When planning your content marketing strategy, it’s tempting to want to get as much content as you can, for as little as possible.
Cheaper equals more bang for your buck, right?
Well, no — not necessarily.
Done well, content marketing can be a powerful tool to connect with your users and reduce your reliance on paid media.
Done wrong, however, and paying for content can go seriously astray.
Fuelling your content machine with poor content that provides little-to-no value for your readers will, at best, be a waste of valuable resources. At worst, it could actually do more harm than good to your brand.
It can be tempting to seek out the cheapest solution to get your content marketing off the ground. But if your efforts are actually going to drive results, be sure to follow one simple rule: go for quality over quantity.
The fall of content marketing
Content marketing is in bad shape.
The Internet is wheezing under the weight of millions upon millions of blogs, articles and social media posts.
We are in the age of mass content production.
WordPress – which hosts 75 million websites – claims 79.7 million new blog uploads every month. 79.7 million.
With this almost unimaginable figure adding to Internet content every 30 days, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for good quality content to rise to the surface.
These days, anyone with a domain name and log in can start creating content. The barrier for entry in social media is even lower. Got Instagram? Congrats, you’re a content writer.
But not all content is created equal.
Not all content is king
With content, high quantity and poor quality tend to come hand-in-hand.
Across the 153,000,000 Google results promising a ‘How to’ guide to growing a herb garden at home, you’ll see blatant repetition, plagiarism and copy cat advice – thankfully, this a topic which can’t go too far wrong.
But poor quality content isn’t just misleading for its readers. It can also be greatly detrimental to your content marketing efforts and growth strategy.
When you brief out a content marketing job, what are you looking to gain? To reach new consumers? To see increased traffic to your website? To establish your brand as an authority in your market?
These are fairly standard objectives of a content marketing plan. Yet only quality content will deliver against its promise.
Where lazy content is just white noise, considered content is a spotlight attracting the right attention from a targeted audience.
It's an opportunity to grow.
Be selective, and see results
You know that famous Mark Twain quote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter”?
Perhaps Twain was some sort of time-lord: able to foresee the fall of good content marketing.
Now, you could be thinking that the more time you spend crafting your content accrues higher expenses and opportunity costs… you could be creating double the content, in half the time, right?
Well, yes, you could.
But you shouldn’t, for one irrefutable reason: considered content brings results.
A blog or social media post – written by a content creator who understands how to use what’s in their toolkit – will deliver against your content marketing ROI.
In content production, less is more. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should limit all your blog posts to 500 words – although snappy, punchy content does have its benefits. The key takeout is to craft content that’s genuinely relevant and engaging to your users.
Avoid the temptation to post something “just cause”.
Assess the true cost of content before you invest
As with everything in life, if a cost seems too good to be true… it probably is.
If you’ve been searching online to explore the various options for content partners, you’ll have seen yourself how the market is teeming with communications agencies, freelance and self-employed individuals, all vying for writing gigs.
It’s confusing and disorientating trying to navigate this ocean of offers. Isn’t it quickest and easiest to decide on cost alone?
Well, take a site like Upwork. There you’ll find writers willing to create social media posts, blog articles and website copy for as little as $5 an hour. Great!
However, if you get the work back and it needs significant editing and feedback… not so great. At the end of the day, how much money are you really saving with this low-cost, little value approach?
You must remember, the market isn’t kind to low-wage writers. To make that $5 worth their while, they’ll either rush through your work, completing it in as little time as possible… or, take a long time to finish a fairly basic brief, in order to have more bookable time at the end of the working day.
Either way, you’re not really getting what you paid for. Perpetuating the demand for low-wage writers inhibits true creativity and skill.
You’ll get far greater value by hiring an experienced writer or content marketing partner.
Content that’s not delivering results is just money down the drain
Ill-researched, lazy or generic content won’t do your business any favours. It may come cheap, but it’s not effective.
You should be able to see traffic increasing through social media, click rates and organic search. Professionals who know how to deploy SEO (search engine optimisation) appropriately, paired with key words and phrases, will be worth the marketing budget you spend on them.
These results won’t come overnight, but have patience. With high-quality writers on your team, the rewards will come.
How you choose to measure your growth strategy and marketing ROI can depend on your objectives. Nevertheless, to set yourself up for success, you should have one trick up your sleeve: a content marketing strategy document.
Yes, yes. More paperwork… Sorry.
But a well-thought-through blueprint will ensure your content marketing efforts are focused, assessable and agreed by the whole team.
Companies who document their marketing strategy are 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t. You should be one of them!
Go big, not easy
To understand the impact of your content marketing strategy, you’ll want to differentiate between general traffic and relevant traffic to your website.
It’s not useful to have an abundance of site visitors, the majority of whom only spend mere seconds browsing and leave without converting into a sale.
This is just another reason to value quality, curated content. Your strategy should produce blog posts that will be of genuine interest to your users, with social media posts that capture their attention and imagination.
An optimally-functioning content machine will draw in the right people, at the right time.
The argument for quality over quantity
Get your content marketing strategy right, and before long you’ll start seeing real results, with exponential impact on your business growth.
Remember to be selective and strategic; seek out effective partners to support your efforts and track, measure and evaluate performance along the way.
Fuelling your content machine with reams of poor-quality content is a false economy.
Opt for quality over quantity, every time.