The 80/20 Rule Content Marketing: Why You Should Care

Business today is about more than just having a great product. Customers want engaging content that interests them. They want more than a fancy sales pitch. 

They just want MORE.

So how do you give them what they want if you aren’t even sure what they want?

That is where the 80/20 rule for marketing can help. This guide will show you what it is, how it can help you, and instruct you on making an action plan to increase customer interest and boost sales.

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content marketing 80 20

What is the 80/20 Rule?

First, the backstory

An Italian economist by the name of Vilfredo Pareto realized that about 80% of the effect comes from just 20% of the causes.

Or in terms of business, 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort.

This is called the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, and it applies to nearly everything.

So, how does that work?

If I look at my friend’s social media feed, Facebook specifically, I can scroll through and see that most of the likes, comments, and shares come from posts about her son’s swimming career. She posts when he has a swim meet and shares his results with their family members who live across the country.

Roughly 20% of her posts are about her son. But about 80% of follower responses come from those posts.

Not all of her posts are about her kids, but most of the posts are lucky to get a few likes or comments, and usually only from the same few people.

Wait. So it’s the same few people who respond to most of her posts.

I feel confident saying the same 20% of people are responsible for 80% of her likes.

Huh. Look at that. The 80/20 rule even applies to a mundane personal Facebook page.

But that’s personal stuff. How does that translate to business?  

I have a client who desperately wanted to grow her business and increase sales. Her current campaigns were focused on promoting a product and not on her ideal clients.

Using the 80/20 rule to find what customers DO want and then give them more of that, I was able to dramatically grow her business. 

You’ll see that most of her traffic, dare I say ~80%, comes from roughly 20% of her content.

Take a look at this:

80 20 content marketing

These are the top-performing links out of 226 pages of content.

Once she saw the data, we were able to design more content that suited her customers. She found what worked and did more of that. 

That’s making the data work for you.

How Does It Apply to Content Marketing?

If only 20% of your effort is going to produce 80% of your results, you need to work smarter, not harder.

Let’s look at an example:

A business owner named Rachel wants to increase website traffic (and sales).

She’s tried everything… Facebook, Instagram, email marketing…

She doesn’t have any clue which parts of her marketing:

  • ARE working
  • Are NOT working

After digging into the data, she found that a handful of blog posts (roughly 15-20% of her marketing time spent) was producing over 80% of all traffic.

People weren’t looking for her product. They were looking for a solution to their problem. And, those blog posts helped solve their problem.

Roughly 20% of her efforts were producing over 80% of her results.

Once she understood this, she was able to refocus her marketing efforts to focus on content marketing. She expanded her blog and offered advice to others facing the same struggle she had.  

The content was not directly sales related, but it was selling her product faster than ever before.

When 20% of your content is responsible for 80% of your sales, you can take a closer look at that content and reproduce it for greater results.

If you understand the 80/20 rule of content marketing, you can grow your business exponentially. It’s just a matter of knowing what your customer wants and giving them more of that thing.

Checking out case studies where we have used the 80/20 rule in content marketing will give you a better idea of the amount of success that can be had.

80/20 Rule For Marketing In General

While Pareto’s Principle is used in business, marketing, and sales, it actually has its basis in economics. 

Pareto found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.  And that 80% of wealth belonged to 20% of people. 

He saw the same results everywhere. And that’s good to know. 

It means that we can apply the 80/20 rule to just about any area of our lives and businesses.

Let’s look at a few of the ways the 80/20 rule of marketing comes into play in your business:

  • 80% of your sales come from 20% of your sales team
  • 80% of your profits come from 20% of your products
  • 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients
  • 80% of your leads come from 20% of your content
  • 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers

Of course, these numbers won’t be exact but take a look back through your records. If you compare your business history, I bet you’ll find the 80/20 rule applies in many areas.

The 80/20 rule of marketing is easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. Then it becomes a powerful tool for growth.

How can you apply this rule to grow your business?  

Ask yourself:

“Which customers are responsible for 20% of your sales?”

Give them extra attention. Make sure you focus on them and their needs.

“Which 20% of your sales staff is closing 80% of your deals?”

Give them accounts you know they can close quickly so they can move on to even more deals.

“Which 20% of your content is getting 80% of the engagement?”

 Study it and focus on improving and pushing that area of your marketing.

The possibilities are truly endless.

80% of Your Clients Come From 20% of Your Marketing Efforts

You are a busy entrepreneur. 

Wasting time and money are not options. 

If you could pinpoint which marketing efforts were most successful, why would you not focus on those avenues?

There are tools available that will allow you to find out what works and what doesn’t. 

How to Use the 80/20 Rule for Your Content Marketing Strategy

Knowing that you can use the 80/20 rule for your content marketing is one thing. Knowing how to do it is another.

Our guide will walk you through, step-by-step, and give you the confidence to get started.

80 20 rule content marketing

Step 1: Look at Your Content Marketing Data

What is the goal for your content marketing campaign? Is it:

  • Website traffic?
  • Leads?
  • Social media followers?
  • Product sales?

Using a tool like Google Analytics, you can track the traffic to your page. It’s a tool that lets you see what content is working, and what isn’t.

If you’ve never used Google Analytics before, this guide will explain what it is and how to use it.

Then, take a look at the data in more depth to see if 20% of your content is yielding 80% of your results. 

Which pages are receiving the most traffic? Which keywords are bringing the most visitors?

Now that you have the data in front of you, do you see the 80/20 rule at play? My guess is, yes.

Step 2: Analyze WHY 20% of Your Content is Yielding 80% of the Results

This step is very important. If you want to capitalize on this 80/20 rule and get more traction on that 20%, then you need to understand WHY it’s working so well.

  • What does the 20% of content do differently? 
  • Does it connect with the reader better? 
  • Is it more in-depth, step-by-step? 
  • Does it add more value to your target audience?

Once you know what is working, you can focus on producing and promoting that content.

Dig Into the Minds of Your Target Audience

Do you know your target audience? Put yourself in their shoes.  

Focus on the answers to these questions:

  • What do they like?  
  • What are they looking for?
  • What do they want to see?
  • What will add value to them?
  • From their perspective, why is the 20% more effective?
  • What does it give them that your other content does not?

This information will give you a starting point for applying the 80/20 rule to your content marketing effectively and grow your customer base by giving them what they want: 

High-quality content designed just for them.

Understand Why People Are Taking More Action on This 20% of Your Content

Again, from your target audience’s perspective… 

Why are more people taking action on this content? What is it about this content that is driving more traffic, more sales, more leads, more referrals?

Here’s my guess…

Your target audience feels more understood as PEOPLE.

Your target audience feels like you can better solve their problem because you really know them.

If your target audience connects with you at a deeper level, less transactional and more transformational, it won’t feel like a sales pitch. It will feel like talking to a friend.

You know who they are, what they want, and you anticipate their needs by creating content that feels personalized and engaging.

This creates trust and trust leads to relationships. And relationships are what you need to grow your business.

Step 3: Focus your energy on the 20%

If you know which 20% of your customer base is responsible for 80% of your profits, you can cater to those customers.

Prioritize their needs and offer them special treatment. Let them know that you appreciate them. After all, they are the ones paying your bills.

Focus on what IS working instead of wasting time, energy, and money trying to fix something that isn’t.

Revamp Your Content Strategy That Aligns With the 20%

Redesign your content marketing for the next 6-12 months to align with the 20%. 

What do you need to change to better meet the wants and needs of the 20%? Plan your strategy around that.

Which 20% of your product line is bringing in 80% of sales? Promote those products.

Create a Content Calendar That Aligns With the 20%

Have a plan and stick to it. Create a system and regularly post new content. 

You can’t expect to make or two posts similar to that 20% and expect your whole business to change overnight. 

People want more than that. 

It’s my rule of Cs:

Create. Consistent. Content.

There are plenty of content planners that you can use to create a system of regular posts.

Make sure you are providing high-quality content that meets the needs of your customers and follows the trend of the 20%.

If you know that the 20% of content that is driving 80% of your sales, stay informed on that topic and give customers new content to consume.

Make them want more. And then give it to them.

4. Constantly Iterate to Align With the 20%

Just because the 20% is working now, it might not work in 2 years from now.

Keep content new and fresh. Pay attention to feedback and comments from your customers.

This is about knowing your customers and helping them solve their problem. So you need to be aware of the problem changes.

Monitor trends in your marketing and in society. Is everyone moving to that new app? 

Let’s face it. You want attention for your business and you aren’t going to find it by hanging out on MySpace while the rest of the world has moved on.

Things Change Over Time

Life -and business- move at the speed of the internet. Stay on top of trends and be willing to go where the customers are.

80 20 content marketing

80/20 Rule Social Media Marketing: Does It Work the Same Way?

In short: YES.

The 80/20 rule can, and should, be applied to your social media content as well.

It can have a huge impact on your business. How big?

My friend, Anna, is a travel agent and I follow her on social media.

When I scroll through her posts, most of them are either pictures of her personal travel or pictures of customers on trips. She is well-traveled and often shares stories about her favorite places and crazy things her kids have done to garner dirty looks from hotel staff and locals.

She doesn’t post advertisements or sales very often.

But she is VERY successful.

How do you run a successful travel business if you rarely ask customers to allow you to book their next trip?

She uses the 80/20 rule for social media content and makes sure that 80% of her posts are about engaging with her customers and adding value to their lives for free. Only a handful of monthly posts are asking anything of the customer.

She is successful because she spends her time giving customers what they want.


Remember the story about my friend’s Facebook page? Most of her likes are coming from similar content.

If you see that some of your content is getting more attention than others, look at it and find out why.

Are you getting a ton of likes on posts about family? Find ways to incorporate family into your content more often.

Do people like posts about your dog? Make him employee of the month.

Is that post about your struggle extremely popular? Share more about that and how you found (or are looking for) a solution.

People will like posts that resonate with them.  



You probably get 80% of your comments from 20% of your posts…

Which pieces of content are:

  • Making customers ask questions?
  • Getting people to tag friends in the comments?
  • Making people say ME TOO!?
  • Starting a conversation or thread?

Look at which posts have the most comments and find the common feature between them. 

I don’t know about you, but a post has to be very engaging to make me stop and comment. Otherwise, I may just give it a like or read it but keep scrolling. You want those comments and that interaction with your customers.

Find something to get your customers talking.


More than likely, 80% of your shares are coming from 20% of your posts. And 80% of those shares are probably coming from 20% of your audience.

Figure out what is compelling them to share your posts and create more content like that.

80/20 Content Marketing Example

Let’s say you’re a roofing company. And you’ve implemented a content marketing campaign for your roofing SEO

You’ve created 100 pieces of blog content over the past year.

And naturally about 80% of all the traffic to your blog is going to 20% of the posts. 

What do you do from here? 

  1. Determine exactly which blogs are driving the most traffic (in order)
  2. Determine which blogs are not driving any traffic – PRO TIP: deleting old blog posts that are not valuable, are not driving traffic, and are not ranking can actually HELP your SEO. Many people worry that deleting old content will hurt, but when done right it can actually help
  3. Now, figure out which blogs are driving just a little bit of traffic. This is where the magic is going to happen. 
  4. Once you’ve figured out which blogs are performing just… ehhh… you can go in and optimize them. Make them more comprehensive. Add even more value to the reader. Increase trust and authority by adding relevant external links. 

If you follow the 80/20 marketing steps above, we’re confident you’ll increase your organic traffic from Google.

It Doesn’t Matter the TYPE of Content

It doesn’t matter if it’s social media, LinkedIn, Youtube… this rule most likely holds true.

Whether you are trying to reach your audience for advertising, sales, or leads, you can use the 80/20 rule in your social media marketing to attract more customers and lead them to take the action you desire.

And all you have to do is find out what they want and give it to them.

You can do this! 

And our free guide can help.