When I worked in advertising agencies and we created a print ad or any other piece of marketing, it saw many eyes before it went public. It was created by experts, and critiqued, reviewed, and proofread by multiple people inside the agency. After that it went to the client for approval, and only then did it see the light of day.
Fast-forward to today and the Internet Marketing world.
It seems to be all about “good is good enough.” I can’t even count the times I’ve heard the advice: Forget trying to be perfect… just get it out. Even I’ve shared this advice in the past.
Technology has evolved to the point that we now have the capability to create our own graphics. We can write our own copy. We can publish our own books. We can shoot, edit, and post our own videos. We can whip out a blog post or social media update and with the push of a button, publish it for the world to read.
I can’t help but wonder if the ease and speed of self-publishing, in real time, is a good thing, or a bad thing.
Clearly, from a cost and time-to-market perspective, many would consider it a good thing. It saves us the cost of having to hire someone else to do the work for us. We don’t have to wait on another person or their schedule, we can do it immediately ourselves. On the flip side, with all of the creative experts and middlemen removed, it appears that quality control has disappeared, too.
Not that I believe we need to be perfect.
Typos can slip by even the best proofreader. And yes, if the content is good and thought provoking, I believe readers and prospective clients will overlook the occasional error.
I believe the real crisis is more about the quality of the information being put out. How does it reflect on the brand or the reputation we’re aiming to create? Does it look and sound professional? Is it adding value or just taking up space?
Important questions to be sure.
Yet in our quest to gain attention is this over-crowded Internet-based world, I wonder how often we actually step back and ask them.
I think I understand the original mentality behind the “good is good enough” philosophy. For those who become paralyzed trying to perfect their work, and never actually publish, it can move them off the starting blocks and into the game. However, to use it as a license to publish information that could (and should) be better is simply lazy. I would argue we should all have higher standards, for ourselves and for those we follow and seek to learn from.
I was watching a series of videos about how to publish an eBook on Kindle, put out by a million-dollar Internet Marketer. There were typos in the screencast videos. He admitted the eBook he was using as a case study was formatted wrong. That meant the very activity he was teaching people how to do in the video, he didn’t do correctly. And yet, the attitude shared was, it didn’t matter. He messed up the process and people still downloaded and bought the book.
The takeaway appeared to be: Even if you mess up, or don’t do it perfectly, you can still succeed. And I agree there’s a certain logic to that mentality. However, I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone else might be questioning paying for training on a subject that the teacher hasn’t yet mastered? Learning how to be a publisher from someone who appears to value speed-to-market and making money over quality control and proofreading.
Yet, even as I write this, I understand exactly why people are willing to accept this.
Money. This person has made millions. We want to know how to make millions. So we follow, and model those who have, and we tend to overlook the rest. Maybe quality is over-rated and the way to make millions is to churn out content and not worry about the quality. As for me, I’m just not willing to make that trade-off. At least not anymore.
Call me old-fashioned but I believe there is greater value in taking the time to put out quality products and services. And if that’s not possible, then perhaps considering not publishing them at all.
I met an author recently at a local publishers and writers group. He’s had several books published by major publishers, and he’s self-published, too. He shared a story about a book he spent 10 months writing. After being told by the publisher it wasn’t good enough, he threw out everything—10 months of work—and started over. Was that an easy decision? Absolutely not. Was it the right one? I believe so. He found someone qualified to review and give him an honest critique of each new chapter he wrote. And, Harper Collins eventually published the new book.
Where will “Good is Good Enough” lead us?
I can’t help wonder where this “good is good enough” mentality will leave the publishing industry in a few years. I also wonder how it may be affecting the success of businesses. If your website and your marketing materials look homemade, and your writing isn’t well done, how does that support your business? How does it reflect on you as the business owner? Does it make you the kind of person a prospective client is willing to put trust in, and invest money with?
Publishing quality content, or creating a successful business, requires planning. It requires an investment of time and often money. It involves hard work and attention to detail. Just whipping out something quickly and cheaply because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Nor does it mean it’s going to serve you in the long run.
There are many upsides to today’s technology.
It’s cost-efficient. It’s quick. In many ways it has leveled the playing field. Solo professionals on a shoestring budget can now compete with large corporations with big budgets. But will we ultimately end up paying the price for going the quick, cheap, and easy route, with failed businesses, crappy books, and information overload?
I suppose only time will tell.