Quantity vs Quality in Digital Content: How to Decide Which is Better for You…More or Less

Content Marketing is going to be the activity with the greatest impact for digital marketers in 2016:

digital_marketing_activities_2016

(source)

So, whether you are yet a key player in creating content, creating content is becoming THE HUGEST factor we all must consider when fine-tuning our digital marketing initiatives. Starting a blog is by far the best way to share and showcase your content. And whether you work for yourself or another entity, showcasing what you are all about in a digital space is very important nowadays. Make no mistake, “digital marketing” is not just a term in the wheelhouse of professional marketers and corporations.

When it comes to promoting yourself for a job, showcasing your writing to potential publishers, becoming a thought leader in your industry or academic field, promoting your company’s brand, or gaining more supporters for your nonprofit organization, etc. … producing digital content that leads to measurable results is a major factor to consider.

For solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, businesses of all sizes, nonprofits, and other organizations alike…

If YOU are:

  • Deciding whether to start a blog, digital or social marketing campaign
  • In the beginning stages of starting a blog, digital or social marketing campaign
  • Have an existing blog, digital or social marketing campaign that’s reach, impact, and following is waning or needs revamping

Then the chances are high that the question of whether you should create more content (quantity) OR spend your effort collecting data and research for content that your target audience values the most (quality), is at the crux of your campaign efforts. You are not alone in this dilemma.

“77% of marketers will increase content production in the next 12 months (end of 2014 into 2015). Now that we are in 2016, the volume of content being produced is becoming higher and higher.

For Bill Belew’s students who posted short articles multiple times a day instead of only one article once a day, their content “produced more than 10 times the organic search results”. Publishing more content, especially optimized content, does increase the likelihood that your content will appear in more search results.

However, while publishing content multiple times a day may increase the likelihood that someone will find your content in a search engine result, is it worth it? Others are surely finding your content, but is that content valuable to them? Are they going to continue to come back to what you produce? Does that matter for your business model or personal marketing objectives?

The same individuals who say they plan on producing more content, also admit that their

Top 5 content marketing challenges are:

  • Lack of Time/Bandwidth to Create Content (51%)
  • Producing Enough Content Variety/Volume (50%)
  • Producing Truly Engaging Content (42%)
  • Measuring Content Effectiveness (38%)
  • Developing Consistent Content Strategy (34%)

Hence the dilemma is born. Is it actually possible to produce more content when you have limited time and or a limited budget for resources? And if you can create more content, are you still able to produce content that is engaging, effective, consistent, yet varied enough? Do you have to sacrifice one in order to have the other?

Quantity vs Quality Argument (in a nutshell)

Content creators and marketers debate whether publishing short and frequent posts are more beneficial than publishing long-form, well-researched, and meticulously edited posts. Either way, you are still investing time and money in your resources to produce more (1,000 words is still 1,000 words whether it is in one post or three). So, which side is correct? The answer is… it depends. As always in marketing, it depends on who your target audience is, and what your goals are. Let’s now look at the Argument for Quantity and the Argument for Quality, before coming to a conclusion; while keeping our own set of goals in mind.

Argument for Quantity

Content creators and marketers who opt for publishing more, shorter articles (500 words or less a piece, 10+ times a month), argue:

  • The reader can get to the information she/he is looking for in the text faster. Typically, someone who is searching for an answer to a specific question or problem via a search engine will glance at an article and determine whether she/he wants to wade through all of the text to find the answer. (source)
  • The quality of an article is too subjective for a search engine to pick up; they only speak SEO lingo and have no way of determining what will be valuable to a reader. Search engines can only determine how many pieces of content you post and pick up key phrases and words related to the search request. (source)
  • More content produced equals more traffic to your website and higher ROI (Return On Investment) “Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.” And “companies with 1 – 10 employees and 11 – 25 employees… saw the highest return on leads when they blogged more than 10 times per month. When they published 11+ blog posts per month, they generated almost twice as many leads as companies that published 6 – 10 blog posts per month.” (source)

Argument for Quality

Content creators and marketers who opt for publishing less, longer articles (500 words or more a piece, once or twice a week), argue:

  • The reader can get to the information she/he actually wants to engage with and enjoy. The reader will find content that doesn’t just answer one question or problem they have, but many. Long-form content, therefore, can have a higher return on ROI because it can be broken down into many pieces and shared multiple times for different reasons. (source)
  • Search engines know if readers find the content they are clicking on to be valuable. Even if you get more people to click on your content from the search results page, search engines will still be able to determine who is reading your content all the way through and clicking on links, who’s engaging with it (commenting, liking, sharing), and how long they stay on your content before moving on to the next thing. (source)
  • Content creators and companies that produce longer articles position themselves as thought leaders in their field and provide genuine value to their customers and audiences. If you take the time to conduct the proper research, understand what your audience is interested in reading, what their concerns are–AND produce content that responds to those complexities (while promoting your brand), then your audience will come to trust you and your content’s value. (source)

Answer to the Quantity vs Quality Argument (in a nutshell)

Know your audience and or your customers. Do your research and collect data about your audience– Who are they? What are their concerns? What platforms are they on and can they easily access your content?

Have different types of content out there to see what works for your goals; test it out and see what works and when. Do your readers engage with and share short how-to articles more than they do long-form researched articles? Or do they spend more time on your in-depth content and write thoughtful comments? What type of content is leading your readers to take more action (shares, visits to your website, or completed transactions)?

You should incorporate both quantity and quality into your digital marketing strategies. You shouldn’t have to choose a side.

For instance– If you’re a 10-person company launching a new web platform, you could have 2 long-form posts about the research behind what led you to create your platform (market research supporting why people need and or want the platform), and then break it down into smaller bits for smaller articles all about the different functions and features of the platform and how it compares to others in the market and why it’s easy or fun to use; keep it light and incorporate images. Research shows that using infographics is now a favorite among content consumers. “Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3X more than other any other type of content.” (source) Why? Because they are easy to digest, trust, and share. And they tell a story.

The argument about “Quantity vs. Quality” in digital content doesn’t seem to ultimately exist once you get to know your readers and what they want to read. If you understand the problems of your readers, you can produce a variety of content that addresses their needs and wants without sacrificing the quality that it offers. The important part is to measure and test the content you publish in order to see if it is indeed having the desired effect, and whether or not it is in alignment with your goals.

Happy content creating and sharing!

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