There’s a common phrase that nearly everyone in the world of content marketing understands: Feeding the beast.

Creating content in 2024 can feel like a constant struggle to shove more posts out into the world, and when they’re successful, guess what? You now need even more content to follow that one up.

The idea has always been that by posting more, we give ourselves more opportunities to get found through whichever algorithm we’re dealing with. A few recent developments challenge that idea and suggest that a less hectic, more intentional publishing schedule may give us the best chance to be successful.

Edward Lindeman, head of publisher operations at TikTok in the UK, said in a recent interview “you can… create lots and lots of videos, but unless you’re getting very strong engagement and high completion rates… the distribution will be relatively low.”

It turns out that TikTok focuses a lot of their algorithmic energy on whether or not people seem to actually like what you’ve been posting.

He elaborated by saying, “Some of the key things we do know that it looks at is the completion rate of the video. Is someone watching it to the end? That’s 100% completion rate. Do they watch it multiple times? That can be 200-300% completion rate. Are they sharing it, commenting on it, liking it?”

But that’s just TikTok. What about Instagram? At a recent conference, the head of IG, Adam Mosseri, told the audience that Reels longer than 90 seconds may actually be hurting distribution, which implies a similar focus on completion rates.

So What?

Is there a benefit to posting regularly? Absolutely. No account can build momentum and a relationship with its community without a consistent flow of content; However, once that baseline is established, it appears that any extra time you have on your hands should be spent not on more posts, but on higher quality, shorter videos that are likely to get people watching to the end.

Melissa Chapman, chief executive of social publisher Jungle Creations — who runs the food account @Twisted, with over 5 million followers — shared her experience with UK publication PressGazette:

“On a fundamental level the platforms will have a certain quota that you need to post regularly, needs to be consistent and so on and so forth, but don’t post for posting’s sake. So we do try to tread that balance between frequent posting, so we’re still here, don’t forget us because there’s a lot of other people here and if you go for an hour, they might forget you exist.

But actually investing a little bit more into our formats and trying to almost keep people in that video for longer so they’re dwelling with us on a video by video level, rather than being with us for three seconds across 100 different videos that could be from anyone.”