Are We Still Arguing More or Less in Content Marketing?

qualification-543661_1280Maybe I’m getting old or have been in the content marketing business too long, but are we really still arguing whether more or less content is the issue—vs. the value of the content itself?

Content marketers: Your goal is to write—or have your in-house staff or outsourced content producers write—succinct content until you’ve made your point/concluded your argument with reasonable premises and so forth. This is the well-established standard for good writing. Even Shakespeare told us that “brevity is the soul of wit.”

So, why are certain content marketing gurus, like Joe Pulizzi and friends, still running on at the mouth about how long content should run on?

Because they must … and I must … because some of you have not gotten the message. Here it is again in a nutshell: Your content should always follow the strategy you’ve set forth for marketing your brand. That’s No. 1. Then, it must be informative and relevant to your target audience.

That’s it.

If you don’t have anything of interest or value to say, then back away from your keyboard. Don’t underwhelm your audience with dull messaging just because you think you’re supposed to post a blog three times a week. You’re going to lose your audience if you do.

Instead, you want your content to drive readers directly to your website to make a purchase, or—at the very least—keep them clicking on your links for the awesome content you provide until that one day when they finally need what you sell.

Now, having said all that, I’m compelled to also share the news from Pulizzi and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) that content marketing analysts are calling for MORE content. They’re saying that there’s room for growth before you’ve reached your peak performance.

Thankfully, the CMI team and I agree that this thinking may be faulty. Let’s dig a little deeper into this difference of opinion to help you set your content marketing course for the new year.

First of all, if you’re having great success with your content marketing—moving customer behavior in your favor—don’t assume you can extrapolate that success across the business. You have to find your why for each product or niche audience.

Responding to a BuzzSumo opinion piece that speaks to more content equaling more traffic, social shares, subscriberships and other measures of engagement, Pulizzi and colleague Robert Rose used their weekly podcast Sept. 12 to discuss their belief that traffic is meaningless unless it contributes to desired behavioral changes.

“What does more traffic do for the business?” they ask.

Turns out they don’t cotton to it doing much at all if it isn’t tied to creating a destination that’s one of authority, that’s building a relationship with readers for a long period of time, and that’s changing their behaviors over that time period to ones that will be meaningful to the business overall.

They assert:  “It’s still about quality content … In the long run, we’re creating better customers because we’ve taken them through the process and continue to once they’re customers. I am absolutely convinced that more content is not the answer.”

I couldn’t agree more. Wouldn’t you rather chop traffic in half but double your conversion rate?

“It’s all about modifying behavior,” they say, “and has very little to do with the increase of traffic. Traffic is only nice if it’s doing something for you.”

Their only concession to the people pushing more content? “Once you’ve established an engaged audience that you’ve built through quality content, then, yes, increase the cadence of that to the extent you can.”

PegAs with her writing and editing, Peg brings her finely honed attention to detail and her adherence to high-quality standards to bear in her role as managing editor of Content Boost. As team leader, she encourages her staff to strive for excellence in the copy they craft and in the relationships they forge with clients, striving for an optimal customer experience. She caught the marketing bug after seven years as an editor and supervisor at Gartner Inc., the world’s leading IT research and advisory company, and was drawn to the spirit and talent exhibited at Content Boost. Tracing back to her early days working local beats as a journalist, Peg consistently digs deep for insights that bring value to her writing. Outside the office, Peg loves to read when she’s not trying to keep up with her cycling buddies or the weeds in her garden. She can be found enjoying the local scene in her hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut.