When I worked in corporate, the question of how much content to produce each day/week/month was a HUGE one. Of course, when I worked in this environment, companies weren’t honestly consulted on how much content they should produce in line with their core goals (they were simply signed on for the largest package they could afford, gotta love corporate). Nonetheless, with research showing that leading organizations are producing more content year-over-year, this question has understandably evolved as a top-of-mind concern for most.
At the end of the day, there will never be a go-to, set-in-stone formula for how much content a company should produce over a given amount of time. That will largely depend on the operational state of the organization (level of internal bandwidth, resources, etc.) and what that company’s core goals are (i.e. increased led gen, brand awareness, product promotion).
There are, however, a few good rules of thumb that companies should abide by. One of my favorite sources for content marketing news—Contently—recently published an article as part of its “Ask a Content Strategist” series that outlined three solid rules every company can follow to create a content creation plan that is effective, realistic and custom-tailored to its specificities. These rules come from Contently Editor in Chief Joe Lazauskas and I simply couldn’t agree with them more.
So, without further ado, here are the three golden standards for content publishing. Take it away Joe…
Rule 1: Quality trumps quantity. Plan your calendar with that in mind.
Shocking rule here, right? Still, this cliche needs to be said. Five percent of branded content gets 90 percent of all engagement. Mediocre content is pretty much useless for SEO. And it’s also detrimental to your brand.
In the early days of The Content Strategist, I was supplementing our meatier stories with a fair amount of AdFreak-style blog posts that only took me an hour or so to produce. They generated short-term social traffic but did nothing long term for our business. I could have spent that time on unique, memorable stories. I was just checking the box.
I had this epiphany one afternoon over tacos with Sean Blanda, who was then the editor of Behance’s legendary blog, 99U. Sean successfully challenged my thin logic, and soon after I focused all my attention on high-quality, original stories. Before long, our readership skyrocketed.
Rule 2: You need to publish at least enough to fill a regular newsletter.
I don’t care if you’re B2C, B2B, or B2J, which definitely doesn’t sound right but is a real term I heard used multiple times this year at SXSW. No matter your business, you should have a newsletter for your content.
As I explain here, a newsletter is often the most important aspect of content marketing. It’s the O.G. of distribution tactics—a direct line to your audience that requires few resources and can’t be sabotaged by Facebook’s or Google’s algorithm. Most lasting content marketing success stories attribute their effectiveness to the newsletter.
At minimum, you want to send a content newsletter once a month, which means you should produce at least 2-4 pieces of content per month. You’re still at the crawl stage, but at least you’re moving—and beginning to build a relationship with your target readers.
Rule 3: Be realistic about your resources.
I’m a notorious Contently loyalist. Sometimes, people point this out by mentioning that I once actually slept in the office because I was still there writing at midnight. (I also had no idea how to lock the doors and was afraid all the computers would get stolen if I left.)
What they don’t mention is the reason I was still there is because I offered to produce a half dozen new e-books in Q1 2014—in addition to running the blog. This was insanely unrealistic, and the quality of my work suffered. So did my lower back—our couches really sucked back then.
When deciding how much content to produce, I recommend following the pretty conservative chart below, which comes from our popular content methodology white paper and lays out the dedicated staff, freelance resources, and technology you need for each content marketing maturity stage.
BONUS TIP: Freelancers can be a really effective way to scale your efforts when you don’t have a lot of internal resources. Companies will often be much more willing to commit budget for freelance help than they are for full-time headcount.
As an independent content marketer, consultant and brand strategist, I couldn’t agree more with this point. This is exactly why my clients love working with me at their pace depending on their needs–whether it’s twice a year, once a month or everyday.