How Much Content You Need to Produce without Harming Brand Image
Content marketing strategy is definitely integral to any company that is involved in digital marketing. There’s no sense in ranking high on search engines or owning a corner of web 2.0 when you have no information or ideas to share. No one interacts with a shop sign. Nowadays, interaction is what leads to engagement, which leads to conversion.
Saying that, deciding to get into content marketing is only the first step. After that, brands must decide how much material they should publish on their different digital assets. In particular, the company blog - the place where the brand can speak for itself, the values it has, and the value it brings - should be of special interest to digital marketers. You may be wondering: is there a silver bullet approach everyone can use in determining the ideal blog content production frequency for their brand? And the answer is: of course not. Like everything worth doing, there’s no magic formula. It requires more than a bit of thought and effort to get right. Saying that, knowing the hot spots to optimize your strategy will definitely help.
Spy on Your Rivals
If you’re starting from scratch and you have a strong competitor or two with a formidable digital presence, looking at their content strategy may be a good idea. Check the sites of your strongest competitors (assuming they have any) and see how often they update their blogs. Then check how often the most successful onsite blogs publish new content. This can be made easier by using listening stations that alert you to any activity that your competitors may be doing online: the easiest to set up is a Google alert for their brand name, though if you look hard enough, you can find other tools to help you accomplish that.
Just to be clear though, matching (or exceeding) the number of blog posts isn’t the only thing your competitive strategy should be hinged on. You also have to pay attention to the quality of content that your competitors are publishing. Are there any gaps in content or questions that they’re not answering for their customers? Is their blog lacking in visual or infographic content? Anything that your competition misses is an opportunity for you to become a hit with customers.
Don’t Strain Your Engine
If you watch Star Trek, you may know Scotty, the member of the Starship Enterprise crew that runs the engine room. Every so often, the intrepid members of the Federation would run into a difficulty that would require the ship to go through space at unreasonably high speeds that the ship can’t sustain. When this happens, you can count on Scotty to say “It’s no good, captain! I’m giving it all she’s got!” or something similar, and they’d show how much the Enterprise’s engine struggles. If you think about it, a similar issue can come up in content marketing.
When thinking about how much content to produce for your brand, you have to keep your content team’s capabilities in mind. As Derek Miller, a contributor to Search Engine Journal points out, quality content doesn’t make itself. From content planning, research, creation, quality control, publishing, and sharing, there’s a whole process that goes on that takes time and effort. If you commit to a pace that’s too high, your content production machinery may overheat and break down. Even if your team can keep up, the quality of their output will probably be compromised. You may choose to outsource, but can you always trust a third-party provider to deliver to your specifications or adopt your brand voice perfectly? The poor output will hurt your brand’s image, so you have to accept your team’s limits when planning.
Consider the Attention Economy
Here’s a fun fact: in May 2015, Microsoft Corp. concluded in a study that people generally lose their concentration after eight seconds. That picture shows the impact of a digital environment where people are getting overloaded with information. Given that, it’s absolutely crucial that you catch people’s eyeballs just as they’re looking. Plan your content production around getting your audience’s attention. If you have analytics that tells you when or how often they visit your site and check your content, then think about using that in building your content marketing strategy.
Now you may be thinking about taking the brute force approach. You may be tempted to say “forget that!” and just shoot out blog posts multiple times daily to ensure fresh content for people to see, as some content marketers recommend. But unless you run a pure content site like Buzzfeed that depends on digital ad placements for revenue, that’s not a good idea. At best, site visitors won’t recognize and will miss your most important posts; worse, everything you publish with will look like spam to them. You have to realize that producing content isn’t like turning on a flashlight. It’s more like adjusting your mic’s volume—you have to be heard without being noisy.
Cater to Your Audience’s Appetites
Everyone hates spammy sites, so maybe telling you not to make your site look spammy isn’t the most helpful advice ever. Fair enough. We can take it a step further by saying different audiences have different appetites for content consumption. For example, you may want to consider what stage they’re at in the content consumption cycle: they start by discovering your brand, then evaluating it, then acting on it, and then (if things go right) become positive reference groups and ambassadors. Depending on where they are in the cycle, the expected behavior of your target market toward your content, and their receptiveness towards high-frequency postings will differ.
Also, when trying to decide how much content your audience can handle, think about creating a buyer persona. Having an idea of who your customer is, what they do, and what they need from you will have a definite impact on your content production strategy. Lifestyle consumer brands like cosmetics typically cater to people who need to look good every day, so they’ll need more consistent content output that’s built around narratives. More high-involvement products like cars or home appliances cater to consumers who are about to decide on bigger-ticket purchases, so brands in that space may be less prolific but likely have to be more informative and technical in their content.
Keep Your Targets in Mind
One last consideration you have to make is: what end are you trying to reach? Content marketing strategies are engineered for specific business goals, and those goals will affect the ideal flow your content should follow. If you need to build a pool from which your social media channels can get a small but steady stream of shareable material, then you’ll probably want to publish thrice a week at least. Want to generate conversions for a specific product line or prime consumers for a big event? You’ll need a stronger current of posting, maybe once every one or two days, to drum up demand (though you should consider publishing media on other channels like YouTube or Twitter to prevent your onsite blog from being overloaded). If your goal is ongoing thought leadership, build a calendar that allows you to deliver low-frequency but high-impact content in waves, in which case once a week may be enough.
The strategy for content marketing and brand image depends a lot on customers and rivals, but you also have to make sure it’s hitting the targets you set in the first place. And of course, you have to consistently monitor your key performance indicators and consider switching gears if your current content pace isn’t working for you.
While a lot of us may want a short and straightforward answer to the question of content production frequency, there’s really no such thing. Marketing, in general, is an art and a science, and content marketing strategy is no different. Ultimately, the decision on how many blog posts to produce for your brand is crucial, and you have to note different considerations before making the decision.
About the author
Anna Rodriguez is a manager and a passionate writer. She also has varied background in real estate brokerage, investing, online marketing and social media management. She owns Homey Guide Blog. Follow her at @annrodriguez021