Why not all content performs the same: the Content Marketing Power Law

Few days ago, someone in my division requested a blog life analysis. She said, her objective was understanding trending performances and what the average blog post life is. Based on results, her plan was to improve engagement repurposing and repromoting content once the average blog post life was at the end.

I don’t think that looking at an average blog life is the right approach. Even if the repurposing model is proven and works. I think the analysis is based on a wrong assumption: all blog posts work in the same way. All blog posts follow the same trending behaviour (assuming the same content promotion). All blog content performs the same.

Well, that’s fundamentally wrong.

And it’s not, not just my gut feeling. It’s all analysis done in my last 12 months experience in B2B Content Marketing. It’s the experience of 10 years blogging.

Time ago I had a successful personal blog, in Italian. I wrote about personal stuff and travels, marketing and business school experience. It was the time of my MBA, in Milan. One day I decided to summarise and share content from a book published by The Economist and enriched with a personal research. I published a list of Head Hunters. That post immediately was picked up by Google (“head hunters Italia”) and went viral. Thousand views and several comments, vs. a much lower average engagement. I decided to slice the post in several pieces, one for each industrial sector, each with its own head hunter sub-list. I wrote several posts, each covering a specific sector. I couldn’t know at that time, but I was just executing the so called content marketing Thanksgiving Analogy of repurposing and slicing content. In addition, during the following months, I updated the overall list too.

Years later, and with no social media promotion at all, I am still getting visitors and comments (engagement) for content hosted on a nearly dismissed blog. This is not unusual. But it doesn’t happen with all blog posts. Only with a 10-20% of them. For this reason I believe that the average blog post life analysis starts from the wrong assumption that all posts perform the same. It doesn’t really work this way, and the so called content marketing power law (details here by Walter Chen and here by Janessa Lantz) widely demonstrates it.

Conclusions. The average blog life analysis is not worth. I think it would be more interesting to analyse all blog posts and understand which ones follow the law being positioned in the 10-20% of the power law model (the left side) and why. Then, once understood the right model, replicate it endlessly.


Also published on Medium.

2 Replies to “Why not all content performs the same: the Content Marketing Power Law”

  1. Hi Giuseppe,

    I agree with you. Not all blogposts work the same way. We need to considers the essence of posts and why they work, not making an average (which would be a quantiative view). We should take a qualitative approach to this and give attributes to blog posts. Such as:
    – What was the main topic?
    – Which problem has been addressed?
    – How was the post structured?
    – Which media do we have in the post?
    – What was the message of the post?
    – What was the tone of voice
    – etc.

    If we know how to combine these qualitative views and align them with what we actually want to measure (expressed in metrics), then it’ll provide meaningful and actionable insight for further steps. The quantitative view is not enough because “content” is not about quantity, much more about the story, the message.

    Very interesting post, thanks for that :-)

    Mael

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *