Content quality vs. content quantity. How much content is enough? How good does it need to be? I wrote a version of this post 7 years ago. Then, I was the closing keynote for a content marketing event recently where I realized the debate still rages. So here is an update!
Every business struggles with the question of content quality vs. quantity. Marketers have always struggled with. I have seen the argument from ad execs and agencies who whether they should buy more reach or frequency (or even worse, media impressions.)
I have dealt with this as both a sales person and as a demand gen marketer sending leads to sales. Do we send enough quantity of leads to satisfy sales or do we send them quality leads that convert to purchase?
And content marketers in every industry are now facing the same dilemma: How much blog content should we create, how often should we publish, how long should it be, how much should it cost, and how good does it need to be?
So let’s dive in and answer this question once and for all!
- Studies show that quantity of content is a clear predictor of web traffic growth. The more you publish, the more traffic you will get. But the quality has to be there.
- There doesn’t need to be a trade-off between content quality and quantity. With a few tweaks to your content strategy, you can have the best of both worlds.
- Use your expertise as a thought leader and repurpose previous content to create fresh new perspectives on your industry.
- When it comes to content, quality vs quantity is not a dichotomy. You can have your cake and eat it too! You don’t have to choose between the two.
Can There Be a Balance?
First, what is content quantity? Content quantity is the measure of how much content you publish measured over a period of time. Content quantity is a factual number represented by a number over a measure of time. 2 articles per week or 1 article per day are examples. Other similar terms include content frequency, content cadence, or content consistency
So we need to straddle the line between creating enough content to increase your share of customer conversations vs. the need to represent your unique point of view and differentiate yourself from the competition.
As my friend Doug Kessler from Velocity Partners has said, we need to “Stop Creating Crap.” But that doesn’t mean we need to create less.
What is content quality? Content quality is a subjective measure of how good a piece of content is or how well the content answers the search intent of the reader. Content quality look at factors like word count, years of experience , degrees or other accolades by the author, but these only assume that the content itself answers the question posed by the person reading the content. Only the individual reader can determine quality for him/herself.
I think it’s easy to take the side of quality in the debate. Of course we have to create engaging, helpful and entertaining content. And it has to live up to the standards that your brand reputation requires.
As content marketers, we have to produce content that reaches our target audience, that engages them and inspires them to action.
But we have to do all this at a scale that impacts the business. We cannot produce one great piece of content every month when the shelf life of content in today’s world is a few days at best and a few seconds at worse.
So do we need more content or better content? We need more, better content.
Maybe my answer might surprise you when it comes to the debate about content quality vs. quantity. In fact, I haven’t changed my mind much over the years since I first spoke about this topic at my 2nd Content Marketing World conference back in 2013.
That’s because I’ve studied the data on content quantity and it shows a very real correlation to traffic and leads that you can measure. I tested this theory on my first content marketing program at SAP. So I know that Content Quantity matters. But don’t just take my word for it.
Marketing giant HubSpot’s research agrees with my own studies, as do many others. There’s a sweet spot when it comes to blog posting, as you can see from the graph below.
Companies that post 2 to 4 times a week (eight to 16 posts per month) show a huge increase in inbound traffic – anywhere from 2 to almost 4 times as much.
And the traffic is quality traffic. Hubspot showed that exact same increase in leads. So if you increase your website blog publishing from 2 blog posts a month to 2 posts per week you should expect 2-4 times the traffic. Our data shows this can take a year to achieve the results.
So you can have the best of both worlds.
Committing to Content Quantity Leads To Content Quality
“Deadlines are the greatest source of inspiration.” ~ Mark Twain
I truly believe Mark Twain that setting a publishing schedule helps us to create better content. So we have to start by defining a quantity goal. We have to start with a dedicated and committed publishing schedule that will allow us to make a dent in the share of online customer conversations your prospects are having. Thinking like a publisher means you have to force deadlines on yourself.
So once we pick our publishing schedule, we then demand high standards of quality for each piece that we push out.
Volume has advantages as well. More content equals more insights into what works. More content equals more opportunities to drive social engagement. More content equals more opportunities to answer your customers’ top questions.
You Don’t Have to Be a Writer to Pump Out Quality Content at Scale
You already live and breathe whatever industry you’ve made your life’s work. It doesn’t take much more effort to put that passion into words.
If you’re not much for writing, you can put out superb content through video or audio posts. Or, you could always jot down your thoughts in rough form and let a blog writing service like ours polish it for you.
Or you could just BE. LIKE. Gary Vee:
You have expertise in your field. Sharing that expertise with people who need it is never “crap.” You only need to frame that masterpiece in proper grammar, search engine-gulping keywords, and empathetic language that wins hearts as well as minds.
Back to my friend Doug Kessler who brought this paradox to light in an interview with Ceralytics, speaking about the challenge of producing quality content – and doing it consistently. He said, “If you’re not telling a differentiated story, you’re not going to be able to deliver consistent results over time.”
What he meant by “differentiated story” was exactly the point I drive home to our clients. Setting yourself apart as a thought leader in your niche and creating content around your expertise is the key to content marketing success.
When you use your expertise as a springboard for content ideas, you do two things.
- You limit your content to specific areas, helping you rank better in searches for the products and services you offer.
- You simplify the content creation process by producing content on topics that you are comfortable with.
Not only will the content you produce rank higher, but you can also produce more of it, easily taking your content production level up to that sweet spot of two to four posts per week. That’s not just for people who find it easy to write.
We’ve worked with subject matter experts – leaders in their fields – who were either non-native English speakers or found it difficult to put pen to paper. We’ve discovered that there are always alternative ways to help these industry leaders to get the message out.
If you find it difficult to put your thoughts into writing, try recording a video or audio version of your thoughts. Our blog writing service even turns transcripts of executive ideas into top-quality articles.
Repurpose Older Content to Increase Posting Frequency
In addition to focusing on your expertise to come up with blog post ideas, we recommend that companies repurpose their older content to broaden their reach. The number of ways you can reuse previous content is limited only by your imagination. With this kind of content marketing strategy, you’ll soon bump up your production to a whole new level.
Change the channel: Not everyone likes to read. That includes your target customers. Turn your blog posts into videos, your videos into podcast episodes. Create infographics from those statistics you’ve so meticulously researched for your last blog post. Find your best-performing content and distribute it in a variety of forms to reach those with a different learning style.
Switch perspectives: There are so many angles to every topic within your niche that a single blog post, video, or podcast can’t cover. Take this topic, for example. We’ve covered the “why” – but not so much the “how” one can find the time to produce that much content in a week’s time. A future post could cover time-saving writing techniques and tools that can help you and your team produce more quality content in less time.
Use readers’ comments and questions on previous posts as a springboard: Since the whole point of content marketing is to answer your target customers’ questions and solve their problems, why not use some of their comments on your posts as ideas for future posts? You’ll be addressing their concerns – and when you do, they’ll be more likely to move further along their customer journey. Also, keep track of your followers’ comments on your social media posts for even more ideas. In fact, if you have quite a few people with the same concern, it might be worth your time to hold a webinar on the topic.
Once you prime the content pump, I can just about guarantee you that you can get to at least two blog posts per week. It’s your passion – your life’s work. You’ve got this.
Then, as you become more comfortable sharing your expertise, you’ll find yourself publishing even more often. Before you know it, you’ll be publishing four posts a week and getting the kind of web traffic that boosts your ROI to unbelievable heights.
If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently – and often – check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today – and generate
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
14 thoughts on “Content Quality Vs. Content Quantity – The Great Content Debate”
The great debate! I wish I could attend the panel discussion today. Hope you’re enjoying CMW!
I think the move toward content marketing is a very significant advance in marketing and the entire business,customer relationship and helps to improve your business.
“Deadlines are the greatest source of inspiration.” That’s personally why I’m striving for quantity right now, because if I let myself wait till I’m “inspired”, I’d never write! But if I sit down to write because omg-I-have-to-post-today, I’ll always find something to write.
Unmana, that is exactly what I do. I have tried to get ahead of my schedule and it never happens. Even when I make a list of “ideas” when I go back, I can’t seem to get into the same brain pattern. This quote is my new mantra.
Let’s be honest… if we don’t impose a quantity goal, then you’ll never end up posting anything at all. Readers are creatures of habit and if you post in a regular schedule, they’ll look forward to reading your material when the deadline hits, regardless of whether it’s good/bad or relevant.
Thanks David, that’s why I wrote this post and asked to run that panel. Got to create quantity goals and then work like heck to make the content great.
Great post as usual – This debate has been happening for quite some time and I’ve never heard anyone mention what I consider more important than quality or quantity. That’s “consistency.”
Consistency in quality (whatever that may be) and consistency in quantity (whatever that may be) sets expectations for readers and Google. I think it’s time to inject “consistency” into the debate. Now I’m motivated to write a post. Thanks Michael!
Great point Chad. At content marketing world, we talked about how we all know the answer is not A. Quality or B. Quantity but C. both. Maybe consistency is the best way to explain what “both” means.
I always go for quality, but if you cannot achieve quality without the quantity, I would go bot both ways. Nevertheless, quality is of utmost importance for me. I despise reading long content that does not make sense.
Thanks Mary, of course you are right! You need both to make an impact!
Ah, the classic debate. Quantity and quality are both important, so it is always difficult to pick one over the other. As others have said, however, creating quantity goals is very important. In order to be successful you have to make readers keep coming back, and that can only happen if you keep producing content. Having a schedule of when to post ensures that you stay relevant and also forces you to sit down and write. While the first draft may not be high quality content, revision can take you there. The hardest part is usually starting!
Justin! Thank you. So few people agree with this side of the debate. Of course you have to have quality but it needs to start with a commitment to a schedule.
This is the key point: “Deadlines are the greatest source of inspiration.”
Everyone should follow that rule very closely for best results. We need deadlines to keep us focused on creating content. Quality is something that needs to happen within a deadline timeframe. Deadlines help eliminate procrastination and force us to become better in smaller blocks of time. 🙂
Thanks Jason, it’s amazing how many people disagree with us on that point.
Comments are closed.