - 2,000 words were 85% more likely to say they saw strong results than those whose posts were usually 500 - 1,000 words. Bloggers who typically wrote posts 2,000 words or more saw by far the best results.
Type of content also matters. The standout types of posts that delivered the best results were how-to guides, ebooks, infographics, and original research. The common thread that runs through all of them? Each provides in-depth, unique insight into a specific topic aimed at a very specific type of audience — hallmarks of high-quality content.
After all, enterprise technology companies don’t have a lot in common with a newspaper, which is trying to attract the largest possible mass market audience. If you’re selling a $40,000 next-generation cybersecurity system that can scale to protect thousands of users, it does you no good to attract the attention of Ohio college students or supervisors at small plumbing companies.
In truth, there’s not a clear-cut answer to whether quality or quality is more important, especially when it comes to B2B technology marketing. What you want to attract are qualified leads, and that means you need to target your content to appeal to people who have both the means and desire to buy your stuff.
The key: Producing the right amount of valuable content
Let’s take advertising as an example. Research from SJ Insights shows that the average person is exposed to about 362 ads per day, but only 12 result in engagement. You need volume to ensure you reach your target market, but you need quality to ensure that once you reach them, you capture their attention.
As with most things in life, the best course of action is to find balance.
But this begs the questions, what factors produce “quality” content and how do you know how much content is enough? Here are some guidelines to help.
Provide content that is both unique and useful
Blog posts and white papers that discuss technology trends are a dime a dozen, and pieces tied to recent news won’t have a very long shelf-life. Instead, spend most of your time creating content about the problems your target audience faces with insight that helps them overcome these challenges or, at the very least, better understand the key issues.
Mine the subject matter expertise among your engineers, product management, and customer support teams. Commission or conduct original research. Do a deep dive into existing research to provide a one-stop-shop for information on a key problem for your prospects. If you do it right, you’ll create assets that attract qualified leads over a long period of time.
Make sure to avoid a hard sell. When someone is at the stage where they’re searching for information, it’s too early to begin selling. First, you need to gain their interest and attention by demonstrating that you know their industry and can provide useful information. Once you’ve got their interest and have captured contact information from qualified leads, let salespeople do their work.
Repurpose content into a variety of formats
This is a great way to efficiently create a larger volume of quality content. For example, let’s say you record a webinar with a marquee customer about the challenges they faced and how your company was able to help. Using the information and video from this webinar you can:
- Edit the webinar into a 2-3 minute video case study
- Create a 2-4 page standalone case study
- Write a Q&A style blog post
Each of these content pieces could serve as an asset for social media posts and email campaigns, providing much more value and generating more leads than you would have created with just the webinar alone.
Focus on value, not length
Certainly, the data shows that longer forms of content generate better results than do shorter pieces, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post anything shorter than 1,500 words. If you’re writing a blog post to promote a webinar, expanding it into 1,500 words results in dull, bloated copy that no one will finish reading.
Longer pieces do better because, typically, they’re providing more detailed and in-depth information about a topic. Length for the sake of length is a losing strategy.
Regularly produce “big rock” pieces of content
This is not the kind of content you’ll put out once a week or even once a month. They require a ton of effort and time. But a strong, comprehensive e-book, technical study, or research project can generate qualified leads for months, even years after publication. Publishing quarterly is an ideal cadence, but even if you only have the resources to produce a “big rock” piece once or twice a year, it’s well worth doing.
Plus, with a large, substantive asset, it doesn’t take that much effort to create related pieces of content: blog posts, webinars, infographics, earned media, “snack-sized” video -- there are myriad possibilities.
Try to post new content multiple times per week
This is a guideline, not a law, but if you can post good content several times a week, you’re most likely to hit the sweet spot to achieve the reach you need. But don’t shovel out crap just to hit your cadence.
Though the debate will likely never end on the subject of quantity vs quality, the answer is an unqualified “yes” to both. The best strategy is to produce as much high-quality content as possible.
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