If you’ve ever considered creating something online - whether it’s a blog, a YouTube video, a course, a digital product, whatever - you’ve probably come across this advice:
It doesn’t need to be perfect; just get it out there.
When starting out this is really good advice, because usually your lack of experience (and confidence) often forces you into a choice.
Option A: Your fear of failure causes you to spend an inordinate amount of time polishing and improving your content before considering it “good enough” to publish. This often leads to content never being published at all.
Option B: You accept that no one really cares, the bar for “good enough” is quite low, and it’s more important to just publish it.
A lot of people unfortunately end up choosing option A, which keeps a lot of really good content from ever seeing the light of day.
That’s why the advice of just publishing it is really really important, because when you’re starting out, your content is the only thing that matters.
But what about later?
This is going to be a difficult point to get across because a lot of people will start arguing before I even make it.
The reason the “good enough” advice exists is to help you overcome the initial fear and pressure of publishing content.
But when you’ve been doing it for a while and have more experience, it isn’t as simple.
Yes, your content is still the most important thing. But it’s no longer the only important thing.
Why? Because you’ve gained experience and now your ability to make something more polished has increased.
While you don’t have to create amazingly high end and polished pieces of content, you should at least be putting some effort into it.
Don’t forget why you’re doing this in the first place. You aren’t just creating content for the sake of it; you’re doing it for other people. You’re creating for your audience.
If you’ve been writing blog posts for a while and even make money doing it, yet you still have massive amounts of typos and mistakes, what does that say to your audience?
You might think: “who cares? The content is all they care about. I don’t need to put effort into anything else.”
But… those mistakes get noticed. Your lack of care and attention gets noticed. Especially if it happens over and over again.
If you’re creating for an audience, that means every piece of content is you communicating to that audience.
And if you have the capability to communicate clearly and effectively, but don’t, then you’re making a choice. You're choosing to release content with issues. And that says you don’t respect your audience enough to put in that tiny bit of effort needed to look for mistakes.
And believe me, over time people notice. Their frustration builds. And often this leads to your message (and some of your audience) being lost in the void.
That’s why most successful content creators continually improve as they go.
I mean, just check out the early content of some of your favourite YouTube channels and compare with what they're doing now. Look over the successful and most popular bloggers. Even if the current stuff isn't super high end looking, you'll still see improvement compared to where they started.
As their skills and experience increases, so does the quality of their output.
Mark (real person, fake name) is a content creator. He has a number of paid products, a coaching program, and publishes content via his blog, newsletter, YouTube channel, and podcast. Mark does quite well financially with all this.
But… there are a lot of issues with the stuff Mark puts out. We’re talking MASSIVE amounts of super blatant typos, emails being sent using someone else’s email signature, broken landing pages, products being disappointingly poor and sometimes broken, through to automation fails on social media that don’t ever get fixed, and much more.
Mark isn’t new to this. He’s been creating for a while, and has a team and money behind him. The bar for “good enough” isn’t as low as it is for someone who's totally new to content creation. At this level, you expect at least SOME effort and care is put into making sure there aren’t big mistakes.
It’s a shame, because a lot of Mark’s content is (or at least used to be) “fire emoji” level of good. I just stopped following a long time ago (as did many people I know) because those mistakes and issues started to impact on my perception of his work. If he didn't care enough to give even a basic check the content he's putting out, why should I care enough to read it? Even though the content itself was decent, it bothered me enough to stop reading it.
After all, there are MANY content creators out there. It's very rare that a message is that unique and powerful that you have no other options to consume similar content from.
Of course, not everyone will be bothered by or even notice this, but let's think about what kind of people would? Who are the types of audience members that care about quality? Are they the people you want following you? What would they need as a minimum standard to feel comfortable with you?
And on the flip side, what kinds of audience members don’t care about quality? Are they the people you want following you?
It's important to figure this out, because the content is ultimately for your audience. If they need a certain standard to consume it, you should meet that standard.
Okay, so it’s important for me to clear something up. I’m NOT saying things need to be perfect, or you need to release amazingly designed pieces of content with amazing production value (Note: unless that’s the right approach for your audience and business model). I'm not saying your stuff needs to be fancy (in fact, in many cases that can actually detract from the content itself).
What I’m saying is that when you start out, focus on getting your content published. It only needs to be "good enough" - not perfect. But over time, as you gain experience, what counts as “good enough” is probably going to change. The bar might start low, but as you build an audience and as you gain experience, it gradually goes higher.
You might never need to hire professional designers and editors and have a production team, but you should figure out what the minimum standard needs to be - for both yourself AND your audience - and make sure you're exceeding it.
Show your audience that you respect them enough to care.