Minimum Effort

Minimum effort is defined as the minimum input needed to produce any meaningful results.

Most tasks don't produce meaningful and desirable results when done only once or done in an unplanned way. For e.g. posting 1 image on social media daily for a week will not move the needle. Writing 1 article a week for 1 month would likely not help your SEO efforts.

When we decide what we should do, we often ignore the minimum effort required for the task to produce meaningful results in plain hindsight. The minimum effort equation can be defined as:

$$ Minimum Effort= Min Quality * Frequency* time frame $$

Minimum Quality

This is the standard or bare minimum quality benchmark for a task. For a social media image, this can be the design benchmark. If you are designing half-baked images that look boring and dull, your posts will likely not work. For an article to work on search rankings, the article needs to be optimised for SEO keywords and google guidelines. If you are writing an article that does not follow the guidelines, it will not rank well.

Quality helps us understand the time it will take to do a task regularly. It also helps estimate the resource we will need to do the task. If you do not have a graphic designer, it is bad to start social media marketing.


Frequency is the natural minimum frequency of the task to produce momentum for any results. Any activity needs to have a minimum frequency to get the ball rolling—experience and experimentation can help define the frequency.

An SEO expert knows the minimum number of articles needed to show the desired results. When I was working with ClearTax, we had a whole team of writers writing X number of articles weekly. This helped ClearTax rank on top of google searches. This was a winning organic acquisition strategy. Similarly, if Facebook posts/ Ads is your lead generation channel, you need to run a Y number of ads/ day or week to get the leads. If you run less than Y ads, the whole effort might not produce any results. X and Y is the minimum frequency for the respective tasks.

Frequency is also a function of the time frame in which you need the results. For e.g., if you need 10 articles to rank on the first page of google in 6 months vs if you need them to rank in 3 months.

Frequency can be a signal to define the resources needed. If you want to post 10 high-quality articles per week, you would need more resources if you are currently posting 4 articles per week.


The timeframe is the final parameter in our equation. If you have figured out (with experience or experiments) that you need to write at least 5 articles a week to get the desired results, you also need to know how many weeks you need to write.

Say your end goal is to have 50 SEO optimised articles. And you need to achieve this in 3 months. This gives us a clear idea that we would need ~ 4 to 5 articles/ week for 12 weeks.

Hence you can define this task as:

Quality: SEO optimised and follow Google guidelines

Frequency: 4 or 5/ week

Timeframe: 12 weeks

The above equation can help us define and prepare the resources and allocation we need to do for this project to be successful.

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