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Mike Lieberman
  March 9, 2017

Quality Vs. Quantity: The Inbound Marketing Balancing Act

It’s Not As Clear As Other Inbound Marketing Experts Make It Sound

You’d think it’s straightforward, right? Most experts agree that you shouldn’t create a ton of content simply because more means better. They’re right, for the most part. But the answer isn’t as simple and straightforward as they’d make it appear.

Yes, quality content marketing is going to trump poor-quality content, and if you continually generate poor-quality content simply to produce, you’ll end up with an audience of unhappy fans. That means fewer clicks, fewer visits, fewer conversions and diminishing inbound marketing results. But how do you measure quality? It’s in the eye of the reader and you can’t measure quality based on size. Having short copy doesn’t always mean it’s of lesser quality than something longer or more in-depth.

Here we are again. Is it better to produce something instead of nothing? How remarkable does ALL of your content need to be? Most importantly, what is the balance between producing high-quality content and remaining connected and helpful to your earned audience? In this article, we’ll attempt to help you figure it out.

Frequency Is Important With Inbound Marketing

Inbound is about being there when your prospects are searching for you, giving them a great experience and continuing the conversation with your prospects until their pain is acute enough for them to hire you. This means frequency of contact is a key component of any inbound marketing plan.

Let’s look at all three aspects that affect frequency and understand how this applies to program planning, building and optimizing for results. If you want to be found when people search for you, then you have to keep quantity in mind. Google, specifically, is looking for fresh and relevant content from you to rank on its search engine. If you only produce one piece a year, it’s going to be tough to get ranked no matter how amazing that one piece is.

Once they find you and visit your website, today’s prospects come back one, two or even more times, looking for educational material to help them along their journey. If you only have a couple of offers on your website and you never add anything new, then why come back over and over again? Eventually, those qualified prospects will stop coming back and start looking for content elsewhere— maybe on your competitors’ sites.

Finally, you have to nurture leads; even your best leads might need nurturing. If you only publish content sporadically, your opportunity to connect with these prospects is going to be limited even if the content is amazing, again allowing someone more prolific to step right in.

Quality Is A Requirement For Strategy And Planning

Maybe this is where people get confused, but in my opinion all of your content should be high quality. If it answers a prospect’s questions, if it’s well written, well designed, highly educational and maybe even a little entertaining, then you have a quality piece on your hands.

As you’re working through your strategy and planning phase, it should become more apparent which types of content you need to publish. What formats, what titles and what length pieces all need to be defined based on your persona profiles. Do your prospects like to read or watch video? Do they consume long-form or short-form content? Once you know this about them, the quality of the content should be easy to maintain. Now you’re delivering quality and quantity, the best of both worlds and the best option for producing the best results.

Balance Quantity And Quality With Process

Use Data To Tune Inbound Marketing

As with all good things, a balance should be struck between quality and quantity. We’re talking about marketing here, not Pulitzer Prize-level stuff. If it takes you three months to produce a one-page tip sheet, six months to produce a four-page whitepaper or a year to create a 12-page e-book, it’s taking too long.

In these examples, I don’t care about quality that much to need that amount of time to produce assets like those described above. Instead, I want the asset in order to get a sense of its value to your audience. This comes in the form of data. I want the tip sheet, whitepaper or e-book quickly so we can publish it, see how it performs and then adjust accordingly. It’s almost always better to get something out faster, see how it does and then respond.

Here is a wonderful example of a test we’re running that proves this point. We’ve been offering content without even writing it. We’re 100% transparent that you might have to wait to get the offer, but if hardly anyone wants it, we don’t do it. If everyone wants it, we create it and send it out.

We’re able to test a bunch of offers without creating any. Then, we work only on the ones that drive the best results. It takes tight communication and expectation-setting, but it allows us to spend client budgets on only those offers proven to perform.

Test Both To Dial In The Perfect Balance

You’re probably sick of hearing about testing and data-driven decision-making when it comes to inbound marketing, but this is one of the secrets to program performance and amazing results. In this case, you can find the right balance between quantity and quality, dial it in based on data and strike the perfect balance moving forward.

If you’re measuring the impact of frequency alongside the measure of impact on quality, you’ll quickly find the perfect balance based on your personas and prospects. Keep in mind that you might have one persona that needs info more frequently and another that needs it less frequently. Be prepared for that nuance to your marketing and then plan accordingly.

Look At The Entire Prospect Experience When You’re Evaluating Quality Vs. Quantity

Finally, as we’ve said over and over again, today’s marketing is much more holistic than ever before. This means you should look at the entire prospect experience. Once you do, you’ll see frequency in a much different perspective. It becomes pieces of a bigger puzzle or chapters in a longer story. This perspective helps you craft the right story to disrupt your prospects’ status quo, lure them in with an emotional connector, tell them compelling stories, educate them as to the options available and then help them see how you’ve helped other people just like them.

This experiential perspective on your marketing will help answer the question about quality vs. quantity. It will help you create the balance and it will give you a baseline for review, using data as the final decision-making factor. This approach produces results and when applied properly, produces them in a scalable, predictable and repeatable way.

The question of quality vs. quantity is going to be an ongoing conversation and it’s likely that the conversation may even escalate into a debate at some point. The key takeaway from our perspective is that general comments are irrelevant. The only thing that does matter is data. If your audience favors quantity over quality, based on their quantitative behavior, then that’s a direction you should consider. But if they respond to quality, then that’s a direction I would encourage you to pursue.