How do I make great content? By making more content.
How do I improve my skills? By working with more clients.
How do I find ideal referral partners? By reaching out to more referral partners.
This principle of Quality through Quantity has made a significant difference in my business.
When we are willing to take action without judgment of ourselves -- knowing that true learning comes through action -- we build the muscles and the experience that leads to true growth.
It takes quantity of action to develop quality of results.
How do I balance Quantity and Quality?
As an example, I think about content in stages.
Stage 1 is any content that is first posted online. Whether I spent 5 minutes on ti, or 5 months, it is still Stage 1 if it’s the first time I’m posting it.
Therefore, I spend as little time on Stage 1 content as possible.
In practice, it takes me about 1 hour to write and lightly edit these blog posts. I used to be much slower, writing only a few paragraphs in an hour. With practice, I am now able to write more, and better, in that same hour.
Stage 2 is looking at my previous Stage 1 pieces, selecting what the audience liked the most, and spending more time editing those better pieces. Then, re-publishing / redistributing them.
In other words, I spend time improving the pieces that already display potential, based on my audience's reactions. I let the audience tell me what “Quality” means… not my own self-judgments.
As an example, this very blog post was first written 1 year ago, and now I'm taking the effort to improve it and to re-share this new version.
I’ve learned over the past 10 years as a marketer to be “agnostic” re: what’s going to work in the market. I've learned to just put stuff out there, and let my audience tell me what works, so that I can know what direction to further develop.
Stage 3 is to integrate and monetize the Stage 2 pieces that fit within a particular topic or framework.
For example, I do this with my books, each of which is an organized collection of my blog posts. And I do the same kind of thing with my courses.
Think of it like a Buffet:
The owner of a buffet restaurant notices which of the many items gets more interest, and which items are ignored. Over time, he'll increase the types of items people love most, and remove the ones that people don't care for.
By doing this, the restaurant becomes more and more popular.
You can do the same thing with your own content, with your products, and the work that you do with your clients: For each of these spheres, aim to try lots of things, and then notice what people find most helpful, and then offer more things like that.
“How does my audience have time to consume all the content that I’m putting out there?”
Let's go back to the buffet analogy -- the owner of the restaurant doesn't expect any one visitor to eat every single item!
Similarly, I’m not expecting any one of you to consume all of my content. That would be putting too much pressure on you, and on me! It's my job to simply put content out there, and it’s my audience’s job to pick and choose what they like to consume.
You will also notice that most of your audience will only consume the pieces that are popular (that have the most “likes” or comments.) When they have time or interest, they might try out a few other pieces of content. But it’s like the buffet: it’s all optional.
The Importance of More Options:
By putting out more content, we give our audience more chances to tell us what they like and don’t like . If they don't resonate with something, they'll simply stay silent.
This way, we are giving ourselves more opportunity to learn about our audience and what they really want. By publishing more, you learn more quickly, more deeply, about their preferences and needs.
If you only create one piece of content a month, you only have 12 annual opportunities for this kind of learning.
If however you publish 1 piece per week, then you give yourself 52 opportunities a year! That's more opportunity for you to learn and grow. And, your audience is given more options to choose from... like a buffet.
And, you won’t be heartbroken if some of your content doesn't resonate, just like the buffet owner doesn't get sad that some people don't like a certain dish. But if you had only shared a few pieces, having some or all of them rejected is relatively more painful!
By focusing on quantity, you give yourself more experiments in self-expression.
You expand your horizons more quickly.
Also, with every piece of content you create, you are developing a more empowered self-identity. You start seeing of yourself as a creator, not just a consumer.
Guess what? You're already applying this principle without knowing it...
No matter the speed of which you put content out there, you are already learning through Quantity...
Do you only contact 1 potential client or referral partner a month? Then you only give yourself 1 opportunity per month to learn. Do you instead make 3 contacts a week? You will learn, much more quickly, what it means to contact people in an effective way.
Truly, we all learn more through our own actions and experience, than by just consuming other people's content.
Real learning happens when you do something. You are always applying “quality through quantity”… the only question is, how quickly are you growing?
By shortening the cycle and producing more, you learn and grow faster.
“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” — Emerson
By the way, there’s no such thing as “Quality”.
How do you even define what Quality is?
How much do you need to “like” it before it’s called Quality?
How deeply do you need to feel OK with something before you put it out there?
If you use this mushy metric of “quality”, you are only strengthening your self-judgment. You’ll end up having a very hard time putting things out there.
Make a decision today to stop judging your own content.
Switch your mindset to Quantity. That is what can be measured, and therefore, planned for:
All of these things are Quantity… but the process helps you develop Quality.
You cannot get to Quality except through Quantity.
Where people get stuck: “I’ve got to do it right the first time.”
“I’ve got to make a good first impression.”
The first video I create... the first website I put out there... the first online course I release… the first book I publish… has to be Quality.
This the worst thought for growth: “I’ve got to get my ducks in a row first…”
Well, you’re stuck in a vicious cycle of hesitation, self-judgment, not-enoughness, and procrastination.
It is impossible to define Quality. We can only define and decide on Quantity.
Therefore, focus on Quantity — e.g. how many pieces of content you create, how many people you contact — and over time, Quality will take care of itself. It will feel miraculous to you.
So don’t try to "do it right."
Do it quickly so you can work on the next version.
You can apply the Quality through Quantity principle to just about any part of your business:
— Content creation (articles, videos, images, webinars, courses, books.)
— Reaching out to potential referral partners (you get better the more you do it.)
— Your client sessions (you’ll improve as you do more of them.)
— Your products and programs (they get better as you launch more.)
“The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.”
“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.” ~Brian Tracy
“Done is better than good.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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