It is an age old question; is more content better than GREAT content? Well, no matter what, you should always strive for great work, but the reality is that consistent mediocre content can still do the trick. Sadly.
Brian Clark once stated that 8 out of 10 people actually read a post heading, and only 2 out of 10 people read the post. You can work magic writing just great headings. But what does that say about quality versus quantity and how the right mixture would work?
There is a difference between creating content for the sake of creating content, and producing meaningful, cohesive pieces that add value to the unique customer segment that you’re hoping to engage with. The right mixture includes consistent, quality content across different mediums using best practices as we outline below.
Even it Out – Use List Posts Sparingly
While it’s true that our brains love list posts (in fact, the Content Marketing Institute found that posts whose titles begin with a number perform 45% better than the average), content marketers should resist the temptation to constantly bombard their readers with countdowns and numbered lists.
Like anything, list posts should be used in moderation and interspersed between other post styles. It’s often not the type of evergreen content we tend to seek when we have specific questions. But list posts do serve a quick ‘viral’ need. Common content types include:
- Guides and resource sheets
- Anecdotes and stories
- Satire and humorous posts
- Industry news
- Response pieces
Different types of content will resonate with different readers and widen the appeal (and therefore the reach!) of your content. Investing time into creating a balanced and diverse editorial calendar will help keep your work fresh and engaging.
Junk Food vs. Health Food
Junk food may look and smell delicious and come in visually appealing packaging, but what our bodies truly crave are healthy, balanced meals. Content is no different.
While it may seem like an accomplishment to push five blog posts each week, chances are you will be sacrificing quality for volume if you don’t have a full-time content team in place. Digestible, easy-to-read blog posts with catchy titles may get you a few click-throughs and reads at first. Captivating images may lure readers, but if your content isn’t memorable and doesn’t present consistent value to the read, you will eventually see a decline in the quantity (and quality) of traffic.
“Content is of great importance, but we must not underestimate the value of style” – Maya Angelou [Tweet this]
Generate content that adds value to your community. All fluff and no stuff makes people bounce. Sometimes it takes just one blog post to lose a few followers.
As Leo Widrich writes on the Buffer blog, “one of the most important elements for a piece of content to spread is its level of “Practical Utility” as detailed by recent study looking at sharing of articles from the New York Times”. Onboardly has been invited a few times by our friends at KISSmetrics to produce lengthy guides for their blog. And while the creation of the posts is a significant investment of time and company resources, they consistently present an excellent return on investment in terms of the traffic and brand awareness that they generate.
Stop Talking, Start Listening
An important part of any content marketing or blogging strategy, is the incorporation of guest voices into your content. Not only will this enhance the reach of your content (people love sharing stuff they write), it will keep your content interesting for your readers.
One of the best ways to attract guest contributors is by showcasing great social proof (ie. well-followed Twitter accounts of company staff who will tweet the article, your company’s Twitter and Facebook follower counts, etc.) and attractive traffic figures. If you are starting your blog from scratch, you may need to invest some time into generating some initial traction in order to make guest posting attractive to contributors.
Here are a few different types of people that you can approach to guest post:
1. Fellow Entrepreneurs and Community Members
Especially when you’re starting out and don’t have the kind of traffic necessary to make guest posting worth the while for major influencers, reaching out to your fellow entrepreneurs and community partners is a great way to begin incorporating guest voices into your content.
2. Writers and Bloggers
Whenever you read a great article or an interesting blog post, reach out to the writer to offer a guest contribution on your site. Be sure to mention promotional opportunities and highlight social proof, as they likely get several contribution requests daily. Remember, your blog is real estate. By continuously adding value to it, you are making it attractive for potential guest contributors and bloggers.
3. Thought Leaders
These are the golden standard of contributors. They are the industry influencers with massive followings who will extend the reach of your content beyond your wildest dreams. That being said, they are also quite busy. Until your blog has significant traction, an alternative to a full guest post would be to conduct a brief interview with the person in question, and incorporate their answers into a blog post.
4. Super Users
We all know that a happy customer is the most effective brand evangelist that you can have – so why not incorporate their message into your blog? Be sure to make it appealing by offering to link to their company in the byline.
But take note: while it may seem efficient having guest posters fill in slots on your content calendar, the process of researching, onboarding and editing the work of guest posters can take just as much time as producing a blog post on your own. That being said, it is a worthwhile investment as it creates diverse content that extends your reach and keeps the content fresh in the eyes of the readers.
Lastly, the most important thing to keep in mind when creating a content strategy is engagement. At the end of the day, if the content that you are producing isn’t connecting with your audience, don’t be afraid to test new styles of posts to find out what appeals to your readers.
Remember: it’s not about volume, it’s about conversation.
Do you focus on Quantity or Quality? Tweet us @Onboardly to share what mix works for you!