Quality vs. Quantity: The Content Creation Question in 2020

By Shelley. December 12, 2019.

Topics: Inbound Marketing Strategies

It's been nearly a decade since the seemingly endless debate of quality versus quantity in content marketing started appearing everywhere. Let's take a look at the status of this question.

episodic_content

It's common sense that a bigger number of content pieces will not provide long-lasting benefits if you don't also pay attention to the quality of this content. In fact, Google weighs the quality of content quite heavily and looks at how well it serves the people searching for similar content online.

Is longer content inherently higher quality than shorter content? Not necessarily. But it may look that way because the longer content tends to better solve the immediate problems of users. Google wants content that best serves searchers to be at the top of the SERPs.

Simply creating as many posts as you can will not yield long-term benefits. Carefully define your topic, do your research and analysis, and offer information others don't offer.

Content Calendar Dos and Don'ts

Adhering to a rigid content calendar will also not serve you in the long run. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have a content calendar and be consistent in posting. You will quickly lose audience numbers if you only publish sporadically. The point here is that you should stay current with questions coming up online and tailor your topics to address the most common questions. 

You should determine a general content posting schedule remembering to allow for flexibility and creativity. The bottom line is to always remain audience-centered. Provide your audience with the information they seek, along with resources that are directly related to their typical interests.

Know your audience and meet them where they're at

Meet your audience where they're at. That should be your intent. The quality of your content comes first, but quantity is a close second. The more you learn about your audience and tailor your content accordingly, the more it will resonate with them.

Research what your target audience is asking about online, what their interests are, what their habits are, their demographics, and whatever you can find that could be relevant to their eventual purchasing decisions. You can get information by studying your analytics and insights, reviewing previously collected data, and interviewing customers. All of this data helps you to gauge what types of people come to you and why they choose you.

One of the most commonly used research tools is Google Analytics. Here you'll find data about your audience's demographics like age, gender, affinity categories, and market segments. You can also look at bounce rates, transactions, and revenue by segment.

Interviewing actual customers helps you identify the unique selling propositions that set you apart from your competition. Your goal is to make your content about your users and not about rankings in the SERPs.

Determine what questions your audience has and dig into those topics. The search engine algorithms are moving away from keywords and toward content that surrounds a central topic, called a “topic cluster.” Make a list of 50 or 100 questions and answer those. Then move on to the next 50 or 100 questions and publish content around that list. This will provide you more than enough to write about to consistently produce high-quality, engaging content.

Google wants various techniques avoided. These include:

  • Automatically generated content
  • Link Schemes
  • Lack of original content
  • Hidden text or links
  • Keyword stuffing

 

Does more content lead to more traffic? Is it the right traffic?

Content marketing strategy suggests that you present content that solves common problems for your target audience while informing them of emerging trends.  Providing unique content with real value to your audience differentiates you from your competition. High volume content that mirrors all that other content saturating the market doesn't effectively differentiate your business. High volume advocates believe that if you push out more content it will result in more traffic because there is more of it to catch readers' attention.

But what your business needs to grow is not more traffic, it needs to attract new customers. It is important to drive traffic, but it has to be the right traffic. You need to be pursuing leads that are a fit for your product or service. Another way to look at it is that it's better to write content that addresses your audience's needs than to attempt to write for Google's often shifting algorithm.

The takeaway is that driving more traffic does not equate to business growth. You need to drive traffic that is interested in what you're selling. High-quality content helps achieve that whereas high-volume, but low-quality, content generally does not.

The ideal scenario is for you to produce the best quality content at a relatively high volume. This requires perhaps a larger investment in content marketing, which means a bigger budget. It also requires enough budget to hire or contract with talented writers who can produce the volume you want at sufficiently high quality. 

Conclusion: Quality AND Quantity

The main problem is viewing this as quality versus quantity rather than quality and quantity. Quality or quantity aren't alternatives, they're two aspects of a content creation strategy. Emphasizing one over the other depends on your specific business and your audience.

Continued investment in both content quality and content quantity over time does eventually become subject to diminishing returns, assuming all other factors stay the same. At some point your audience just doesn't have the time or attention to consume more content.

When is the right time to stop increasing the amount of content? There is a relevant concept called minimum effective dose (MED). This is the smallest dose, or in this case, it is the lowest quantity of content, that produces the desired outcome. Use your goals  and research to determine the MED for each type of content you are creating, that’s where you’ll balance between quantity and quality.

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Shelley
Shelley
Shelley's been in Seattle practically since the dawn of time. She enjoys having fun (seriously) with research and writing. In her off hours she reads and walks, although not at the same time -- because tripping over sidewalks is embarrassing.

 

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