When Less is More in Content Marketing

Posted by IAB Australia On February 03, 2015

For people who are supposedly experts in creating content there are a lot of boring stories written by content marketers. If I see another story in my Twitter feed with a title such as “5 SEO Tips for Marketers” or “9 Email Marketing Best Practices” I might just fall asleep at my laptop. I’ve written before about the over-use of the listicle on the web but I think the more important point is that inspiration for great stories can come from just about anywhere. It might be a beautifully-shot amateur documentary about a local cricket team made good, or a little-known blog with a unique perspective on a niche subject like stay-at-home parenting.

Traditional media, of course, also have a lot of lessons to offer to marketers looking to create content that resonates with large-scale audiences. One of the most interesting interviews about content marketing I’ve read recently was with Tyler Brule, the former editor of Wallpaper and founder of the Monocle and design firm Winkreative. A former war correspondent who was shot in Afghanistan a decade ago, Brule is now something of a brand guru.

In an interview with Contagious, Brule argued that brands often create too much content and in doing so undermine their “mystique”. “Suddenly when you have all of these channels available to you to communicate all the time and you have your front-office manager who has to deliver a blog, and you have the head of housekeeping talking about how she and her team clean the rooms, and you have the CEO tweeting constantly about how they’re opening new locations, that demystifies the brand.”

Another way of looking at it is that posting more thoughtful pieces less often is better than a meaningless spray of content that is easily ignored. Since launching its T Brand Studio a year ago, the New York Times has published an average of just three projects per month on behalf of brands such as Netflix, Goldman Sachs and Google – each of them smart, beautifully-crafted interactive pieces.

At Storyation, the content marketing agency I co-founded with a colleague from Fairfax Media, we are often asked how frequently marketers should create content. The answer is it depends on your objectives, of course. Are you aiming for web traffic or social shares? Thought leadership or conversion? That said, it’s important to remember that every minute of every day 347 WordPress blog posts are published, 48 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded and 571 websites are launched. Sometimes less is more when you are looking for a way to stand out amidst the content deluge.

Lauren Quaintance is Head of Content for Storyation.

IAB Australia

IAB Australia is the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia. As one of over 43 IAB offices globally and with a rapidly growing membership, the role of the IAB is to support sustainable and diverse investment in digital advertising across all platforms in Australia.