Quantity vs. Quality – What Content Marketers Need to Know

Content Marketing

If my memory serves me correct, this debate has been pervasive most of this decade. The fact of the matter is that they both have benefits to a website. However, a brand’s mix of quality and quantity should be determined by established goals and resources available. It’s no secret that not every marketing department can pump out 15 blog posts per week that read like Ernest Hemingway wrote them.

That would be ideal, but still unrealistic. For most brands, it’s likely that content quality will be impacted as production increases without additional investment in production. Content marketing, on average, makes up around 25% of a marketing budget. Of which, seven to eight percent of gross revenue should be spent on marketing. There are outliers, however. P&G once spent nearly 35% of its revenue on marketing. They have since scaled back. Generally, B2C companies spend more than B2B brands on marketing.

How Content Quantity Impacts Your Marketing

Every page that’s published on a website is another opportunity to appear on the search engine results page (SERP). Generally, this leads to a higher percentage of traffic coming from organic search over time. That’s a good thing. However, if the content is poor and the online signals it creates are identified as such by Google the search benefits could be moot.

There is also strong evidence that content quantity impacts lead generation. HubSpot does their annual state of inbound marketing where they track this. See below:


Outside of organic search and lead generation the benefits are very debatable. With more content a brand can send more email to its list, post more on social media, and generally do more content promotion and amplification. According to Google, the average consumer needs about 18 brand touches to become a customer. Each time a user is touched by content they become more aware and will possibly develop consideration.

How Content Quality Impacts Your Marketing

Quality content is in the eye of the beholder. However, I would argue that it can be the world’s greatest masterpiece, but if no one reads it or can find it the content stinks. If a brand blogs once a month its opportunities to rank in the SERPs will be less – driving less organic traffic even if the article is amazing. Organic virality is a pipe dream for most marketers. After publishing over 1,000 articles in my career I’ve never had anything go “viral.”

In addition, with less content there’re less opportunities to drive leads from content touches. It also extends the time it takes for content marketing efforts to pay off. Lastly, with less content comes less email, social media posts, and content promotion, generally.

With quality content comes advantages, too. Really good content, especially very helpful content, can make a positive impression on those folks that consume it. It will also most likely create signals Google’s algorithm will recognize as positive and thus reward the content with higher rankings.

Finding the Happy Middle

With the above budget numbers and one recommended rule of thumb you should be able to calculate how much content should be created and its quality. Most content marketers spend five dollars on creative for every one dollar they spend on promotion. Television executives do the opposite. We should follow the example of television executives as a rule of thumb.

That means that five percent of your marketing budget should be used on content creation. Figure out what is a realistic quantity of content within that budget. In the beginning, plan on experimenting with wordcounts.

Use the feedback loop from analytics to inform you of the quality perception of the content. With paid amplification behind this new content the feedback cycle will accelerate. Once you have enough data to feel confident choose a wordcount goal moving forward. The longer the article the less you’ll be able to produce.

One way to augment the production of owned media is to also promote earned media from journalists and influencers. These are content touches, too. They can also be included in email sends and social posts.

In conclusion, quality vs. quantity is not an either-or proposition. You need both. By realistically looking at the budget numbers above and the feedback cycle from analytics you’ll find the appropriate mix of the two for your brand.

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