I often hear them say, “quality over quantity”. In fact, there may have never been a more repeated, cliche phrase to roam the chasms of our mind or exit through the gate of our mouths. However, for me, this is not enough. It promotes an incomplete model of thought that I see used more as an excuse, than as a truthful thesis. Before I continue, I want to stress that just because I question the phrase, does not mean I oppose quality. I just see it’s place in both this phrase and in our lives to be different. Let me explain...
I am guessing there is a healthy portion of this audience who is working toward a goal, doing work that they too want to impress upon other individuals. If you are not interested in spreading of ideas or product at this time, perhaps reading this could be a helpful step towards finding your purpose, and doing something awesome for people to enjoy. Wherever you stand currently, I hope you take something from this.
As a podcaster, I obviously want people to listen to my podcast, my hard work. I want people to take time to listen to the 20 minutes that took me days to make and produce. That just makes sense, right? But thinking like this can be dangerous. You start to measure your quality as a producer and as a person, by the amount of people who consume your content regularly. If your numbers sit low, it can be very easy to become self-conscious about your work. When this happens, it is so easy to become discouraged about making more content, maybe slowing your production down. When production is slowed, and your quantity is minimized, then your quality also suffers. This is the stage when people often tell themselves that they’re making a choice to go “quality over quantity”, when in fact, all they’re doing is excusing an insecurity, and succumbing to fear.
Instead, here’s is what I have done as I continue to grow my podcast...
From the beginning, I made a decision that I was not going to look at my analytics on Squarespace, Instagram, SoundCloud, or iTunes more than once a month. The idea behind this was not to worry about how many people were seeing my work, but instead to just create content. It’s very hard to do. I want so badly to see how many clicks my site has gotten this week, or how many people have listened to Episode 12. But if I want to make it big, if I want my quality to eventually shine through to many, I first have to realize a very real truth about myself. This being that starting out, I am nothing. I haven’t proven anything yet. So I don’t have the right to sit here with a thousand followers on Instagram and claim that I am going “quality over quantity” when I haven’t yet proved that I have any quality?! The key is to produce as much content as possible, of course you should focus on the quality... of course, but focus more on the fact that you are actually DOING, and doing often. Something that one of my biggest role models and mentors, Gary Vaynerchuk says all the time is that your next video, or article, or post, or piece of content could be the one that does it for you. My next podcast could be the one that blows up. The internet is crazy like that. So at this stage in the thought process, quantity is more important than quality.
For all of you that are freaking out right now, or struggling with this truth, keep reading, because quality very much has its place.
While producing a ton of content is key, it is crucial that both your content and you are reflective of your identity-derived purpose. If it is meaningful to you, then it likely is meaningful to someone else. Focus on this innate, underlying meaning, not the shiny lettering in your video, or the proper header on top of your blog. Because this meaning is what makes quality important.
Before continuing I want to change a bit of terminology... I want to change the word “quality” to “depth” in this context. And I want to change what we call “quantity” to “width”.
I believe strongly that the depth of the impact that your content has on others is the greatest accomplishment. This is quality in my eyes. If something I say or produce impacts 1 person deeply, it will stick with them. If it becomes a part of who they are, they are more likely to reflect that onto another person in a similarly deep fashion. Meaning that, while it may be a bit more indirect, 2 people have now benefited, and it will continue to grow in this way because of that depth. I greatly prefer this progression over one that is wider in nature. Just because 100 people view your work, does not mean 100 people benefited or found value in it, meaning that “wide” impact, that quantitative impact is one dimensional and unimportant.
In the end, I just really believe that by mentally expanding the roles quantity, quality, width, and depth, we are in a better position to understand why our work matters, both within ourselves, and to our audience.
I hope from now on, we all begin/continue to create lots of content, while caring about the impact that our work has on the mind and heart of the viewer more than the like button on our YouTube channel.