As big publishers like Time cut costs and staff, the opposite is happening to their online publishing frequencies. According to Poynter, Time has doubled the amount of content it publishes online each year. Money has increased its publishing frequency to 20 to 30 pieces per day, which is the amount of new content it used to publish online for an entire month. Leading the pack is Fortune, which is currently publishing as many as 90 pieces of content per day. That’s three times as much as Fortune published online in the past.
Poynter’s Sam Kirkland notes that Money has actually increased hiring with seven new journalists added recently and 24 staff members added to build a 24/7 news desk (Time has recently laid off 500 workers). According to Money editor Craig Matters, content has a lifespan on its homepage that is only minutes long. He believes that increasing quantity is the only way to “feed the news beast.”
To keep up with the growing quantity requirements, big publishers are shifting away from long articles of 1,000 or more words. Instead, Kirkland reports that articles of 400 words or less, visual content, and interactive content will become more prevalent. The goal is to make content more shareable. Think less “reporting” and more “approachable” with lists and quizzes, and yes, clickbait and linkbait. For example, Kirkland mentions a recent quiz published on the Money website that matches your money style with a famous television couple. Again, quantity — yes … quality — sometimes yes, but probably more often no.
The Lesson for Authoritative Content Publishers
Should you pursue a quantity yes, quality maybe strategy for your content? It’s a fine line to balance the two — quality vs. quantity. The problem is that the more low quality content you publish in order to boost quantity, the more your brand image will change. Remember, your Authoritative Content brand developed because you spent time building audience expectations for your content. Confusing them by publishing a lot of low quality content that is not perceived to consistently represent your brand will lead many of them to turn away from your brand in search of one that does meet their expectations in every interaction.
Confusion is the number one brand killer, so tread carefully. Many publishers have had great success supplementing high quality content with lower quality, quick hit content to increase publishing frequency, but even more have seen their audiences abandon them when quantity became the top strategic priority. Consider your audience and your goals and then make the right strategic decision to build long-term, sustainable growth.