Some bloggers suggest the 80/20 rule when it comes to publishing content and promotion. Spend 20% of your time/resources on content and 80% on promotion.
It works great for some bloggers in some niches.
Take niches like “how to make money online” or “SEO” as an example; you know, the typical marketing blogs we all read. It makes sense to publish epic guides because it’s competitive and a few successful articles alone can provide a livelihood.
While I don’t take that approach around here, I could and I’d probably do better with this blog than I do. I can’t be bothered because for now this site is more for fun than anything, so I just do what I feel like doing.
But the publish less, promote more approach is not the best approach in all niches.
In some niches, publishing more content, even if shorter, makes sense.
Take news sites, for example. They crank out content, much of it short, because they report the news. Their audience wants the news.
Another example is any blogger or site publisher that focuses on very specific topics targeting long tail keywords. This content is intended to rank with little or no promotion. In lieu of promotion, the strategy is all about publishing plenty of content.
Note, however, that publishing lots of content doesn’t mean the content is bad. The content needs to deliver and satisfy the audience, otherwise it’s worthless.
And then there’s a hybrid approach. A hybrid approach is one where some content isn’t promoted and some is. I kind of fall in this approach. There is some (not much) content I do promote.
Since I’m a pretty high volume publisher (3 to 7 articles per day vs. 1 per week or month*), I’m well versed with the pros and cons. Here they are.
Table of Contents
A. Pros of publishing more content
1. Target more long tail keywords:
This makes sense, right? The more articles and words you publish, the more keywords you’ll target and potentially rank for. Those keywords may not have much search volume, but added up together could amount to decent search volume.
2. Outreach and promotion less important:
Because you’re focusing on plenty of content and long tail keywords (i.e. rank and get traffic without too much promotion) you don’t have to do as much outreach, promotion and/or link building. Of course you can if you want, but traffic isn’t as dependent on it. That said, not every piece of content you publish will get traffic by itself from search engines so some promotion may be required.
3. Get to do more keyword research:
I love doing keyword research. I liken it to gold mining or wildcatting for oil (not that I’ve ever done either of those two activities). Great keywords though, are gold or black gold. By publishing more content daily, you have to have a long and growing list of keywords and topics to cover which means doing more keyword research.
4. Daily repeat visitors:
For my biggest niche site, I publish a short daily newsletter. The newsletter primarily promotes website content. By publishing content daily, I have new content every day to put into the newsletter. With 44,000 subscribers, that’s a nice chunk of daily traffic and revenue.
Moreover, my biggest niche site is also very popular in its niche. The site’s name and variations of it are searched for nearly 1,000 times per month according to Ahrefs. What this means is there are people who like to visit it regularly for updates because they like the variety of content.
I’ve noticed the same with Fat Stacks… some weeks I get into mass-publishing routines publishing one blog post per day and can send email visitors to the website daily. I only wish I had more time for this site so readers could consistently count on new daily content… that is actually a great way to get free traffic. I visit numerous websites daily because I know they produce daily content.
5. Content for daily social media posts:
One final benefit of publishing daily content is you end up with plenty of content for the social media treadmill, which in turn equals more daily traffic for free.
B. Cons of publishing frequent content:
1. It’s a treadmill:
Some days I don’t feel like reviewing 3 to 7 articles and publishing them, but I do it because that’s my model. I self-impose pressure to publish frequently. My business wouldn’t suffer if I skipped a few days here and there, but I’m a stickler for standards and so push on publishing every day even when I don’t feel like it. My morning routine of reviewing content and publishing it (1 to 3 hours) is sacrosanct. If I do nothing else for the day, I’m okay with that because publishing content is the most important part of my niche business model.
The treadmill feeling is more than just having to review and publish every day. In order to publish 3 to 7 articles per day, I must have plenty of content in the content production pipeline which includes plenty of keywords and topics to cover, writers producing content and ensuring my VA’s are getting content formatted. Fortunately I now have a huge inventory of draft posts along with hundreds of unwritten articles paid for and in the pipeline, but I can’t sit on my laurels. I must constantly keep the workflow pipeline filled and running to capacity.
2. Higher content costs:
Obviously publishing more content costs more money since I outsource most content. But that’s okay; it’s an investment. Actually, it’s more a cost of goods sold (COGS) to use an accounting term. Without it, I don’t have a business.
Miss out on ranking for high search volume keywords:
This is the biggest disadvantage of how I go about things. I’ve made it clear I prefer going after long tail keywords and topics instead of swinging for the fences for high search volume keywords. I don’t do much content promotion so I can’t expect to rank for competitive keywords. However, while I do what I do and it works for me, I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t want to rank for some huge search volume keywords. Ranking for a monster keyword could result in tens of thousands of dollars per month. It just turns out I’m not too wild about much of the promotional and link building work that goes into ranking for monster keywords.
3. Must do lots of content formatting:
I’m fortunate because I’m at a stage where I can hire VAs to format content. I’m not going to lie; formatting content is a real drag. It’s tedious, slow-going and boring. Fortunately it’s a perfect task for outsourcing. That said, I still format content now and then when coming up with new article ideas. I always do a prototype of a new article idea entirely myself so I get it just the way I want before instructing writers and VA’s for future production of that type of content.
4. Results are hit and miss:
This is the case for any content publishing business. Some content will be a spectacular success, some a moderate success and some will fail miserably. I still publish duds every week. But this is a problem whether you publish less content or more content. It’s a risk of this business. You just hope you have enough successful content to make up for the failures.
5. Less exposure:
Because I don’t do widespread promotion (especially outreach), I don’t network within the industry and so my site doesn’t get a great deal of exposure. It’s the same with Fat Stacks. While Fat Stacks is somewhat known, it’s not a “household” brand within the blogging or entrepreneurial community. That’s because I don’t network or go to events or guest post or do any promotion.
C. What’s the point of this discussion ?
The point is to help you figure out if a high volume content strategy is right for you or whether you should focus on publishing fewer pieces and promote them extensively.
Both work. I’m not advocating for one or the other. I’d be shortsighted to suggest promoting content is not effective. However, it’s also inaccurate to suggest that publishing content more frequently that’s not promoted is ineffective. There are highly successful examples on both sides of the spectrum and of course in between.
D. What should you do?
You should try both strategies. Put your all into both and get a sense of what you like and don’t like. You’ll know pretty fast. If you dread the content generation, but get excited and energized building links and reaching out to influencers, you definitely should publish less often (but make it great content) and spend more time promoting.
If you love content generation and managing content flow but don’t like the follow-up promotion and reaching out, you’re better off focusing on publishing plenty of very specific content (by very specific, I’m referring to content that targets long tail keywords).
If you like all of it, lucky you. Take a hybrid approach.
*“Lots” of content is relative. My lots is a pittance compared to top-tier publications that publish dozens or hundreds of articles per day. What I’m referring to is smaller online publishers like myself who can opt to publish once per week spending the rest of the time on promotion or focus more time publishing multiple pieces of content daily.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.