September 29, 2016
Less is more.
Quality, not quantity.
You’ve heard it before.
Both of these are used to define content strategies. You’ve had it drilled into your head that it is more important to create valuable content rather than volumes of content.
While this was true, a new study released may be changing the way we all think about content marketing; and that means revising our existing strategies.
Before you toss out your current strategy, you must first understand what I mean by “more content.” Adding more content is great, but only if you implement a solid plan to create all of that wondrous content in the first place.
An Exciting New Adventure: More Content, More Reads
A study by Buzzsumo that came out this month has made waves online. Steve Rayson, co-founder at Buzzsumo and a marketer I greatly respect, did some intensive research on the matter and has a few arguments against the “less is more” campaign.
The Washington Post, Buzzsumo discovered, publishes an estimated 1,200 posts per day.
By doing so, it has experienced a growth of 28 percent. Already The Washington Post surpassed The New York Times with this new content approach. Volume worked.
And most importantly, Steve says that we have not reached the peak content point in marketing.
Instead, the trends already indicate that volume is increasing, which makes the findings of the study quite relatable.
Buzzsumo expects to see a doubling in the number of posts published by next year for sites across the Web. From the higher number of Internet users and growing literacy rates to the falling costs of content production, there are plenty of influencing factors that will contribute toward more content — not less.
More Content Doesn’t Mean Less Quality
While it is possibly true that more content is the future of content marketing, that doesn’t mean you should go skimping on quality.
As the article from BuzzSumo pointed out, there are still sites out there that don’t yield thousands of posts each year, but have higher shares than the sites that do. Rayson specifically compared Social Media Examiner and Hubspot.
Hubspot published more than 4,000 posts last year, while Social Media Examiner hovered at about 400.
When it came to going “viral,” however, Social Media Examiner received more shares than Hubspot. That being said, both most likely received high volumes of traffic.
Neil Patel was also mentioned in the study. He published more than 800 articles in a 12-month period. While this was plenty of content, he also averaged 838 shares in each post. That was more than Hubspot could dream of receiving and it certainly published more in 12 months than he did.
High Volume Requires an Audience Too
You can publish 500 articles per month, but if you don’t have a following, they aren’t going to do you much good.
You need an established brand before creating a high volume strategy.
What Content Should You Increase?
BuzzSumo does have some great suggestions as to what content you should add to your site.
For starters, it recommends mixing in some short-form content.
We know what you’re thinking. Haven’t you been told time and time again that it is all about long-form content?
For the most part, long-form content still gets plenty of shares and traffic.
But, today’s Internet reader becomes bored and has limited time, which is why there is an increase in short-form content being shared online.
Taking points from BuzzSumo and our experience, we recommend a healthy mix of content (that we will discuss shortly) to bring in the readers, keep them engaged, build an audience and, ultimately, boost your brand.
1. Add In Some Short Form Content
Long form content runs 2,000 words or more, according to Search Engine Watch. It is all about crafting a highly engaging, well-researched, informative piece. Long form reads are not a sea of boring dribble, though.
Instead, you’re providing in-depth information to your readers.
Google has already dedicated a ranking mechanism for long-form content only, and when you use long form content on your site, you’re giving readers deeper views into your topics.
To create short-form content, you could take your long-form pieces and repurpose them into easier-to-digest pieces. Here you would touch on the basics, but then direct the readers to your long form post for a more in-depth look.
By doing so, you’ve accomplished two things:
First, you’ve given them something easy to read while still providing them with takeaway points.
Second, you’ve provided them with a reason to stay on your site (or at least bookmark and come back later).
If you’re going to use short form, make sure it is 1,000 words or less. Anything more than that and you’re venturing back into the long-form territory.
2. Use Videos to Build Your Brand
You can mix in a combination of text and video for content.
Videos are not applicable for all industries. But, if there is an opportunity to create a video, even instructional, why not harness that opportunity?
For example, you are an online retailer. You could feature videos showing off your products or how they are made. You’d be surprised how many people want to know how their items are made before they buy them.
Don’t think videos are a waste of your SEO potential either. KISSMetrics teaches you how to rank with Google while still offering up watch-worthy content.
3. Use Infographics to Turn Boring Information Into Something Fun and Entertaining
Infographics are perfect for adding more content without having to worry about typing up endless text pieces.
You can create an infographic by doing some research (albeit intensive research) and giving your visitors some interesting tidbits of information that they otherwise wouldn’t have known.
Infographics are something you can repurpose out of your long form content too. Even better, if you have a boring topic, according to Irfan Ahman at Social Media Today, you can organize the message in an infographic for a more engaging read.
You can also take what you create in an infographic and make multiple short form posts out if it.
See, you just created two more opportunities to keep up with the content demand.
Don’t Be Overwhelmed, Embrace More Content
OK, so less is more isn’t true anymore.
This doesn’t have to overwhelm you, though.
Instead, embrace the additional content requirements and look for new creative opportunities.
Harness this time to add in short forms, add more visual and audio content to your site, and see what you can rehash to make your site more engaging.
Bottom line, the more content you add, the more opportunities you create to go viral, capture the attention of search engines, and keep up with the online reading appetites of today’s reader.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.