Rare consensus: content quality over quantity
We’ve all heard some version of this old joke: put ten experts in a room and you’ll get eleven different points of view. And, it’s largely true – in part because each human being has his or her own perspective. It’s also true because, in today’s noisy online world, having a different viewpoint can bring you much-wanted attention.
So consensus . . . it really gets our attention.
We’ve noticed strong consensus on one particular issue, and that’s choosing quality over quantity when creating content. What’s interesting is that this consensus is built across disciplines as we’ll demonstrate below.
Let’s hear from HubSpot
Hubspot, a well-known inbound marketing platform, published the following advice (with the bolding appearing in their text): “Don’t dilute your high-quality content with mediocre or low-quality content. The consequence for doing so is the cheapening of your audience’s overall perception of your content and, thus, your brand. And who wants that?” (Content Quantity Diminishes Quality [Research] by Pamela Vaughan)
This isn’t simply Pamela’s – or HubSpot’s – opinion. Instead, it’s a conclusion based on studies that show how “coupling a high quality item with a low quality item diminishes the perception of both items’ overall quality.” This text is also bolded by HubSpot, which shows how important this concept is to the inbound marketing giant.
And, while we’ve known for years that Google holistically discounts sites that contain low quality content, these studies show that the human brain does, as well.
A blunter perspective
Content marketer Cairbre Sugrue from the United Kingdom says the following in his article, Content Spoils Broth: Quality Not Quantity: “Hastily crafted content with weak messages and little meat on the bone will inevitably end up dumped on the waste pile.
“I would go further and say that the content-marketing hype cycle is firmly wallowing in its own ‘trough of disillusionment’, because this obsession with content has clouded the true value of digital engagement. This is driving targeted – and therefore more efficient – engagements with customers that will ultimately increase customer intimacy and drive sales.
“At the heart of a successful strategy must be this focus on quality.”
From a public relations standpoint
Ragini Bhalla, a former journalist, shares the secret to PR success in her article, Don’t Bully Your Content Into Favoring Quantity Over Quality. Her perspective reads as follows: “So what is the secret to PR success? As Henry Ford once said, ‘Quality means doing it right when nobody else is looking.’ In today’s competitive marketplace, a brand’s PR success can live and die by its ability to tell and build its stories through content that is smart, authentic, compelling, useful, informative and engaging.”
In the latter part of 2013, LinkedIn invited influential people to comment on the biggest trend for 2014. Tara Hunt, social digital leader at MSLGROUP, titled her perspective Big Idea 2014: Content Shifts to Quality Over Quantity.
Although it’s somewhat shocking to think that this could be considered a new idea in 2014, we agree wholeheartedly with Tara’s point of view. Part of it reads like this: “From my experience, there is a still a lack of understanding that goes into the creation and production of content…especially content that goes beyond the pushing of ad messaging through various social channels. The questions are too often, ‘How many posts on how many channels will I get for $x?’ and ‘How many fans can you get us?’ Companies are still viewing social media as outbound channels to acquire eyeballs and push messages and, therefore, attaching traditional notions of ROI to it. I look at this and think, ‘This relationship won’t end well.’”
Finally, we want to share what Issie Lapowsky says in Upworthy Gets Smart About Quality Over Quantity: “the insanely fast-growing purveyor of inspiring video content wrote that it was taking a new approach to gauging success, one that’s based not on unique visitors, page views, or time on the site, but user engagement. They’re calling this metric ‘attention minutes.’”
And what captures our attention in a video clip – or in any other form of content – is not how many pieces exist, but the quality of the content that we’re looking at right now.
Question for readers
What do you think? Is there a case to be made that quantity is more important than quality? Or can we finally put this issue to rest? Leave a comment below.