There are two schools of thought when it comes to content marketing and advertising.
The incumbent school of thought says you should focus on quality. Take the time necessary to come up with the best strategy, the most creative idea, the perfect ad.
The challenger school of thought says you should focus on quantity. Move fast to put out as much content as possible. Fill the feed, get lots of feedback, and take a bunch of swings with the hope of hitting a home run.
Both matter. In today’s competitive, cluttered landscape you increasingly need to do both to be successful. You need to win on quality AND quantity not either/or. But most businesses and marketing teams are too focused and over-invested in quality and losing out on the opportunity and returns that quantity can bring.
Look, quality counts (as the saying goes). What you say is ultimately what will (or won’t) change someone’s perception of your brand or behaviour as a consumer. But we as a marketing industry seriously undervalue quantity as a significant factor in the growth of brands and businesses.
Maybe quantity doesn’t matter more, but it also doesn’t matter less. Quantity matters just as much as quality. It’s also where the biggest opportunity lies for most marketing teams because everyone is already focused on quality, but few are focused on producing and distributing the quantity of content needed to be a dominant, challenger brand in today’s world. The harsh truth is you’re likely not producing nearly the volume of content you need to in order to have a meaningful impact.
The corporate and consumer landscape has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. There’s so much more competition for consumers’ eyes and ears, and so many more brands (companies and individuals) vying for the same pools of attention. The days of one or two ‘big idea’ campaigns per year are gone. That’s not the world we live in anymore, at least not for successful challenger brands.
Challenger marketing functions recognise that a high quantity of quality content is needed to maximise growth now.
- Quantity fills the feed. The pipelines of content distribution are wider and more numerous than ever. There are so many channels and so much more opportunity to reach a target audience, but at the same time the shelf-life of content to stay in-feed (in digital) or relevant (in any channel) is shorter than it’s ever been. Brands need much more content to reach and saturate their audience.
- Quantity gives feedback. Good marketing teams deliver results. Great marketing teams deliver results and learnings that help deliver better results next time. Digital channels offer huge advantages for brands that can collect more data and a better understanding of their audience, which only happens when content is put in front of them.
- Quantity gives surprise hits. You never know when something will get shared in a way that changes the game or where the tipping point will be. You can engineer the content as best as possible, but sometimes it comes down to timing, circumstances and algorithms outside of your control. The more swings you take, the more chances you have of hitting a home run.
Quality and quantity are hard to do well together. Most people know what it takes to do quality well (talent, creativity, insight, etc). So in some ways it’s harder, or at least it’s less clear, how to be best-in-class with quantity.
Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started:
Get to good and go. Most of the time, marketing leaders think of their job as pushing their people and teams to come up with the best idea or the perfect execution. Some things need to be perfect, most don’t. The opportunity cost of always pushing for perfection is the time and resource it takes to get something from ‘good enough’ to perfect. Shift your approach to helping ideas and executions get to ‘good enough’ then get them out there to fill the feed, get your team feedback, and who knows, maybe you’ll get a surprise hit you weren’t expecting.
Capture, don’t create. Traditional advertising is a creative process. People try to come up with interesting ideas for new things they can do. While challenger marketing teams certainly have an abundance of creativity, they focus on capturing the things that already exist in and around the business: the stories, ideas, and output of the brand that’s already happening every day. They think more like journalists than artists. You can create a lot more content when you’re capturing things that already exist rather than creating things from scratch.
Build a content factory. One way challengers are able to create so much content week in and week out is by building a mini content factory in their marketing function. Every piece of ‘raw material’ produced doesn’t just get distributed in its original format, it is sent through an asset assembly line to repackage it to fit multiple platforms and strip out as much micro-content from it as possible. A magazine photo shoot gets repurposed into 27 different pieces of content for social; a keynote by the CEO gets repurposed into a PDF for Linkedin, a special edition newsletter, and quote cards for her personal Instagram. The content factory doesn’t create new content, it creates more value from the content that’s being created anyway.
Give those three tips and tricks a try and let us know how you get on. The most important thing to remember is to prioritise quantity as much as quality (or even more so in the short-term if you feel like you’re not close to where you need to be). It can take time to change habits, priorities, and structure — especially for all the perfectionists out there – but small, fast changes will add up over time.