Quality Over Quantity In Content: Why Doing Less (But Making It Better) Is Better

November 23, 2021 | Content Marketing

The only thing certain about the world in 2021 is that nothing is certain. 

When everyday needs like food and healthcare are unknown due to the pandemic, it can be easy to forget about things like your business content marketing and SEO plan. 

So, what are you going to do? Abandon your marketing outreach? 

Absolutely not. 

Ignoring your marketing efforts at a time like this is a business death sentence. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should start increasing your content marketing budget, either. An investment in long term ROI is not wise when the short term is so uncertain. 

So, what are you supposed to do? 

It’s possible to gain and retain successful brand marketing by shifting both your budget and your priorities to short term ROI. 

By leveraging content that you already have and focusing on quality content over the quantity of articles you produce, you can get more by doing less. 

Throughout this article, you’re going to learn how to get more results out of your existing assets and create more quality content that will generate twice the results at just half the cost. 

Repurpose Old Content

Original content is the bread and butter of your marketing campaign. 

But that blog post you wrote a year ago can be updated in a fraction of the time it would take to write something completely new. 

That’s why content repurposing is such an important part of the content marketing process. 

Remember, not every customer who found your site has read through your entire blog library. 

By taking a blog that performed well in the past and repurposing it into something new, you’re saving time and money. 

How much time? It’s estimated that an in-depth original piece of content should take over three hours to complete. Some marketers can take an entire day to create and perfect just one post. 

By repurposing old content, you’re going to save a ton of time and energy that can be devoted to other key facets of your business. 

But first, you’ll have to pick which content you’re going to repurpose and decide how to go about updating it. 

Use Online Tools to Find High Ranking Content to Repurpose

If you wrote a blog post that generated no traffic and no conversions, obviously, that’s not something you should be quick to revisit. 

It’s important to remember that you’re not picking from your favorite ideas and beloved blog posts. You’re picking the most effective content on your site. 

To determine effectiveness, you’ll have to turn to certain tools, like Google Analytics or MarketMuse. 

Pop open Google Analytics to review your top content. It can be found under the tab marked “Behavior Report.” 

Sort your results based on the highest traffic generated from organic searches.

If you happen to find content that performed well in the search department but failed to generate a high number of conversions (such as a purchase or webinar sign up), that might be an ideal candidate for an update. 

By running your content through a program like MarketMuse, you can see how it stacks up for specific key terms or phrases. 

MarketMuse has an optimize tab that will rank your content against some of your biggest competitors. 

When repurposing content that you’ve optimized in the past, it’s a good idea to run it through MarketMuse again before posting the update. 

The world of SERP competition is fierce and ever-changing. 

Just because this article performed well once doesn’t mean it will stand up as well a second time on a whole new battlefield. 

Another popular tool that will help your repurposed content rank better is Clearscope.

When you run your repurposed content through Clearscope, you’ll receive a content score that takes your word count, search volume, and readability into account while comparing you with competitors. 

Of course, once all of that optimization is done, you need to make sure that your content is legible. 

Even if you have one of the keenest copy editing eyes on the planet, it doesn’t hurt to use a grammar checking system just to eliminate that pesky human error. 

Grammarly is viewed by many to be the undisputed king of the grammar checker mountain. 

Through Grammarly, you can check your content for spelling, grammar, readability, tone, and even cases of accidental plagiarism. 

Once you have a list of articles, it’s time to decide how you’re going to repurpose content. 

How Do You Repurpose Old Content?

There are several ways that content marketers can take old content and turn it into something new and fresh. 

Refresh Outdated Content 

The first and most obvious method is to take some of your old content and refresh it, removing any outdated information. 

Choose a topic that can use a refresh. Maybe you wrote an article about advancements in your industry. 

The advancements you detailed three years ago are old hat at this point. People want fresh and current content, so give them what they want. 

Check out how this inventory management business updated one of their best performing content for a 2021 refresh.  

They took that original article published in 2017 and updated it with all of the latest and greatest advancements their industry is currently seeing. 

On another hand maybe you write reviews on your website. This LastPass review on password managers is not something that you just write once and then leave alone. 

Features and pricing change often, so it’s a good idea to come back to these reviews and give them a tune-up every few months. 

When refreshing old content, you’re taking the existing article and changing it up. 

Don’t create a separate post that has a lot of the same content as the original. This would be a classic case of duplicate content, and a search engine like Google will penalize your SEO score for that. 

Change Formats

Content is a really broad term. A lot of people hear content and automatically assume you’re talking about a blog post or some other form of written copy. 

But there are so many types of content. Sure, you can write a blog post, but you could also create an infographic, produce a YouTube video, and so much more. 

For starters, there’s visual content like video. You can take an old blog post and create an explainer video about it, giving all of the same information in a more visual and engaging way. 

Videos receive more shares than images or text-based content on social media. You want to produce content that people can easily share on their Instagram stories, Twitter, or Facebook. There’s a reason why YouTube is such a digital marketing goldmine.

Don’t shy away from using videos in your blog posts. This is especially useful for how-to articles or any type of content that can benefit from a live demonstration. 
Take a look at how this article on digital signature workflows includes a short video to summarize the processes discussed in writing:

Using other forms of media in your articles will keep your readers engaged and create the opportunity for it to be shared.

Changing formats will allow you to effectively double your output without getting dinged by Google for duplicate content. 

What’s more, putting out vital information in a multitude of different formats casts a wider net and appeals to a broader audience. 

Don’t settle for just one type of content.

Hub and Spoke Content

The concept behind hub and spoke is one central item from which a multitude of other items branch out. 

This is an idea that goes beyond content. The city of Paris and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom are designed in a hub and spoke manner. From an architectural standpoint, it makes it easy for travelers to navigate the area. 

With content, it’s much the same. 

You have one large in-depth piece of content. Maybe it’s something you wrote long ago. 

From that original piece, you write and link to follow-up articles, summarizations, and additions. All of these spin-offs, or spoke articles, link back to the original piece. 
Take a look at how Bay Alarm Medical spun this guide about medical alert systems and internally linked to related content they published after.

By looking at the content of this article, you can tell that they can create separate articles for each bullet point. 

For example, “GPS help button” in this article, they would elaborate what it is, its history, benefits, and so on.

This tactic not only extends the lifespan of each article, but it also helps you quickly create new content using information that you have already gathered. 

On top of that, it also helps your SEO score by providing cross-links throughout your site. 

Individual Posts From a Numbered Summary

If you look through your website, I’m sure you have a bunch of “5 ways to improve…” or “11 Tactics you can use to…” articles. 

The curse of these posts is that the more topics you’re covering, the less time and space you have for each section. But you can take those “11 tactics you can use” and create 11 separate articles out of them. 

Once you do that, go back to the original numbered article and link each section out to the new content. 

This is another classic example of creating new content using information you’ve already gathered. 

Write Quality Content

The average blog post is 1,236 words. This is a figure that goes up year by year. Six years ago, you were fine with 808 words, but that number has steadily risen to where we are today.

With a word count continually on the rise, you might feel pressured to spend most of your time pumping out blog posts to feed Google’s love for new content. 

But now more than ever, you should be focusing more on writing a few solid articles than a multitude of subpar offerings. 
For example, this RingCentral review article is a great article of a quality article that will be worth sharing.

It’s a classic case of quality over quantity. When you’re striving for short term ROI and making the most of your time, a few quality articles can take you a long way. 

In fact, publishing quality content remains an effective way to earn links.

You can ensure that you’re creating the best content possible by taking a number of steps. 

Include a Compelling Hook

If you want your readers to engage with the content you’re putting out; you’re going to have to hook them early. 

The general idea is to build a sense of anticipation in your target audience that makes them want to read on. Failure to capture the interest of your reader right off the bat is going to cause them to click away. 

One way to do this is to lean hard on the angle you’re trying to convey. Every article has a general topic, but the angle is the side that you’ve picked and will defend throughout your content. 

Another popular hook method is providing anecdotes. Telling a story with your lede can create a sense of suspense in your reader. It’s also a great excuse to flex your creative writing muscles a bit. 

Tell a Story

The mark of a skilled writer is the ability to make an otherwise dry topic sound appealing and even exciting. 

If you’re just listing off a mindless mountain of facts, you’re going to lose your audience. Craft a narrative that pulls the reader in. Create an emotional connection. 

The facts won’t sink into the minds of your readers unless you’ve established a compelling foundation for them. 

Follow the Formula

Writing is formulaic. 

It’s something people have come to expect. When you’re writing content, it’s your job to take readers down a familiar path in a new and creative way. 

If you deviate from that formula, you’re going to confuse and lose them. 

So, what is this magic formula? 

Glad you asked! 

First, you have a problem that has to be solved. Highlight that first and foremost.

Then, agitate the problem, talking about why it’s even tougher than the reader suspected. This is a great place to highlight some pain points that your ideal reader is likely experiencing. 

Finally, offer up a solution that resolves the problem entirely. 

Have A Unique Brand Voice or Tone

Have you ever noticed how some brands have a specific personality? That overall tone is present whether you’re watching a video, reading a blog, or looking at a tweet. 

That’s not an accident. Every brand needs a distinct voice and tone. It’s your job as a writer to capture that and keep it consistent. 

If you have multiple writers on staff, they should have to comb through a voice and style guide before they ever set fingers to keys. 

A great example of a distinct voice is Wendy’s, the fast-food restaurant.

Hug and nug? Roasting for a toasting? Come on, that’s delightful. 

Now, I’m not saying you should rhyme (though rhyming is admittedly awesome). The voice of Wendy’s is obviously not the voice of your organization. But you have to find that voice and stick to it. 

It’s better to have five quality blog post ideas with a consistent voice than it is to have 50 posts that are all over the place. 

In Conclusion

If there’s one thing that we can all be sure about during this pandemic, the long term is not assured. We need to take a day-by-day short term approach to everything from grocery shopping to forming a content marketing strategy. 

By repurposing your already great content and devoting time to quality writing over the quantity of articles that you produce, you’ll be able to keep your content marketing ideas going day by day until life returns to some form of normalcy. 

If you want to ensure that your content marketing strategy is quality, consider working with a professional content organization. Click here to receive a free content analysis that will give you an idea of what needs to be done to keep your content creation coming.

Jeremy is Co-Founder of uSERP, a digital brand-building agency. His work has been featured on HubSpot, Foundr, G2 Crowd, Drift, SEJ, Codeless, Shopify Enterprise, BigCommerce, Nimble, Keap, and many more.

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