Quality and Quantity

Create something that appears regularly.  

 Create something worthwhile every time. 

It’s the holy grail in a quest to build an audience.

 Yet in business, there’s still a question about which to sacrifice to get the job done. Quantity for quality? Quality for quantity? There’s still a perception that they are two separate targets. 

 Surely an audience expects – deserves – both?

 That’s the goal in journalism 

 Quantity is something a journalist doesn’t think about. They produce story after story, meeting deadline after deadline, every working day (and night and weekend and public holiday) as required. 

 In televisions news, where I came from, you had to quickly master the ability to think fast, type faster and get the words out well before a deadline. Yes, the newsreader was depending on it but just as important, there’s none more scary than a tape editor left with minutes to cut a story because the journalist dithered over word choice. Believe me, it’s something you don’t want to experience.

But – sacrifice quality to get the stories out? 

 Not a chance. There’s someone else you never want to face and that’s a seething news director demanding to know why you put that crap to air. 

Because I was under pressure to meet the deadline?

Utter those words and you’ll be on the road to a new job before you can replace them with, ‘Oh quantity AND quality – I get it now’.

That’s the other reason journalists prioritise both: their reputation depends on it. Get known for focusing on one without the other and you’re done – career over, dreams ended. 

It’s the same for business – an audience is still an audience. 

All audiences have the same basic needs – reliable, relevant and interesting content on a consistent basis. They reward those who tick the boxes and mistrust those who don’t. 

Yet the emphasis still seems to be on providing more quantity without stopping to consider how the quality can be raised too. 

A recent global survey of writing for business, State of Writing 2020, from communications specialists Typeset found that more than half the 238 respondents planned to increase their content output. Yet only 55% think the writing they do now is effective. More quantity without prioritising quality as well. It’s a bit like knowing your garden needs more water but deciding to plant more seeds instead. 

I’m a realist so I’m not saying all journalists achieve the holy grail all the time (plus I once worked for tabloid current affairs so I know how we can be).

But that is the professional expectation and it should be. In news as in marketing, the audience is people – the same people.  

For them, we get it right when we aim right.

Create something that appears regularly 

Create something worthwhile every time. 

Leave a Reply