We hear these questions from clients as part of almost every content marketing engagement we undertake. The good news: there is a right answer. The bad news: it depends on a range of factors and the right answer for me isn’t necessarily the right answer for you.
Even with that uncertainty, your right answer isn’t hard to find. Here are the factors you should be considering:
Quality Trumps Quantity
The entire question of how much content is enough takes a back seat to how much high-quality content you can produce. You absolutely must prioritize quality over quantity.
Sure, it’s true that a once-yearly blog post isn’t going to work for you unless a) you’re already a star or b) it’s a Pulitzer-worthy post every year, but a daily dose of mediocre not only won’t get you any better results, it will drive away your audience.
So regardless of the quantity, format and subject matter of the content you produce, be sure you are producing content you’re proud of and that is relevant, useful and informative.
Size Does Matter
Your audience has a different perception of the 140 character aphorisms you post on Twitter vs. the 300 to 500 word insights on your blog vs. a long-form, fully researched, case study. More frequent shorter pieces will help you stay top of mind, and longer form content can help burnish your expertise on a topic.
That’s not to say there’s a magic number for yearly word output that you have to shoot for. Your goal should be to balance the kinds of content you are producing. And (to beat the same drum again) the quality of the pieces matters more than anything else. Whether short or long, you need to entertain and inform.
Your content’s source also factors into your audience’s perception. Posting links to interesting articles you’ve read can be a great way to generate content that holds your audience’s attention without a huge investment of your time. But contrast that to the original research you can provide if you do, say, a survey or data analysis. One is clearly going to be perceived quite differently than the other.
Here again, a mix is generally the best approach, as it balances the investment you have to make with the return you are likely to generate.
(By the way, aggregating content as I’ve suggested above is a lot more effective if you offer some insight with each piece. Tell people why they should click through to the item you’ve found for them, what caught your attention, and how it might impact their business. Think of news summary providers like The Week, Utne Reader, and even Time Magazine rather than the search results page you get when you Google a topic.)
Ask Your Audience
Beyond everything else you factor into your decision about how much and what kind of content to produce, the best way to find the right mix is, not surprisingly, to ask. You can poll your audience, you can interview a representative sampling and, best of all, you can track their response to and engagement with the different kinds of content you create via various analytics packages.
If something isn’t working, your audience will let you know. And when a piece really resonates, you’ll know that too, and can adjust your efforts accordingly. Just remember that your adjustments should focus on quality much more than quantity.