Quality vs Quantity: The Problem in Content Creation

Quality or quantity?

Surely, quality should be the focus of content creation. Long, in-depth, high-quality posts impress our audience and keep visitors coming back. Not to mention, they drive lasting value through ongoing search engine traffic well after the publish date. Clearly, content quality is what’s important.

But, then again, you do need quantity. How can you hope to stay top of mind if your posts are infrequent? Audiences don’t have any incentive to return to your site if there’s no new material. Plus, with a variety of shorter posts, you’re able to better cover full range of topics that appeals to your audience. Maybe, quantity is really more important after all.

There are no shortage of posts debating the importance of one aspect of content creation over the other. Both provide important elements to a successfully overall strategy. There’s no obvious answer as to which should be prioritized over the other.

But that’s not the real issue…


The Real Problem

The real problem in content creation is the approach of quality vs quantity, rather than quality and quantity.

Putting the word “vs” between quality and quantity implies the two are directly opposed. While it’s certainly plausible that one could create higher quality content by making less of it (or vice versa), it’s only one of several ways to achieve such a result.

Pairing the two up like this implies that there’s a mandatory tradeoff between quality and quantity. It’s certainly possible to have a large quantity of high-quality content if given enough resources. Efficient creation – repurposing, overhauling dated assets, curation, etc. – can all help to improve quality and quantity of content.

Moreover, even when choosing to trade content quality for quantity, the relationship between the two is far from one-to-one. It’s not as if doing on less blog post per week would allow you to make all the others 5% better. Depending on the circumstances, this type of change could be anything from inconsequential to groundbreaking.


A Better Approach

Alright, so we’ve thrown out the idea of content quality vs quantity. What replaces it? What’s the best way to allocate limited content creation resources?

In Economics, there’s a concept called the law of diminishing returns. It refers to a point where investment in a particular factor of a process (assuming all other factors remain the same) yields proportionately smaller gains. Eventually, there will even come a point where additional investment will actually yield losses rather than gains.

As it turns out, this concept also has applications in content creation. With other factors remaining the same, continued investment in both content quality and content quantity will be subject to diminishing returns. There comes a point where your audience simply doesn’t have the time or attention to consume more blog posts, for example.

When is the right time to stop, then? Author Tim Ferris has a concept called minimum effective dose (MED). He defines it as, “the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.” The idea is to use your goals to determine the MED for each aspect of your content creation efforts.

This video from Salma Jafri does a great job explaining the concept.



Obviously, the key making all this work is to find your MEDs. Testing is your best tool for this. You’ll want to dedicate some time to each aspect. Dial it up and scale it back. See how it impacts your outcomes. This will paint a clear picture of the investments you need to meet your goals.


Wrapping Things Up

Quality and quantity aren’t alternatives. They’re two aspects of a content creation strategy. Depending on the company and the audience, emphasizing one more the other could be appropriate. This all depends on your audience and the minimum effective dose for each concept.



Let us know what you think:

  • What are your thoughts on content quality vs quantity?
  • How do you approach content creation?
  • How would determine your MEDs?



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Comments (0)

Fantastic Article, Matt. This is exactly how I think about it.

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