Treat every piece of content—every tweet, every Facebook post, every CTA, every press outreach email—with the utmost care. There needs to be a bit of an internal struggle when we hit send or publish, if we don’t feel it, I don’t think it’ll be good enough.

This shouldn’t be confused with perfectionism, we want to push things out with consistency and without lingering.

This is about self-discipline to go through that struggle—even if it’s felt ever so slightly—every single time.

We don’t want to become churners – that churn out posts, or tweets, or what have you.

Every single piece of content is the only one that matters.

We give it all of our attention. We want to make it excellent, and we have a slight feeling of vulnerability and discomfort when we get it out because we think it might be too edgy or that it might fail. That is, however, what also creates the volatility of the piece, the opportunity for it to rise above everything else we’ve written so far and stand out and attract everyone’s attention.

Sometimes we think that just putting out a consistent number of things will just create some outliers that’ll help us win. Heck, I even believed this for a long time and advised people to just focus on quantity. I don’t think that’s true anymore. Yes, we need to output things at high quantity, but we need to treat every single piece of output as the one that’ll be a breakout hit.

Every single piece, we have to feel like “this is going to be the one.” Not all in the same way, but all in their own unique way of redefining excellence for their own area. And then, only some of them will be the true breakout hits and most of them won’t. But that’ll be the only way for us to truly create a space of excellence.

I think this is the approach we want to take and possibly we’ve fallen off it slightly reading some comments of how people feel about what we produce. It will require a lot of inward reflection and learning, and it won’t always feel great as we go through that struggle. I do think it’ll help us create something we’re truly proud of, where we can say: “Yes, writing this wasn’t easy, and I doubted myself a few times along the way. I then published it with slight discomfort, but I felt it was the right thing to do. Now seeing the results makes me happy.” Or maybe it’ll be a disappointment, but the self-discipline for being uncomfortable has to be there.

(This was originally shared as an Evernote note to the Buffer marketing team following the great discussion in a recent post on the blog.)  

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Written by Leo Widrich

Co-founder and COO at Buffer. I enjoy working on company culture, customer development and marketing. For more personal posts, check out leostartsup.

  • Hey Leo,

    Wow man, it is just beautiful what you said.

    I had a true respect for how buffer helped me to keep relevance and constancy, but I am happy that we are in the same line about content.

    “Every single piece, we have to feel like “this is going to be the one.” Not all in the same way, but all in their own unique way of redefining excellence for their own area.”

    That is it!

    You can see from miles away when a shared content is a will that break through the inertia of fear. And every single time it happens, no matter if how great it is, it is humanly beautiful.

    You can see it among 10,000 automatic posts.

    I agree, you have to say in quantity, you have to keep talking, but it must be SINCERE.
    It should not exist another possibility.

    Only by being sincere the reality will shape us to a better version of ourselves.

    Thank you and respect.

  • As always, an authentic and heart felt post. Great job.

  • I’ll have to think about this. I admire the sentiment but don’t know what this looks like in the practical workworld of the daily hurricane. I’m not sure I have the capacity to struggle over every tweet : ) I do wish you the best and look forward to seeing how it goes.

    • Thanks so much for the support, Mark! Would love to hear if any other thoughts come up for you on this. 🙂

  • Dustin J. Verburg

    As Mark said, I’m not 100% sure how this functions either. But I love the idea. What are words without thought, value and heart? Why would you put time and effort into something you don’t care about? You have to spend the time and effort anyway, so you might as well do something interesting with that time.

    I really don’t know how it works, but this is something to think about. That critical thinking itself might be the key to feeling that touch of nervousness before you hit the “publish” button.

    • Thanks for this thought, Dustin! I’ve personally found myself sometimes creating content to fit a publishing schedule, which doesn’t always feel right. I know I can improve a lot in making sure everything we publish is the absolute best we can do (with less emphasis on the timing)

      • Dustin J. Verburg

        Keeping a super tight schedule vs. producing something I’m proud of is the eternal struggle for me, Kevan. I’m getting better at it, though, and the balancing act is finally starting to feel more natural.

  • Matt Aunger

    “Every single piece of content is the only one that matters.” Wow! That’s a powerful sentiment, and I can’t wait to see how this works in action. To be honest, it feels a lot like a breath of fresh air. Does this mean less research and maybe some more opinion, and emotion coming from the Buffer ranks?

    • Thanks, Matt! Great point, I’m not sure yet what direction it’ll take – would love to hear how the next few weeks feel for you in terms of the content that comes out!

  • Lisa Jordie

    Leo ~ My week is fantastic, thank you, and I hope everyone at Buffer is having a great week, as well (like, even better then Henry the cat’s week is going as I just saw on Buffer’s Instagram). The Social Media topical post from last week was excellent and honest. I’m genuinely happy Buffer was able to get so much incredible feedback, too. The entire experience with bravely posting it to receiving fresh ideas was very fun to watch. Thank you to your team for sharing that. I love the attitude of ‘Could it fail?’, mentioned in this post, but doing it anyway (in the original post) – This is incredibly brave and it doesn’t surprise me Buffer is trying it out. Good luck to the team!

  • This post resonated so much. It’s easy to become a churner. I did this on Snapchat recently as I was not in love with the platform but felt I needed to post on it. My approach to Instagram is definitely what you espouse and it’s reaped rewards. Blogging had also fallen off the rails a bit as I was thinking too much about what I ought to be posting. In the end I wrote some articles that were pretty off topic or niche but I felt good about – and they received a fantastic response. They fell firmly into this camp: “Yes, writing this wasn’t easy, and I doubted myself a few times along
    the way. I then published it with slight discomfort, but I felt it was
    the right thing to do. Now seeing the results makes me happy.” Brilliant job guys. Love your integrity.

    • joinstsk

      done buffer < my mother in-law recently purchased a new yellow Mitsubishi Outlander Sport just by some part time working online with a computer. look at here now Full Detail Here

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience! Really awesome to know you’ve seen success with this approach. 🙂

  • “… but I felt it was the right thing to do.” Yes. Remaining true and tuned into our own unique values as a human – when doing the work. Doing this regardless of public opinion, and an inner pressure to conform/perform. This manifesto resonates, and leaves much room to ponder as I translate it to the spaces where I press “publish”. I appreciate your insights.

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Lori! That line stuck with me also, love the emphasis on doing what’s right (even if it’s scary)

  • Hi Harald! Yes indeed! Super motivating for us here. 🙂

  • Finola Howard

    Bravo Guys – I love it and I’m with you on it!

  • Meredith Gould

    As ever, I continue to be wowed and inspired by the smarts, passion, and vision of the Buffer team. I’m an early adopter (also a sociologist and digital strategist) who has been watching all your iterations with great interest and delight. What makes your great stuff even greater is your ability and willingness to share your process. Thank you!

    • Thanks so much for the support, Meredith!

  • One of my favorite blog posts to date…shared it!

    • Woohoo! Thanks, Janet!

  • Rahul

    A very nice blog..
    keep posting..

    http://www.iipacademy.com/

  • Victoria Wallace

    Awesome to see you refocus on that.
    When I applied to Buffer a while back, it was the personalities and shiny individuality that you guys demonstrated that drew me in…..I’ve kept a solid eyeball on Buffer since and I have noted that it was dangerously swaying towards ‘churning’ and a lot less personality shone through your work. Thanks for catching it & acknowledging it!

    • Hi Victoria! Thank you so much for sharing this. So glad to know how these changes have felt to you and that we’re headed back toward the right track. 🙂 Would love to continue to hear how this evolution feels from your side!

  • Sylvia

    Leo, great thoughts on keeping standards high but most importantly the attitude and motivation behind creating content! Just curious to hear what would define a “breakout hit” for you? Happy almost Halloween!

  • Love it! I must print this or something and carry with me everywhere I go.

  • This is very wise! Quantity doesn’t equal quality and people appreciate quality much more than quantity. I really like using BufferApp, so I hope and wish your business goes from better to better so we can continue benefit from it.

  • Invictus Foundation

    My week has been challenging. I am intrigued by this post. Its a balance between putting out the right quantity I feel and as you said quality. I don’t know that I think of every post as the one. I just need to keep being creative ans see if i hit a nerve. I would like to see from Buffer’s point of view how to really effect people emotional with content.

  • Mariah Menendez

    This post really sparked something in me! I realize now after reading this that I need to elicit these same feelings from personal content as much as I do when hitting publish on a clients site. Often times I don’t add a personal connection into the clients piece, but what a disservice.

    “Every single piece, we have to feel like “this is going to be the one.” I need to carry that same attitude into something less than exciting like the plumbing industry, or pest control. I can admit I’ve been guilty of simply churning out that content to check off my to-do list.

    This is why this piece is great. There may not be an actionable takeaway but sometimes you need to read a motivational piece, or a pep talk, to refocus your attention back to what truly matters.

    Thanks for the motivation.

  • Victoria

    This is beautifully written. It clearly gets to the center of why we love the content that we love, it’s vulnerable, honest, it reaches out to us, and is written with care. Thanks for putting this idea out there. It’s well said. As I read your words, I experienced the feeling you described. I reflected on when I’ve felt on this edge with a piece of writing. Hitting that send or publish button should be “an internal struggle”; that feeling is a real indication of connection to the work. When we feel connected to the work we produce, it comes across to others. By being compelled to communicate an idea, and by pouring ourselves into that process, we are better able to create compelling pieces. Keep up the great, inspiring work Buffer!

  • mimranyameen

    Good share once again.

  • Jenn Maffeo

    Great manifesto Leo. I think you’re being hard on yourself and Buffer though. I personally found great value in signing in and seeing the content vetted there. I enjoyed a lot of the articles I may not have seen otherwise. Knowing it would reflect on me, I did read every piece before sending it out on my own account and added my own response and hashtags. I wish you the best in the search and look forward to hearing what’s next for Buffer.

  • Ana Norris

    Hi Leo,

    I really liked your post, I have just started following buffer social and while most articles have very interesting topics, I find that most of them are a little too long and I my attention is lost. Your post did not only catch my attention but it also gave me the

  • Ana Norris

    Hi Leo,

    I really liked your post, I have just started following buffer social and while most articles have very interesting topics, I find that most of them are a little too long and my attention is lost. Your post did not only catch my attention but it had great candid advice and was short, sweet and to the point!! Thank you 😉

  • Good one. We’re just real. Content is key, but if people don’t know your personality and everyone is melding into the same safe place on social media, then what is the use of being on social media?