Cracking the More Vs. Less Content Conundrum- 3 Questions to Point the Way

Running, in some ways, is a lot like content marketing.

For one, I love running, I really do. I also like to research its benefits (or otherwise)–am I running too much or too little? Some articles say a walk would be healthier, while others extol the virtues of regular running. It can be hard to know where you stand!

Content marketing can sometimes feel the same. You’ll read headlines about the power of having a lot of content–we need to produce more of it, as quickly as possible! But then you’ll hear about plenty to temper that like the recent survey from The Economist Group which states that 3 in 5 global executives admit to sometimes feeling overwhelmed by the volume of content they encounter. This very concept was explored at the Marketing Cloud All-Stars Debate I took part in at Technology for Marketing (TFM) in London this week. The debate was chaired by the content marketing visionary, Joe Pulizzi, who has a very sensible take on the more vs less content debate. (You can check out Joe’s podcast for his thoughts on this subject.)

We covered much ground during the debate, and the more we discussed, the more I realized that our approach to the amount of content we create needs to be the same as our approach to running–it needs to be tailored each individual. In some cases, you may need to create more content to drive growth, but in other cases, the volume of content may not be the issue; rather, it’s the quality or promotion that needs to be addressed. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of more or less content.

Do you find it hard to determine whether you need to produce more content or should consider producing less? The following questions will help you understand what your answer should be to the more vs. less question:

1. Can you meaningfully measure the performance/impact of your content?

When you consider your marketing mix, the programs you run and channels you use typically have well-established metrics. Over the years, the subject of content marketing measurement has been discussed widely and yet, it still feels like there are no clear or standard metrics to measure the impact of your content investments.

While an organization’s approach to metrics can certainly vary based on company size or industry, there is always a way to measure your content performance—and it starts by understanding your goals. Maybe you’re using content to grow organic traffic on your website and increase your social media following–these are both very measurable objectives. Some organizations, particularly B2B companies and consumer companies with considered purchase products, measure the pipeline impact of content–essentially, how it’s driving prospects through the customer lifecycle. Regardless of the metrics that are right for your organization, you need to establish some way to measure or the question of whether you have enough content is impossible to answer.

2. Do you have a content promotion process that supports the specific objectives of your content?

A content promotion plan ensures that, both internally and externally, the right people are aware of the existence of your asset. When we launch one of our big Definitive Guides at Marketo, we assign a dedicated project manager who is responsible for the promotion plan. The plan covers how the content will be shared across our different channels, including social media, and how the guide will be promoted through advertising on different platforms to reach the right audience. The promotion plan is absolutely critical and no Definitive Guide launch is complete without one.

The key takeaway from our Definitive Guide example is that you need to put as much focus on your content promotion plan as the content creation itself. Only by ensuring the promotion plan supports the asset’s objectives can you fairly judge the content’s performance or compare it against others. Promoting your content is very different today, with all of the opportunities that native advertising, for example on social platforms, present. Reaching new and highly targeted audiences is incredibly easy nowadays through digital advertising.

3. Does your content have relevance AND resonance for your intended audience?

Over the years, the well-known mantra of “content is king” has evolved into “content is king and context is queen,” which recognizes that content alone is not enough to truly engage your audience. Success comes from sharing relevant content at the right time with the right individual. But is there something beyond relevance? Don’t get me wrong, relevance is great, essential in fact, but what about resonance? Relevance will get you attention, but achieving resonance can get you action. Joe Pulizzi put it most succinctly in this tweet:

Joe Pulizzi Tweet

The three questions above will help you evaluate some fundamental practices for measuring your content marketing investment. If you answered ‘no’ to any of the questions, it’s time to take stock before you go off and create more content.

What’s your take on more vs. less? I would love to hear how you decide whether to create more content in the comments below.