Content Quality vs. Content Quantity – The Great Content Debate

content Quality vs. content Quantity - The great content debateContent quality vs. content quantity. How much content is enough? How good does it need to be?

Every business struggles with this question. And the quality vs. quantity debate is something marketers have always struggled with. Reach vs. frequency. Sending enough leads to satisfy sales vs. sending them leads that convert to purchase. And content marketers in every industry are now facing the same dilemma: How much content is enough and how good does it need to be?

Today I will be moderating a panel discussion on content quality vs. content quantity at Content Marketing World. Joining me will be some of the leading minds in Content Marketing. They are Joe Chernov (@jchernov), VP of Marketing, Kinvey. Heather Meza (@HeatherMeza), Manager Digital Media Solutions, Cisco. Rob Murray, President, Skyword. And Marcus Sheridan (@The SalesLion), Founder, River Pools and Spas and The Sales Lion Blog.

These bright folks will drive the answer on how to balance between the need to create enough content to increase your share of customer conversations vs. the need to represent your unique point of view and differentiate yourself from the competition.

I was excited to lead this panel because I have a pretty strong view on this topic. I believe we absolutely need to stop creating bad content. Quality is clearly an important component. As Joe Pulizzi has been saying, “there was a time for more content but that time has passed.” And Doug Kessler and Velocity Partners have piled on with their great slideshare deck that implores us to “Stop Creating Crap.”

I think it’s easy to take the side of quality in the debate. Of course we have to create engaging, helpful and entertaining content. And it has to live up to the standards that your brand reputation requires. As content marketers, we have to produce content that reaches our target audience, that engages them and inspires them to action.

But we have to do all this at a scale that impacts the business. We cannot produce one great piece of content every month when the shelf life of content in today’s world is a few days at best and a few seconds at worse.

“Deadlines are the greatest source of inspiration.”

No I am not taking the easy way out. I am not going to cop out and say the answer is both quality and quantity.  I truly believe we have to start by defining a quantity goal. We have to start with a dedicated and committed publishing schedule that will allow us to make a dent in the share of online customer conversations your prospects are having. Thinking like a publisher means you have to force deadlines on yourself.

So once we pick our publishing schedule, we then demand high standards of quality for each piece that we push out.

Volume has advantages as well. More content equals more insights into what works. More content equals more opportunities to drive social engagement. More content equals more opportunities to answer your customers’ top questions.

So do we need more content or better content? We need more, better content. But start with more.

For more of my Top Content Marketing Questions Answered, see:

What Is A Content Strategy and Why Do I Need One?

Why Do Content Marketing?

8 Questions To Help You Define Your Content Strategy

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook  and Google+ or  Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

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Showing 23 comments
  • Laura Hanley

    The great debate! I wish I could attend the panel discussion today. Hope you’re enjoying CMW!

  • Geraldine

    I think the move toward content marketing is a very significant advance in marketing and the entire business,customer relationship and helps to improve your business.

  • Unmana

    “Deadlines are the greatest source of inspiration.” That’s personally why I’m striving for quantity right now, because if I let myself wait till I’m “inspired”, I’d never write! But if I sit down to write because omg-I-have-to-post-today, I’ll always find something to write.

    • Michael Brenner

      Unmana, that is exactly what I do. I have tried to get ahead of my schedule and it never happens. Even when I make a list of “ideas” when I go back, I can’t seem to get into the same brain pattern. This quote is my new mantra.

  • David Cheng

    Let’s be honest… if we don’t impose a quantity goal, then you’ll never end up posting anything at all. Readers are creatures of habit and if you post in a regular schedule, they’ll look forward to reading your material when the deadline hits, regardless of whether it’s good/bad or relevant.

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks David, that’s why I wrote this post and asked to run that panel. Got to create quantity goals and then work like heck to make the content great.

  • Chad Pollitt

    Michael:

    Great post as usual – This debate has been happening for quite some time and I’ve never heard anyone mention what I consider more important than quality or quantity. That’s “consistency.”

    Consistency in quality (whatever that may be) and consistency in quantity (whatever that may be) sets expectations for readers and Google. I think it’s time to inject “consistency” into the debate. Now I’m motivated to write a post. Thanks Michael!

    @ChadPollitt

    • Michael Brenner

      Great point Chad. At content marketing world, we talked about how we all know the answer is not A. Quality or B. Quantity but C. both. Maybe consistency is the best way to explain what “both” means.

  • Mary Chandler

    I always go for quality, but if you cannot achieve quality without the quantity, I would go bot both ways. Nevertheless, quality is of utmost importance for me. I despise reading long content that does not make sense.

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Mary, of course you are right! You need both to make an impact!

  • Justin Belmont

    Ah, the classic debate. Quantity and quality are both important, so it is always difficult to pick one over the other. As others have said, however, creating quantity goals is very important. In order to be successful you have to make readers keep coming back, and that can only happen if you keep producing content. Having a schedule of when to post ensures that you stay relevant and also forces you to sit down and write. While the first draft may not be high quality content, revision can take you there. The hardest part is usually starting!

    • Michael Brenner

      Justin! Thank you. So few people agree with this side of the debate. Of course you have to have quality but it needs to start with a commitment to a schedule.

  • Jason Clegg

    This is the key point: “Deadlines are the greatest source of inspiration.”

    Everyone should follow that rule very closely for best results. We need deadlines to keep us focused on creating content. Quality is something that needs to happen within a deadline timeframe. Deadlines help eliminate procrastination and force us to become better in smaller blocks of time. 🙂

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Jason, it’s amazing how many people disagree with us on that point.

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