How to Apply The 80/20 Rule to Content Marketing

Josh Denning, Founder, Authority Factory

How to Apply The 80/20 Rule to Content Marketing

As a savvy business owner, you are, most likely, familiar with the 80/20 rule (or Pareto’s Law): in many cases, 80 percent of the outcomes can be attributed to 20 percent of the causes for a given event.

Popularized by Tim Ferriss is his bestselling book, The 4-Hour Workweek, the 80/20 rule can be applied to many areas of business: customer complaints, revenue, profits, and more.

But, for many business owners, there’s one crucial area of applying the 80/20 rule that often gets neglected:

Content marketing.  

With 93 percent of business owners using content marketing, it is fast becoming the number one inquiry generator for many businesses.

And maybe it is for you, too... but are you doing it correctly?

Here are three areas in which you can apply the 80/20 rule to kick your content marketing into a higher gear:

1. Your Time

The rules of content marketing have changed.

Years ago, content marketing was easy: crank out as many low-quality, 400-word blog posts for pennies on the dollar, rank them on Google’s front page, and convert your visitors into customers.

Not anymore.

In today’s crowded marketplace, effective content marketing isn’t about content creation. Rather, it’s about content promotion.

With more competition entering the marketplace every day, replying to comments, reaching out to influencers, and building links has never been more important.

Few business owners invest the time or money to do it, and, instead, succumb to the belief: “the more time I put into my content, the better it will be, and the more views it will get.”  

While writing original, high-quality content is imperative in today’s Google-driven age, marketing what existing content you have to your audience and beyond requires just as high of a priority—if not more so.

As Derek Halpern writes, “Create content 20 percent of the time. Spend the other 80 percent of the time promoting what you created.”

Epic content, after all, is only epic if your audience know about it.

2. Your Competitors

Analyzing your competitors is one of the most effective ways to identify the profitability of the keywords you’re trying to rank for.

If your competitors have targeted keywords for their content and it’s performing well, you know there’s interest in the topic (and an opportunity to outrank them if you produce superior content).

To analyze your competitors’ content, go to BuzzSumo and type in their websites. This will tell you how many social shares their content has and who shared them.

Ask yourself,

  • What content is performing best?
  • Is there a recurring theme between competitors?
  • What is the 20 percent of content that is producing 80 percent of the social shares?

Answering these types of questions will give you insights into not just your market, but the type of content you can create for them.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; you just need to do more of what’s working.

3. Your Existing Content

Many business owners fall into a cycle of creating content, publishing that content, and, then, creating more content to account for the disappointing reception of their previous post.

What few realize, though, is that 80 percent of their organic traffic comes from 20 percent of their existing content.

If, instead, they invested 20 percent of their content creation time into optimizing the 20 percent of their highest-performing content, they could generate more traffic and more inquiries in less time and effort.

If you’ve been content marketing for a while, go to your Google Analytics and click ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Content’ > ‘All Pages’. This will help you identify the 20 percent of content that’s producing 80 percent of your organic traffic.

Once you know which of your posts is resonating with your audience, you have a few options. You can reverse-engineer why it’s popular and create similar content in the future, optimize existing content for conversions (by including newly discovered keywords), or syndicate it on platforms with similar audiences.

James Clear, a popular writer on habits and behavior change, built an audience of over 350,000 readers in less than four years by syndicating his most popular content:

Content marketing is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways of generating inquiries for your business.

But you need to have a documented strategy.

That includes outlining how long you should invest in creating and promoting, where you can expand on your competitors’ content and which of your articles is giving a return.

When you apply the 80/20 to your content marketing, you don’t just achieve more; you give yourself more time to do it.

[Image courtesy: DigitalRalph]

About the Author

Josh Denning, founder of Authority Factory, helps high-achieving business owners generate more traffic, create more authority and capture and close more clients for their business. To learn a scalable, predictable approach to growing revenue, visit