When planning a marketing plan for any business in the world of the Information Age, having a solid content strategy is basically mandatory at this point. While it may have been something only a select few industries really had to bother with, the Internet has become so significant in the lives of many of your customers that you can’t afford not to play a role in it.
But getting anywhere near a level of respectable significance online requires content, and lots of it. You need to be able to prove not just to your customers, but also to search engines out there, that you’re serious about your web presence, and that your website deserves to be ranked above your competitors on search engine results for businesses in your neighborhood.
A bit part of that is content. Content is a relatively cheap and extremely effective way to boost your traffic, and even up your sales – the ultimate goal. However, if there’s one thing anyone who’s spent more than five minutes on the Internet will notice, it’s this: there is way too much content out there.
We produce immense amounts of data on a second-to-second basis. Keeping afloat among this constant stream of reproduced, recycled low-effort content means producing quality. It’s not enough to tap into the resources of a content mill and buy garbled nonsense for cents on the dollar – you need to invest in good content.
But as we’ve previously discussed, quantity does outpace quality in some regards. What we didn’t specify, however, were the limited parameters. What does your standard for content have to be before its quality sinks to the point that it no longer gives users and readers any discernable value, and loses its effectiveness? And at what point are you producing too much content? Answering these two questions can help you tighten your editorial budget and schedule, save on ammunition for content ideas, and generally be able to get more bang for your buck.
How bad is too bad?
You can’t produce a consistent stream of perfect quality. No one can. Part of being a good content producer means producing consistently – and at the very least trying for good quality – while creating one or two gems every now and again.
As such, however, quality in a content plan doesn’t have so much to do with how often you’re publishing an extremely effective or interesting piece, versus what the general quality of your content looks like. It’s better to have a lot of mediocre, yet decent content, than have a few gems and a few utter disasters.
Here’s a little checklist that needs to be fulfilled with certainty before you can go on to call your content ready:
- It needs to inform. Content that does nothing for a reader has a name: a waste of time. The only times people enjoy watching their day pass through their fingers is when they’re being entertained – but when they come for useful information, the worst you can do is delay that process and feed them a bunch of verbal buffer before getting to the good stuff.
- It needs to be unique. Not every piece of content needs to win the Pulitzer, but you do need to make sure you’re not going to get flagged by Google or other search engines for plagiarism. Make sure to keep quotes at a bare minimum, and if you do recycle information, introduce something new to the mix.
- It needs to be written frankly. If you’re extending a simple sentence with verbose writing, you’re only going to annoy readers. This isn’t college, where an essay needs a certain word count to pass the professor’s minimum. Word counts matter indirectly, but good content comes first.
- It needs to be written well. This is in regards to what qualifies as good technical content – that means following the proper AP style of writing, double-checking for grammatical errors, and replacing or omitting awkward sentences.
- It needs to live up to SEO standards. Headers, keyword placement, a good title, and some inbound links. With these simple little pointers, your article will be much better reviewed than most content out there.
Aside from these basic little standards, your general content doesn’t have to inspire readers to buy your product on a daily basis. You don’t even have to post on a daily basis – which brings us to the second half of our question.
How much content is too much?
You’re going to hate this answer: it depends. There is no way to give you a good answer as to what frequency works best with your audience, other than to do it the old-fashioned way – jump onto your webmaster account and find out exactly how well-received your articles are.
If you’re experiencing better traffic and engagement within a month where regular content was being published versus a month with less content, then you know you need more content. If your traffic dips after that, you’ve reached a threshold.
Part of a good content strategy isn’t just in doing the guesswork and the actual writing – you also need to formulate and reformulate your strategy based on analytics: hard, cold numbers.
A good way to ensure that your content strategy is handled professionally is by talking to the professionals. We at WebDesign Cebu are here to serve you and help out with anything you need, 24/7.