Yes, it’s the age-old ‘quality vs. quantity’ debate…
The real question of course is, would you be able to achieve your goal(s) more easily with a focus on content quality, or on content quantity?
For example, you could be looking for your content to deliver brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, traffic, and perhaps other goals.
But what exactly is meant by content quality?
In truth, it means different things to different people. Here’s a quick checklist – I’m sure you can think of other factors that should be included too:
- Flow: Does the content flow easily? Is it easy to read (or watch or listen to) and follow?
- Visuals: For written content, is it laid out well, with an easy to read font and suitable use of images?
- Length: There’s no right length, it largely comes down to context. Is the content an optimal length based on the type of content it is, and the way in which you are using it?
- Topic: How relevant is your content to the type of person you are aiming to attract?
- Expectation: Does the content deliver on the expectation you have set by the title? Will people leave feeling disappointed or frustrated at wasting their time? Or happy that they dropped by, and feeling keen for more, or to share it with others.
- Engagement Level: Does it engage your audience? Or turn them away?
- Professional: Does the content avoid typographical errors? Is punctuation used appropriately? Does it contain the correct use of English?
- Substance: Does it actually contain something worth consuming? Does it add value for the audience?
That’s quite a list!
Want more? Heidi Cohen has a list of 17 attributes of content quality.
In truth, the meaning of content quality is a huge, inexhaustable subject, and different content experts have different definitions of what it is.
Should you ever aim for quantity over quality?
The only argument suggesting you should aim for quantity over quality, is that it’s better to have something out there than nothing at all. After all, some people are liable to be so intimidated by the need for quality, that it’s easier to do nothing.
I only partly agree with this. If you’ve yet to dive into content marketing properly, indeed you have to start somewhere.
(And by that, I mean you actually do have to start somewhere. Avoiding content marketing and social media is no longer an option.)
So yes, create something at least.
However, you still can’t turn a blind eye to quality. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But poor content will either achieve no results, or worse, reflect badly on you and your business and may be worse than nothing at all.
If you can’t write or create decent content personally, that shouldn’t stop you. Just use or hire someone who can, or who can at least polish up your own output. Effective delegation is essential for business growth.
You can publish a thousand blog posts in a year, but if only three of them are truly noteworthy, valuable, and share-worthy content … then you’ve wasted quite a bit of time.
Or if written content isn’t your thing, start with video or audio content.
At the end of the day, your content is there to begin a relationship with your potential prospect. You want them to have a positive impression and to be keen to return for more. It’s a long-term strategy, and worth doing right.
That means creating the best content you can with the resources you have available.
The aim should always be continual improvement.
Some content will naturally do better than others. Some content will far outperform all the other content. In my experience, that’s usually somewhere between 2% and 5%. For example, on this blog, one post attracts nearly three times the traffic of its nearest rival.
As you start to find content that works, simply do more of it. As a side benefit, you’ll naturally start doing less content that’s less effective.
For a blog, you really need to be aiming for 50 to 100 posts before you’re even through the starting gate. Not only does this give you enough information to be able to start improving your quality and overall strategy in a meaningful way, you’ll also have enough content to start really seeing the benefits in terms of traffic and engagement levels with your audience.
Yes, it takes time and commitment. Who said success was easy?
In addition, quality does go hand-in-hand with quantity. Seek to increase the quantity of content you create over time too, without sacrificing quality. Research from Hubspot found that companies publishing at least 16 posts a month, had almost 3.5 times the traffic of companies publishing up to 4 posts a month.
But none of it works without the continual focus on quality. Far better to do a quality post every week or so than to try pumping out posts of meaningless fluff every day just to reach an output quota.
When it comes to your own content, it’s better to only have one or two original, quality pieces than to pump out 20 blog posts a week that are 200 words long and provide no value.
Daniel Hebert, PostBeyond.com
10 Key Ways Quality Always Wins …
In case you’re in any doubt, here are 10 ways in which the quality of your content always pays – and should always be prioritized over quantity:
Better bounce rates
People will bounce away from low quality content, and possibly even react negatively to it. If the content’s on your site, that means high bounce rates and declining or low search engine visibility. On the other hand, higher quality content and lower bounce rates means increasing search engine exposure and higher traffic levels.
More results (via your call to action)
Quality content means more people will stick around, for longer, and be more willing to accept your call to action.
Higher quality content means more engagement. The more engaged people are with your content, the more willing they are to share it with their own communities. People are obviously looking for content they can share that reflects well on them.
Similarly, quality content will attract links that build up naturally. For example, other blogs will link to you. This simply won’t happen if the quality is poor.
Search engine visibility
Presumably you’re looking for your content to deliver traffic? If so, one of the main ways in which this will start to happen is through search engines, and low quality content won’t show up.
For your content to be visible on Google and other search engines, quality is absolutely key.
Each piece of content you produce is effectively a sales person for your business (see how to monetize your blog). It represents your business, and directly affects your reputation.
High quality content builds trust and credibility and attracts people to you. Low quality content does the opposite and turns them away.
More responsive list
As advised in my blueprint, content you create – or at least, some of it – should be shared with your email list to build your relationship with them. Quality content allows you to keep doing this, because of the value you are providing.
On the other hand, if you’re sending low quality content, you’ll lack credibility. Your subscribers will quickly turn off, stop opening your emails and clicking through, and unsubscribe.
The same goes for your social audiences.
Attract more social followers
The more interesting and engaging people find the content you share, the more likely they are to follow you. Plus, as with #3 above, the more likely your content is to be shared with other social audiences, potentially attracting followers that way too.
Focusing on the quality of the original content item will always repay dividends. By repurposing the content – eg. a podcast into a blog post, a blog post to a video, etc. – you can leverage the original content, and magnify your results.
It’s an evergreen asset
The majority of your content will continue delivering traffic, leads and sales for you for months and years after it was created. It’s an asset. But it has to be high quality, or it simply won’t deliver.