I recently participated in a webinar about how to successfully do content marketing at scale. As part of that conversation, the other panelists and I talked about a variety of interesting topics, including one that seems to be at the heart of a major dilemma that many content marketers face. I’m talking about the age-old debate over whether quantity or quality matters more when it comes to achieving content marketing success.
One of the underlying drivers behind the debate may be the fact that there’s something of a bandwagon mentality when it comes to adopting content marketing. Content marketers are under tremendous pressure to scale their content marketing programs, even before they’ve perfected what they’re doing. That’s a unique situation. Nowhere else in business do you start scaling things up before they’re really good and proven to work. Just consider Apple as an example. Do you think Tim Cook decided to start mass-producing the new Apple Watch as soon as he saw the first prototype? Of course not. He waited until they had got the product just right.
Yet when it comes to content marketing, for some reason we rarely apply the same logic. Instead, as content marketers we often hold ourselves to grueling content schedules, sacrificing quality so that we can produce enough content to keep up with demand. Underscoring this reality are the results of a 2014 study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, which found that 64 percent of respondents identified producing enough content as their top priority.
To be sure, there has always been a strong trend within the industry toward creating more content, even if that meant sacrificing quality. And there was a time when that worked just fine. A few years ago, for example, if you were the first company in your industry to adopt content marketing, you’d find that you had an instant competitive advantage because you were doing something that was new and unique. Since none of your competitors were trying to build relationships with customers through content, it was pretty easy to win over yours with whatever content you created, regardless of how good it really was.
In today’s crowded content marketing landscape, however, that no longer works. There’s so much competition that to obtain competitive advantage you need to have really great content or you’ll just get lost in the noise. Put another way, it’s not about creating more content, it’s about creating better content.
That’s why I think we need to wipe out content mediocrity. While mediocre content may have sufficed at one point, today it’s no longer good enough. Not only that, since there’s no such thing as neutral content mediocre content not only doesn’t help your cause, it can actually erode your brand. That’s because every piece of content you publish is going to leave an impression on your target audience. If that impression isn’t positive, it’s by default going to be negative. That in turn means lower engagement and people tuning you out.
All of this isn’t to say that quantity doesn’t matter. It absolutely does. It’s just that you can’t afford to sacrifice quality for quantity’s sake.
So your takeaway from all of this is simple: focus on creating the best pieces of content that you can. It’s only when you’ve mastered creating quality content that you’ll be ready to scale your operations and start producing more.