The 8020 Rule of Content Creation within Marketing

The 80/20 Rule of Content Creation within Marketing

Ccontent creationontent creation within marketing is narcissistic and self-serving. At least, that was the opinion expressed by ZDNet writer Tom Foremski last week, who likely ruffled a few feathers with that commentary.

But in a way, he’s right.

Certain forms of content creation are indeed self-serving (as all marketing is), but he’s neglecting a very important aspect: Content marketing isn’t always about your company. Before I expand on this point (and a few others), I wanted to take a closer look at some of his critiques, observations, and questions:

Imagine having to produce media content constantly about your company. It won’t work. People have a sparrow’s appetite for reading or watching self-serving media.
Companies need to keep their names in front of the public constantly because if they aren’t seen, they don’t exist.
So, if content marketing in its current autobiographical form can’t carry the weight of being noticeable and notable, what’s the answer?

In sum, companies need to stay top-of-mind, but no one (myself included) wants to read about a particular brand on a daily basis. So what’s the solution? The answer can be found in the 80/20 rule.

The 80/20 rule – or the Pareto principle – states that “roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” This rule has been applied to countless use cases – mostly in the business world – and it’s of great importance to content marketers. Here are a few areas where it applies:

80% of your content should be about your industry. 20% should be about your company.

Foremski nailed this one: Nobody wants to read about a brand day in and day out. Not even the brands themselves. For content marketing to be effective – that is, to educate, entertain and raise awareness – 80% of the content should have almost nothing to do with your brand, your products, or your services. In other words, you should cover the industry as if you were a media company. And as Foremski points out, media companies don’t write about themselves.

80% of your page views will come from 20% of your visitors.

The actual numbers will vary, but marketing departments will generally find that the bulk of the content they produce is not a fit for their visitors – and that’s perfectly okay. It’s the 20% that you should be interested in anyway. If you can attract this group of highly qualified prospects to your site – and keep them coming back – you will have achieved success.

80% of your leads will come from 20% of your content.

Like many brands, you spend an inordinate amount of time and energy producing webinars, whitepapers, eBooks, and other lead-generating assets. But guess what? Most of them will not yield leads in high numbers. So why bother producing them at all? Because there’s almost no way to know which ones will have success.


What are some other ways in which the 80/20 rule applies to content marketing? Be sure to share on our LinkedIn page!