According to a number of social media commentators, there’s a storm (in a teacup) brewing about the 80-20 rule of content marketing.
(For those of you that don’t know what content marketing is, here it is in a nutshell: it’s all about creating compelling, informative and entertaining content, tailored to meet the needs of your audience. Think blog posts, online articles and the like. What you are reading right this very minute constitutes content marketing. Also, check out our previous article What Is Content Marketing? for a quick refresher.)
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers sparked the debate with this article. According to him, marketers should spend 20% of their precious time creating content and the remaining 80% distributing that content.
“It’s smarter to find another 10,000 people to consume what you’ve already created as opposed to creating more. Or, in other words, create content 20% of the time. Spend the other 80% of the time promoting what you created,” Halpern contends.
There is some truth to what Halpern has to say. What’s the point in spending the same amount of time creating ten blog posts – each read by 1,000 people – when you can create one blog post, and have it read by 10,000 people? That’s an extra 9,000 pairs of eyeballs. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
But then, Mark Schaefer weighed in. He’s not so convinced about the whole 80-20 rule. In fact, he went so far as to call it a myth. According to Mr Schaefer, we all need to do the sums. If you compose two blog posts a week, spending perhaps six hours writing this content, that means you need to spend another 24 hours promoting this content. If, like the rest of us, you are trying to run a small business, you simply won’t have a spare 30 hours a week.
Instead, Mr Schaefer contends that you should spend your time gold plating your content. He reckons that, “Only quality builds a loyal audience. Only a loyal audience creates business benefits.”
I kind of tend to agree. Personally, I’d prefer to read a really well-put-together blog post than have it repurposed and shoved down my throat on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and so on and so forth.
Then Heidi Cohen chimed in. She reckons the rule should be more like 50-50, than 80-20. That is, content needs to re-purposed to suit the medium. Marketers can’t just regurgitate exactly the same content for every platform. It needs to be tailored somewhat. It might be that an article headline is tweaked. Or that you use different images to appeal to the different audiences that view different social media channels.
“The truth is that there’s more to the 80-20 Content Marketing Rule debate than content creation versus content distribution. The reality is that marketers can no longer place the same piece of content across multiple media entities the way the Mad Men did with traditional advertising,” states Heidi.
The main thing is not to get too hung up on any one person’s point of view. Content marketing, as a concept, is still in its infancy. Even the experts are still working out how it all works. And that’s what you should do. Figure out what rule (or what percentage) works best for you, for your product, your company, your audience. Then go with that. And, if it doesn’t work, just remember: rules are made to be broken.
About Sally Wood
Sally is the Chief Wordsmith at Wordly: a full-service copywriting, public relations, communications and editing agency in Melbourne, Australia. Having worked in marketing, communications and public relations roles for over ten years, Sally is well-versed in just about every aspect of message delivery. Her professional experience includes: copywriting for web, social media and print publications; marketing and public relations campaigns that deliver growth and improve brand awareness; and internal stakeholder communication programs that improve employee engagement. Sally holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Postgraduate Bachelor of Letters (Journalism and Public Relations) and is currently undertaking a Masters of Communication. For more information about Wordly’s range of services, visit: www.wordly.com.au.
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