Is It Better to Half-Ass a Content Strategy or Do Nothing At All?

The title to this piece is obviously a bit of a joke, but the significance behind it is worth exploring in an objective, practical way. In my experience with both agencies and independent business clients, I’ve encountered countless business owners who have recognized the potential of content marketing, but have grown frustrated that their own attempts have failed to generate momentum.

Among these frustrated business owners, the majority have attempted a “skin and bones” kind of strategy, posting once a month or writing articles in an unfocused theme (or without any recognizable brand voice). These business owners aren’t typically “half-assing” their strategies out of laziness or incompetence, but instead because they don’t realize how much effort is necessary to yield meaningful results or because they’re simply too busy or hard-pressed for resources to achieve this effort.

This leads me to a question I often have to answer (but rarely pose in such explicit terms): is it better to half-ass a content strategy or do nothing at all?

The Merits of Half-Assing

Believe it or not, there are actually some good reasons to half-ass a strategy. Let’s say you’re a small business owner and you don’t have the time to write posts yourself, the personnel to handle it for you, or the money to spend on an independent contractor to take care of the work. In this situation, you have limited resources and limited know-how.

Half-assing a strategy with only a handful of posts, or with posts that offer limited research, or with strictly written posts (instead of using multimedia content), isn’t necessarily a bad thing here. You won’t see much of an ROI, but at the same time you won’t be investing much. At the same time, you’ll be building up a steady history of posts that your future visitors will be able to see, and you’ll be gradually increasing your online “real estate” to gain more potential for search ranks. Later on, should you choose to flesh out or expand your strategy, you’ll already have a decent archive and foundation to work with.

In short, half-assing a content strategy can work for you—but only if you use it as a runway to a much better, more comprehensive strategy.

Where Half-Assing Bites You

Of course, half-assing a strategy can come back to haunt you. Remember that every person who visits your site will be seeing this content. If it’s shoddily written, or full of spelling errors, or it presents inaccurate data, you could instantly ruin your reputation. Furthermore, if your content is egregiously “thin,” or “fluffy,” you could actually do some damage to your domain authority instead of maintaining or improving it.

In short, half-assing a content strategy can actually be negative for your site and brand. If you plan on spamming cheaply procured posts, don’t—you’re literally better off doing nothing.

A Middle Ground?

If you have limited time, resources, and budget, but you still want to do something—don’t worry. There’s a kind of “middle” ground between totally half-assing a strategy and putting in the time and effort a real strategy deserves. Think of it as a three-quarters-assed strategy.

Your real problems here are quality and volume. With limited resources, you can’t produce posts of the top-tier quality you’d like, nor can you post as many articles as you’d like. If you want to gain the benefits of a half-assed strategy without the drawbacks, remember that your priority should be on quality, not volume. Posting 1,000 shoddy articles is going to actively hurt you. Posting one or two great articles is going to help you, even though that isn’t many posts to work with, and they won’t generate much momentum on their own.

The key takeaway from this piece is that it is possible to gain benefits from a content strategy, even if you can’t put as much time, money, or effort into it as you know you should. The key is to spend what little time you have on producing quality pieces—even if you only end up publishing occasionally.

If you need help seeing where you stand, or want an outside opinion on how your current content strategy is shaping up, reach out to me—I’m happy to help.

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