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 difference in many areas of my professional and personal growth.
When we are willing to take action without judgment of ourselves -- knowing that true learning comes through action -- we build the muscles and perspective that leads to real growth.
It takes quantity of action to reach quality of results.
How do I balance Quantity and Quality?
For example, I think about content in stages.
Stage 1 is any content that is first posted online. Whether I spent 5 minutes or 5 months on something, 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, with these posts it takes me about 1 hour to write and lightly edit. I used to only be able to write a little in an hour... but now with practice, I’m able to write a lot more.)
Stage 2 is looking at my previous Stage 1 pieces, seeing what the audience likes, and then spending more time editing them, and then and re-publishing / redistributing them.
In other words, I spend time improving the pieces that already have potential. I let the audience tell me what “Quality” means… not my own judgments.
As an example, this very blog post was written 1 year ago, and now I'm taking the effort to try to improve it, and to share this new version.
I’ve learned over the past 10 years as a marketer to be “agnostic” about what’s going to work in the market -- Just put stuff out there, and let my audience tell me what works.
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 (they are an organized collection of my blog posts) and my courses.
Think of it like a Buffet:
The owner of a buffet restaurant notices which of the many items gets more traffic, 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 successful.
You can do the same thing with your content, with your products, and the work you do with your clients: 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 so much content that I’m putting out there?”
Again, it's like a buffet -- you're not expected to eat every single item!
Similarly, I’m not expecting my audience to consume all of my content. That would be putting too much pressure on them, and on me. It’s my job to put content out there, and it’s my audience’s job to pick and choose what they like to consume.
You'll notice that most of your audience will only consume the pieces that are popular (that have the most “likes” or comments.) It may be all they need to satisfy them for now. When they have time, they will try out 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.)
As a result, we are giving ourselves more opportunity to learn about our audience and what they really want. By publishing more, you learn more quickly about their tastes.
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, you give yourself 52 opportunities a year, more ways for you to grow. Your audience has more options to choose from (think of the buffet.)
And, you won’t be heartbroken if some of your content doesn't resonate, versus sharing only a few pieces and having some of them rejected.
By focusing on quantity, you are giving yourself more experiments in how to express yourself. You expand your horizons more quickly.
With every piece of content you create, you are also developing a more empowered self-identity. You start seeing of yourself as a creator, rather than just a consumer.
You're *already* applying this principle without knowing it...
No matter the speed of which you put content out there, you are, by default, 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 learn more through experience than by consuming content.
Real learning happens through our action. 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
There’s no such thing as “Quality” anyway.
How do you define what Quality is?
How much do you need to “like” it before it’s called Quality?
How much do you need to be 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 truly be measured, and therefore, planned for:
All of these things are Quantity… but they point to Quality, don’t you see?
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 an illusion, 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’s miraculous.
So don’t try to "do it right."
Do it quickly so you can work on the next version.
I’m both lenient and strict: I’m lenient with myself when it comes to Quality. I don’t judge.
However, I’m strict with myself when it comes to Quantity. I make sure I stay to my schedule of publishing posts, promoting a monthly online course, and connecting with a certain number of referral partners.
Yet, there is never a need for self-blame or self-punishment.
I’m always gentle with myself if I don’t meet my strict goals. I try to look at my process and see what I can improve, and how to stay true to the principle of Quantity. Maybe I have to lower my goals for the moment, and that's ok. I am always aiming to get better.
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 for 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.” ~Meister Eckhart
“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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