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Quantity vs. Quality in Content Marketing: The Final Verdict

According to eMarketer, 84 percent of U.S. companies with at least 100 employees will utilize digital content marketing in 2019. And this isn’t too surprising since research and studies continue to indicate that content marketing yields very high ROIs. Consider these stats compiled by OptinMonster:

  1. 72 percent of marketers say content marketing increases engagement.
  2. 72 percent of marketers say content marketing has increased their number of leads.
  3. Content marketers can have up to 60 percent of their customers return when using content like videos.
  4. 94 percent of customers plan to make a purchase from a business they follow online via content.

(For more details and insight read: How to Measure Your Content Marketing ROI (The Metrics That Matter).)

However, as most digital marketing experts are beginning to agree that content is essential to their online success nowadays, they still argue over whether they should focus on the quantity of their content or the quality of their content. So, it’s time to get to the bottom of this debate once and for all.

Keep reading for more information about why content marketers should focus on the quantity of their content, as well as why they should focus on the quality of their content. And then read the final verdict of this debate.  

Quantity in Content Marketing

According to a post published by MarTech, there are so many pieces of content posted online every 60 seconds (millions of pieces!) that it is “simply deafening.” It’s not uncommon, for instance, for an online entity or business to publish five to 10 pieces of content every single day in order to be discoverable in online searches.

And as a result of the ever-increasing volume of online content, many content marketers think that in order to compete, they must produce even more content than their competitors. This way, their content will always appear in search engine requests via external links, etc. instead of their competitors’ content. Or, so they assume.

Essentially, many content marketers believe that publishing a high volume of content online is necessary for generating more online traffic, eventually leading to more revenue from that increased traffic.

Here are two main reasons content marketers focus on the quantity of their content for their digital marketing efforts.

1. Online readers are distracted and need quick answers.

According to information parsed by Buffer, around 55 percent of content consumers will only engage with your content for 15 seconds or less—that is, if you catch their attention within three seconds of them discovering your content in the first place.

Online audiences (especially those on mobile devices) are constantly bombarded with other types of content that are competing for their attention. They are barraged with ads, video pop-ups, notifications, messages, and so on. So, if you want to attract and hold content consumers’ attention, you must offer them content that is quick, to the point, and short. This means you’ll have to generate multiple pieces of content to address each one of their individual concerns, as one post or piece of content won’t be long enough or in-depth enough to cover everything.

What’s more, readers love skimming online content. They want to find answers to their search queries and concerns quickly, so they can move on to the next thing. This means they don’t want to read long paragraphs of text and in-depth analyses or posts. Instead, they want to have multiple snippets of bite-sized content that address their immediate and relevant concerns.

Essentially, because online content consumers are easily distracted and are always in a rush, they need more content in short bursts to fulfill their needs.

2. A lot of content is necessary to stay top-of-mind and generate traffic.

Again, because there is so much content to compete with online nowadays, some content marketers believe they must post large volumes of content to remain top-of-mind with their consumers so they don’t fall into the background online. And some research findings prove they’re right.

According to data compiled by HubSpot, companies that publish 16 or more blog posts per month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that publish between zero and four posts per month. Even smaller companies can generate more online traffic than larger companies by publishing more than 11 posts per month.

Interestingly enough, the same data compiled by HubSpot also revealed that more than 75 percent of their blog views and 90 percent of their blog leads came from their older posts. So, large quantities of content distributed in shorter time frames may not necessarily lead to more traffic. In fact, 50 pieces of content published by an online entity in a week may not be necessary for generating more online traffic and could even have adverse effects on its content marketing efforts. Too much content at once could end up overwhelming online audiences and inadvertently turning them off, as they won’t know what to read or engage with first. Or, they might even become annoyed with the barrage of content they’re receiving or seeing.

Quality in Content Marketing

Did you know that 60 percent of people find it hard to produce content consistently? In fact, 45 percent of content creation is done on an ad-hoc or on an as-needed basis. So many online entities don’t even have official content marketing strategies or plans.

Additionally, a lot of content marketers simply don’t have the time or resources required to create a lot of content. So, instead, they focus on the quality of their content. And they focus on producing content that is in-depth and highly targeted to their online audiences’ concerns and queries.

Here are two main reasons content marketers focus on the quality of their content for their digital marketing efforts.

1. Online readers want relevant and interesting information with which to engage.

Many content marketers will argue that while generating more online traffic is important, it still may not necessarily lead to more sales, online conversions, or even quality leads. Why? Because online audiences demand high-quality, relevant content and engaging experiences. They don’t just want to view raw data or skim a short post about generic or redundant information. They want to be told stories and be part of larger online experiences. In fact, 55 percent of business professionals surveyed even said that a great story captures their focus and keeps them engaged with the content.

Studies parsed by Forbes confirm that social storytelling methods are accountable for a large portion of successful content and content strategies because humans naturally gravitate toward content with a narrative. This is why content consumers are attracted to content that has quotes, relevant statistics, images and visuals, anecdotes, stories with characters, emotive copy, etc. And why they enjoy longer pieces of written content (the average first-page result on Google contains 1,890 words.), as well as content that includes visual assets and video clips.  

Essentially, online content consumers may not want to read cryptic in-depth analyses, but they do want engaging stories and experiences that entail longer posts and high-quality video clips and visual assets.   

2. Robots can’t produce enough high-quality content that’s optimized for search engines.

If content marketers are focused on creating more content instead of creating higher-quality content, they might begin to rely too heavily on automated tools for their content creation in their race to outpace their online competitors. Especially in 2019. And this will not lead to desirable results for content marketers or online content consumers.

With the advent of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning technology, some content marketers want to fully or partially automate their content creation processes because then they’ll be able to create a significant volume of content in a shorter time frame with minimal resources. However, content created by content creation robots won’t be able to incorporate the appropriate semantics, diction, colloquialisms, etc. that high-quality content requires to address consumers’ desire for storytelling. Therefore, such efforts won’t lead to much consumer engagement or interactions (for example, likes, comments, and shares). So, online content consumers will be left with a barrage of content that has nothing to do with what they want or need and that they don’t want to engage with at all.

Additionally, automated tools won’t be able to incorporate keywords and phrases in appropriate places in pieces of content, or otherwise optimize content for search engines. Only humans monitoring technology and tools can do that. For example, videos still need transcripts for optimal search engine optimization (SEO) and images still need captions, and so on.

Final Verdict

Both the quantity and quality of content is important in content marketing. And successful content marketers know how to maintain a strategic balance between the two. While a blog post with engaging content and great visuals will appeal to online content consumers, for example, those content consumers will still never see the post in their search results if the entity publishing the post has only published that one piece of content.

According to the information parsed above in this post, content marketers should consider posting around 11 to 16 pieces of content per month (at minimum) and should incorporate storytelling elements and compelling visuals into their content. But they should not use content creation robots to generate a barrage of content that will only end up overwhelming and turning off content consumers in the long run. And if they need assistance with their content generation or content marketing efforts, they should outsource their content creation needs to a reputable content writing business with real-life professionals.

At the end of the day, content marketers must work to understand what genuinely engages their target audiences the most. And they must build strategic content marketing strategies that will encompass the right balance of content frequency and quality that the target audience demands.

For more details and insight on this topic, be sure to read 10 Ways to Fail at Content Marketing in 2019.

Kelly C.

Kelly C. has a master's in English and has been writing for over a decade for Fortune 500 companies, startups, nonprofits, and reputable publications. She is a research nerd and loves discovering new organizations and technology that makes others' lives better or easier. She has a business savvy not common in most writers and weaves it into everything she writes. In her spare time, she reads a lot, works as a literacy tutor, and hikes in the Rockies with her husband and hound dogs named Daisy and Lilly.

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