Two of the online marketing world’s biggest operators have implemented a pretty interesting test to determine whether quality of quantity matters most when publishing content.
There are two clear schools of thought on the matter. Firstly, the assumption that publishing more content will increase the potential number of visitors as you simply have more opportunities to connect with your audience. Secondly, the quality school of thought notes that if this content is churned out with little or not thought then too many of those opportunities will be wasted when there is nothing engaging, original or well-written to keep them interested.
Moz and HubSpot both implemented tests to see what really happened when they changed their frequency of blog posts.
Starting with SEO kings Moz and their team found that dropping their publishing volume to half its normal level resulted in an average drop of 5.6 per cent in unique pageviews base on their daily average.
They did see some impact on average traffic, although the changes were not as noticeable as expected. You can see the impact in the analysis below:
Interestingly, however, when the team doubled their publishing volume, there was essentially no impact on the number of unique pageviews.
Moz concluded that their results showed content marketing might take a while to get up to speed but “once it’s spinning, its massive inertia means that it isn’t easily affected by relatively small changes”.
The site also monitored engagement and, as they expected, found that when more posts were published the engagement levels dropped per post, indicating that people only had so much time to spend and would spread that more thinly if given more content to engage with.
As for quality, Moz hypothesised that posting fewer times a week will give them more time and that they will be “better able to focus on the quality of the posts” published, while publishing more frequently will result in the quality of each post suffering.
What they found was that they largely kept quality consistent (although they acknowledged this is hard to measure) and instead used the extra time when publishing at half their normal rate to invest in other projects, leaving them more productive and positive as a team than when they were rushing to deliver more content.
HubSpot had a clearer editorial focus behind their mission. They had previously reviewed their editorial setup to establish their ‘optimum’ publishing frequency and wanted to use the experiment to do so again in light of the developments within their company and the market as a whole.
The team focused on their Marketing Blog in particular, which usually publishes between three and give blog posts on a week day and one post on each weekend day, resulting in between 20 and 25 posts a week.
But, the majority (92 per cent) of the company’s leads in a given month come from posts published prior to that month – an interesting side note to bear in mind for company’s consider their own content strategy. So the experiment focused on the effects of new posts.
To summarise, HubSpot found that posting blogs at a low volume but with high comprehensiveness (that is to say high quality articles that required particularly large amounts of research to create) resulted in nearly 32 per cent less traffic than their benchmark. When posted at high volume but with low comprehensiveness, there was a five per cent increase in traffic. This is visualised in the graphic below, where LVHC = low volume high comprehensiveness and HVLC = high volume low comprehensiveness.
Much like Moz, the Hubspot team concluded that there is “only so much content our readers can consume”.
Both studies are well worth a closer read for anyone looking to ascertain their perfect publishing frequency and focus of their editorial strategy.