Quantity does not equal quality, neither inside nor outside the realm of content marketing.
If the time and resources being put into modern content strategies are any indication, today’s marketers are well aware producing relevant, valuable content is the key to demonstrating thought leadership, establishing trust with targeted audiences and improving conversion rates.
Yet some marketers aren’t getting the message, and instead they still rely on outdated content marketing techniques that prioritize abundance over excellence.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of real-world examples illustrating the importance of putting quality first.
Not the raw deal you were hoping for
It’s the bane of every true sushi lover’s existence: the all-you-can eat special.
You know deep down the food will be less than stellar, and you’re sure to end up choking down unsatisfying nigiri more out of a sense of duty than desire.
Then again, how can anyone pass up the chance to gorge on their body weight in rice and raw fish for $20 or less? The answer arrives once you’ve stumbled through your doorway and collapsed on your couch, clutching your abdomen in pain and regret.
The same lesson holds true for content marketing. Do you want your website visitors to associate your blog with substantive, in-depth posts or a barrage of shallow content with keywords haphazardly stuffed in? Not only do such techniques no longer work, they will actively harm you (much like all-you-can-eat sushi), both in terms of search engine optimization and consumer sentiment.
An unexpected (and unnecessary) journey
Peter Jackson transformed three dense fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien into three wildly successful movies with “The Lord of the Rings” series. After raking in billions of dollars and helping make furry-footed humanoids New Zealand’s chief claim to fame (go ahead, give Hobbiton a peek), Jackson once again returned to Middle Earth with his silver screen adaptation of the book that started it all: “The Hobbit.”
However, instead of sticking to the “one book, one movie” pattern, Jackson stretched out Tolkien’s rather thin opus into another three films. To put that in perspective, “The Hobbit” is 95,356 words long compared to 481,103 words for all three LOTR books.
While “The Hobbit” trilogy certainly pulled in boatloads of cash from eager audiences and loyal fans, critical reception left much to be desired.
The Atlantic may have summed it up best with this headline concerning the final film: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: At Least It’s Over Now.”
Based on the films’ Rotten Tomatoes scores, ranging from 59 to 74 percent compared to the LOTR ratings in the 90s, the folks over at The Atlantic were hardly alone with their feelings.
Jackson isn’t unique in his effort to milk every last drop from a film project. It’s become a fairly standard practice for the final films in a series to be broken up into two parts to double the profits, à la “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games.” This can lead to audiences feeling ripped off – forced to waste time, money and popcorn on unnecessary scenes used to pad running times.
One piece of high-quality content will enhance search engine visibility and engage audiences more effectively than multiple pieces of subpar work. Not only are users more likely to share quality content, other websites will feel better linking back to it, arguably the most important factor for enhancing SEO.
Some topics require multiple pieces of content. Many don’t. That need or lack thereof, and how it serves user intent, must drive content production.
Nobody loves Chachi
“Happy Days” gave us a lot to be thankful for, including inspiration for Weezer’s best music video.
However, running for 11 seasons doesn’t make the cut.
While fondly remembered by many, “Happy Days’” diminishing creativity led to the coining of a new phrase synonymous with its desperate ratings ploys: “jumping the shark.” The term (if you don’t already recognize it) is based on a particularly absurd episode where everyone’s favorite leather jacket-wearing lothario, Arthur Fonzarelli, literally jumped over a shark whilst on water skis.
Juxtapose the gimmicks that came to define “Happy Days” in later years with the near-perfect series run of “Breaking Bad,” an intense drama that told a compact, self-contained story in just five seasons. “Breaking Bad” offered viewers a lean, razor-sharp tale and a satisfying conclusion, and will likely be remembered as one of the greatest shows in television history.
All too often, content marketers confuse length and time with quality. While it’s true more of each can contribute to a comprehensive, in-depth piece of content, shorter is often sweeter.
As Brafton Project Manager Eric Rubino said: “The simple fact of the matter is a single powerful sentence that conveys a strong message, backed up by something to support that assertion, is higher-quality writing than a dense paragraph you can read 100 times and still never understand.”
The last thing website visitors are looking for is fluff. While you shouldn’t let length dictate your content creation process, you should ensure, whether your asset is short or long, that every word counts.
Next time you need a reminder why quality should always win out over quantity in your content marketing, look to your pals Fonzie and Walter White for wisdom.