How to Use Supplemental Content to Get More Mileage from Big Content

The sheer volume of platforms and devices your consumers are using to discover, consume and interact with content online is staggering. Across social networks and websites, on mobile and in voice-only interfaces and more, Americans are consuming 3,138,420 GB of data every minute of the day.

Marketers are doing their part to feed the need. Wherever those consumers are—in search, social media, browsing their favorite sites, in apps—they’re being bombarded by a massive volume of content at every turn. We’ve become prolific content creators, publishing 473,400 tweets, 49,380 Instagram posts, and 1,944 new Reddit comments per minute. By 2020, we’ll be creating 1.7 MB of data per second for every person on Earth (all of the above stats from Domo).

Guys, I’m exhausted just reading about it. In the face of such massive noise and competition, how can your content possibly stand out?

Supplemental content can add great value and utility to your main content piece. In fact, “That there is strong supplemental content leading to a good user experience” is one of Google’s criteria for a high-quality page (as per their Search Quality Raters Guidelines). What we don’t want is “the Supplementary Content is distracting or unhelpful for the purpose of the page.”

In this post, we’re going to explore the value of great, BIG content pieces and the creative ways you can use supplemental content to support them. But first, why focus your efforts on big content pieces in the first place?

The Value of BIG Content in Your Content Marketing Arsenal

For the purpose of this post, we’re going to use long-form blog content as our big content piece—that is, blog posts over 1,000 words in length. Now, I understand that there are varying opinions on what exactly constitutes long-form content. Dan Shewan over at WordStream notes that some consider anything over 700 words long, while Chris Giarratana here at SEJ classifies it as anything over 2,000 words.

I’m going with an arbitrary 1,000+ words. Well, not completely arbitrary, as SearchMetrics research tells us that the average word count of top-ranked content in Google is between 1,140-1285 words.

It’s also worth noting that big content pieces come in a variety of formats including whitepapers, e-books, case studies, comprehensive guides, and more. We’re not limiting the definition of long-form content to blogs; rather, it’s the example we’ll explore in this post because:

  • Companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get nearly 3.5x more traffic than those that publish 0-4 monthly;
  • Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI (HubSpot)
  • Companies with blogs produce 67 percent more leads per month than those without; and
  • 60 percent of consumers feel engaged/positive with a brand or company after reading custom content on their blog.

More traffic, greater leads, higher ROI, and happier customers? Yes, please.

When it comes to long-form content, blogging is where it’s at.

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