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Tuesday 2¢: Quantity is not a Quality

If you listen to my podcast, especially the bit in the virtual bar with Robert Rose, we often touch on content teams and how they are measured. This week some thoughts on that.


We lament about how content creators are running around the marketing hamster wheel creating “stuff”, we might refer to the content factory (or sweatshop) or being short-order cooks. How content teams are only measured by how much they produce. 

Yes, there are times when you have to get stuff done, a launch of something, like a website or a product.

But is there a better metric than how many?

In the early days of content marketing, the Daddies of the craft Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi, (mentioning both as I am not sure whom to attribute this to – and much of this blog post is inspired by their wonderful This Old Marketing podcast) – they would ask:

If you completely stop publishing content, will anyone miss it?

A different metric from how much content you create – it’s asking – does anyone care?

And can you prove that?

How about not only would they miss it if it wasn’t there, but is it so helpful would they value it over the content they can get elsewhere for free?

In other words:

Would someone pay for your content?  

And yes, there is a slightly lower bar, but maybe just as important in B2B, would anyone exchange an email address for it? I mean a real one they check and would reply to, not just some burner Gmail address they use for all their junk.

And, as we start to think of our content marketing as valuable, its production like a media centre or even an internal media brand, the next interesting value question is:

Would someone pay for your ability to create content?

If you look around your content publication team, would anyone value their work like a media brand? Could you turn your content marketing team into a profit centre?

I am obliged, as a marketer, to mention Red Bull at this point, but I won’t.

If we then frame this in the context of brands buying media companies, like the often quoted HubSpot buying the Hustle. To turbo-charge their content marketing, brands should look at buying a media publication, its talent and its capability rather than roll their own.

But, of course, brands buying media companies are not just buying a capability to create content, they are buying an organization that thinks, functions and is driven by the way a media brand or a publisher is measured.

They are buying an audience and a function that converts content into subscribers. 

They are not buying the knowledge or capability to create content, for example, Wall Street doesn’t value Netflix by how many movies or TV programs it makes but by the subscribers it can attract.

So…

Why do we value our content marketing teams by the number of items they create? 

We should think like publishers and media companies, the value isn’t the amount of content our team produces, it’s the number of subscribers, followers, downloads, listeners, form fills, etc., that this content creates.

In content marketing, quantity is not a quality.