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Quality vs. quantity: The content conundrum

|September 06, 2017
Written by

Ellie Bramah

When it comes to content marketing, quantity is no longer the measure of success. Our Halifax colleague Ellie Bramah sat down with pioneer Jay Baer on the first day of Content Marketing World to talk about tactics that will make sure you provide successful content that your audience really does want from you.


For the last five years, some might say that volume has been winning the content world – the more you made, the more impressions, clicks, reach, your content achieved. Not to mention that our methods to measure success were less sophisticated than they are today. Organizations weren’t always demanding that their content marketing plans—so often an afterthought or tacked on to an existing marketing strategy—had clear ROI and impact on the bottom line.

If my discussion with the renowned Jay Baer on the first day of Content Marketing World told me anything, it was how much has changed.

Today, Baer says we simply have to look at the numbers. “It’s a 90-10 ratio these days,” he says. “90 per cent of content fails. Only 10 per cent of it gets the views, the hits, the eyeballs people want. So, we have to put our resources to better use.”

In my discussion with Baer, when it comes to making better quality content, understanding customer need is imperative. And that goes well beyond the marketing function. “Marketing people don’t know anything,” Baer says. “It’s not us who speak to the customer or clients. You have to bring in sales and customer service teams to the process if you’re really going to get anywhere.”

Baer shared an incredibly thoughtful structure for putting those teams to work and getting the best, most creative material from these sessions, the 5x5x5 approach. Essentially, you break down five personas, mapped against the five stages of the sales funnel, and outline the five questions they’d have or the five things they need to move to the next stage.

“There’s a balance,” Baer says. “Some of that content isn’t going to be incredibly dynamic. Some of it is the functional pieces you need to create. But there are always things that emerge that are the non-obvious themes or topics.”

And once you break the mold, says Baer, it gets easier to keep breaking it. For many organizations, demonstrating small successes, giving evidence that this works, is how the process all starts. But Baer reminds us that not everything works all the time. There’s always room for learning and creativity.

“It’s our job as marketers to remind ourselves and our teams that the conduit to success isn’t that everything is going to be successful,” says Baer. “We have to give ourselves permission to make the story bigger. But that’s how we’ll win.”


A big thank you to Jay Baer for the great insights.

——— Written by Ellie Bramah, former Director of Creative Strategy, NATIONAL Public Relations


Written by Ellie Bramah

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