There’s no doubt about it — creating great, shareable, audience-pleasing, profitable content is a skill.
Like a five-star chef in a farm-to-table Austin restaurant, the best content creators serve up content so delicious, so crave-able, that their customers (and search engines) keep coming back for more.
And yet, there’s an ongoing argument among today’s content marketers on exactly how this happens.
Is it the high-quality content that gets the rave reviews or is it serving up mounds of the stuff, fast and quick, that gets results?
As always, we’ve dug deep into our resources and curated the answer for you.
Let’s start with the age-old debate starter — the quantity of content. I’ll shed some fact-based light on this topic and give you a dose of content quality vs. quantity reality. Hang with me!In this Write Blog, @JuliaEMcCoy explores the 'age-old' debate of quality vs. quantity content, and how to correctly think of both and get real results from your #contentmarketing efforts. 🔥 Click To Tweet
What’s Up With ‘Quantity?’: How You Should Be Thinking to Achieve Successful Content in Terms of Regularity and Consistency
Okay, so part one of our content success recipe deals with the quantity of content you’re providing.
Fact: no one wants to spend time — and money — in a restaurant to get a morsel of food so small you need to slap on your reading glasses just to see it on the plate.
The quantity, or rather consistency, of your content truly does apply to the bottom-line success of content.
For one, you want your visitors to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth when they stop by your site. Your content isn’t only hot and ready — there’s plenty of it to whet their appetites.
For another, Google rewards sites with more content.
Hubspot has done studies showing that the quantity of content is most certainly, definitely, beyond-a-doubt tied into your overall success.
In this study of over 13,500 B2B bloggers, they found that after 400 published blogs, bloggers earn twice as much traffic.
In a @hubspot study of over 13k bloggers, it was found that after the 400 published blog mark, bloggers start seeing 2x as much traffic. #quantityvsquality Click To Tweet
We found that the more blog posts companies published in total, the more inbound traffic they got to their website. You’ll notice the tipping point happened around 400 total blog posts: Companies that had published 401+ blog posts in total got about twice as much traffic as companies that published 301 – 400 blog posts.
And, they found that bloggers that publish more content per month consistently see far more inbound traffic.
I can’t stress it enough — if you want to see success from your content, you must have regularity. Successful content is not a shot in the dark. It’s content produced on a consistent schedule, maintained with creativity and evolution over time.
So, don’t think of it as quantity – think of it as consistency.
Consistent content builds the traffic and the audience that you want to achieve.If you want to see success from your content, you must have regularity. Successful content is not a shot in the dark. It's content produced on a consistent schedule. @JuliaEMcCoy #contentmarketingtruths Click To Tweet
At Express Writers, we get 80,000-100,000 unique visitors every month on the basis of our high-quality content alone. Why? Because we’re known for publishing good content consistently. Never once in 8 years have I never published a blog in a week (and that doesn’t mean I’m a content slavedriver, that just means I’m ahead all the time and I’ve got my process down).
- We publish one main long-form piece on the Write Blog every Tuesday, with custom-made CTAs and graphics.
- We promote this post to our list in email and with a retargeting campaign on Facebook.
- We publish regularly to our other blogs such as the monthly #ContentWritingChat recap, video recap, event recaps/lessons learned blogs.
- We publish 2 videos/month on YouTube with transcripts on the Write Blog.
- We’ve stockpiled over 1,100 published blogs on the Write Blog to date.
- Every month, I go back and update 1-3 old Write Blogs out of our 1,000+ with new images, copy, and meta. This has caused many of them to shoot higher in SERPs AND add more conversion value from their rankings
One other point — and I can’t stress this enough — is that we never sacrifice quality for quantity, especially now that we’ve grown to 80k+ visitors every month. We can (and must) afford to stop and focus on quality.
3 Ways to Make Sure Your Long-Form Content Is Still Readable
Here are some ways to ensure your long-form content leaves your visitors wanting more.
1. Make It Skimmable
Long-form content is important for search engine rankings. In fact, content length is directly related to your placement in search results:
However, people’s attention spans are about the length of a goldfish’s (8 seconds), so people are becoming more selective in what they choose to pay attention to.
To make your content appealing, make sure it has lots of sub-headlines and bullet-pointed lists (like we do in this article) to make it simple for readers to skim through and get straight to the “meat” of the information you’re providing. Add in lead magnets that people can download for more information.
2. Make It Diverse
When you walk into your favorite restaurant you can rely on having choices. Readers hitting your website want that same kind of smorgasbord when it comes to content.
Variety is indeed the spice of life — and it’s also a critical element in generating lots of content that can cover everything your audience could possibly want to know about your area of expertise.
The key is to create tons of content that cover every aspect of a topic, and a great way to do that is to create topic clusters.
Answer the Public is a fantastic tool you can use to create solid topic clusters to keep that content flowing. Here’s what came up when I plugged in “Restaurants.”
Source: Answer the Public
Once you’ve got some topics, don’t forget to link them together so visitors can hop from sub-topic to sub-topic without leaving your site.
3. Keep It Coming, Buffet-Style
There’s a reason buffet-style, all-you-can-eat restaurants are so popular. They give hungry customers access to a continuous stream of food choices. Your website needs to take a page from the Golden Corral and provide content on a reliable — and continual — basis.
It’ll pay off. How do I know? We’ve already mentioned the Hubspot study that showed companies that posted 16+ times a month got 3.5 times more traffic.
I’ve got something better: Express Writers’ own success. My company gets 99% of its ranking power from our high-quality, high-volume content.
Quality + Quantity = Your Recipe for Success
I’m going to share my guaranteed recipe for content marketing victory right from my own kitchen: the Express Writers’ proprietary mix of content wizardry.
As I mentioned above, Express Writers grabs its ranking power from high-quality, high-volume content. To see how this has played out over the years, check out this snapshot from my second year of business:
Source: Express Writers
Not bad, but not where I wanted to be. So, I added content strategy, which included focusing on thought-leadership-level content that is published consistently and frequently.
Source: Express Writers
Ta-da! Look at those amazing results! The recipe is so simple that anyone can follow it:
Mix a dollop of high-level, thought-leadership-style content with a rigorous schedule of consistent, high-volume content posting. Serve up to all website visitors. Repeat.
The Secret Sauce: Quality Content
Have you ever heard anyone say, “I wish I could find more low-quality food in restaurants?” Of course not. No one wishes for low-quality anything in their lives, and that goes double when it comes to content.
Double, because you’re not just serving this content to your visitors — you’re serving it to search engines. Google makes it clear that they won’t tolerated poorly done, copied content on websites. If you’ve got duplicate stuff on your site, they’re gonna hit you right in the SERPs.
If you’ve got low-quality content created by bots, re-posted (with permission or not) articles, or by cheap content writing labor, the same rules apply.
So, how do you cook up quality content that attracts fans and turns Google’s algorithms to your favor? Follow along and see!
4 Ways to Balance Quality In Your Content & Truly Stand Out
1. Set Yourself Apart
You’re not some low-budget chain restaurant serving up the same menu as the guy next door.
To truly set yourself apart, you need to determine what your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF) is. Hint: it’s completely different from a unique selling proposition (USP).
In a nutshell, you’ll let people know how your brand stands out from the crowd by using content to show how you can help them achieve some goal that no one else can.
2. Start at the Top
Headlines are your first point of contact with readers, so make them count. As Copyblogger notes, 80% of people will mull over your headlines, but only 20% will muddle through the rest of your copy.
That means you need to put 80% of your creativity up front and center with headlines that hook — and reel in — your target audience.
3. Action = Attraction
People are visiting your site to discover something new and — this is key — employ it in their own lives.
Give the people what they crave by providing actionable techniques that are easy to follow.
Here’s an example of an actionable infographic in keeping with our food theme (and the fact that summer is looming on the horizon).
Source: Best Infographics
With step-by-step instructions and a recipe to boot, this infographic gives readers everything they need to impress guests at their next fiesta.
You can do the same with infographics, videos, or even simple instructions that speak to your niche.
4. Add a Splash of Interest
Everyone digests information in their own unique way. Some get their taste buds tweaked by awesome graphics; others salivate at the sight of a dynamic video; some find fun quizzes and surveys more to their taste.
At Express Writers, we serve a generous helping of content that touches on many learning styles to reinforce our message. We use video (two per month), podcasts, online chats, infographics, and more to cover the varied tastes of our target audience.
The Secret Sauce is in Balancing Both Regularity and Quality of Content
Once you’ve figured out how to prepare content your audience craves, simply be consistent and reliable in serving it to them.
If you do it right, you’ll become their favorite content destination. As with their favorite restaurant, you’ll find them coming back for more, again and again, recommending you to their friends, and hanging out waiting for new items to pop onto your menu.
Cheers to that!