Content Science has launched the ContentWRX Index, the first ever index of content effectiveness. I’ve been waiting for more than a year for this day. (That’s a long time in Internet years.) So many people have put in so much work to make this happen. I can’t adequately convey my excitement about finally offering the ContentWRX Index as a resource to advance content practice.
For each ContentWRX Index, we’re publishing an infographic, an article, and an in-depth report here at Content Science Review. (You can see the first in the series, Nonprofit, here.) So, I thought I’d take some time to explain what this index is all about.
I noticed that our professional world offers indices for customer satisfaction, for digital, for trust, for global technology adoption, and much more. I’m only scratching the surface. When we care about the performance of a function or direction of a trend, we tend to create an index to monitor that performance. It should be no different for content. So, I thought, how can we say content has business value if we can’t monitor its impact in some way? How can we ask our organizations to invest thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars in changing their content approach and, yet, not be bothered to assess the collective current state of content? It’s time to put our money, our effort, and our science where our mouth is. Enter the ContentWRX Index.
At Content Science, we find the real value of content for an organization is its ability to achieve goals–its effectiveness. If content is highly effective with content users, then usually it brings a return on investment (ROI). Content effectiveness is a strong indicator of ROI.
Also, compared to evaluating content ROI alone, I find assessing effectiveness leads to better overall content intelligence for an organization, which brings more repeatable value. The lessons learned from assessing whether your content is effective can help you with improving your current approach, developing new content ideas, solving problems (content problems and other organizational problems), and much more.
So, we thought, if assessing content effectiveness at the organizational level is so useful, wouldn’t assessing content effectiveness at the industry level be even more so? Wouldn’t it be exciting to improve our collective content intelligence and, as a result, advance content practice?
(All that doesn’t mean content ROI isn’t important…I talk often about ROI …but ROI is more useful to focus on at an organizational level, not an index level.)
The ContentWRX Index benefits you in many ways. Here are a few immediate ones.
The index uses our ContentWRX software platform to measure the effectiveness of a representative sample of content from industry websites in six dimensions including: Discovery / Findability, Accuracy, Polish, Relevancy, Usefulness, and Influence.
We apply an algorithm to generate an overall score of effectiveness for the industry as well as each website. We then conduct detailed analysis within each dimension to identify what’s working well and what the possible opportunities to improve are.
Public Website Focus
Our ContentWRX platform can evaluate a variety of digital experiences. However, for the index, we focus on content available on organization websites, not mobile applications, social channels, or email, because
In deciding on sample size for the index, we balanced two key considerations: the level of confidence in the data and the feasibility of both collecting and analyzing the data in a timely way. In other words, we tried to narrow the sample size to the smallest number possible and still get valid, useful results.
Data Collection Method
For each industry, we select a task pertinent to the content, recruit users remotely to accomplish the task, and then ask users to complete a survey of questions addressing the six dimensions of content effectiveness. The survey questions went through a series of validation testing with more than 1600 users as part of our Content + Credibility Study. That means we validated that the questions measure what we intended. Users understand the questions and provide answers that make sense.
Content Type Selection
A website is comprised of content that serves many different purposes. Of course, it’s not possible to evaluate all of that content for each website for our index. So, we choose a specific type of content to focus on within each industry. For example, for our ContentWRX Index: Nonprofit, we focused on thought leadership content, or what we call Expertise. Here are the most common content types we assess for public websites, and we choose the most appropriate one for the industry.
|Expertise||Thought leadership, advice, and similar content||Blog, digital magazine, or whitepaper providing insights or tips|
|Sales||Content explaining options, products, or offerings leading to a sale||Product descriptions, solution descriptions|
|Support||Content instructing users in technical processes, troubleshoot problems, or get answers to technical questions||Support knowledge base, instruction manual|
|Service||Content helping users understand policies, manage their accounts, return or exchange products, and more||Return and exchange policies, account profiles|
(Note that our methodology for the ContentWRX Index is based on but different from our ContentWRX platform. See How Does the ContentWRX Index Differ from the Platform?)
We conducted an iterative analysis. This is cool, so I’m going to walk you through the main steps. (I love the power of science.)
We selected +/- 16% because, similar to quantitative usability testing, we find that margin allows us to obtain a wealth of useful insight for the index in a cost-effective way. And, as Nielsen notes, at least 90% of the time the results will not fall in the margin of error. That’s more than reasonable for a non-academic effort.
The ContentWRX Index will span a variety of industries, including but not limited to these.
|Industry||First Year Availability|
|Nonprofit (Cause-Based)||July 2015|
|IT Services and Software||August 2015|
|News + Media||May 2016|
|Financial Services||November 2016|
For each industry, we will conduct the analysis and publish the results annually.
For each industry, we will publish:
Yes, if you register with or subscribe to Content Science Review, you will:
There’s so much you can do to advance the ContentWRX Index and, as a result, content practice. The easiest and quickest way is to help us raise awareness of the index.
Another way you can advance the cause is to sponsor a ContentWRX Index study – see the next question below. And, still another way you can help is to let us know what you think about the in-depth reports so we can improve them.
There are many possibilities for applying the ContentWRX Index approach. We can work with you in one of three ways.
Contact us to learn more and discuss the best approach.
The ContentWRX Index is a study methodology using the ContentWRX software platform. So, the ContentWRX platform offers a range of options for studying content. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences.
|ContentWRX Index||ContentWRX Platform|
|User Sample Size||12 Per Website / 120 Per Index||Up to 1000 Per Month|
|Data Collected||Survey Responses||Survey Responses
|Scope of Discovery Dimension||On-Site Findability|
Whether users can find content within the site using navigation or search
Off-Site Findability, such as
● Visibility in search engines
● Social mentions
● Referrals by experts or colleagues
|Types of Digital Experiences||Public Websites||Public Websites
Websites Requiring Log-In
So, there you have the nitty gritty of the ContentWRX Index. I’m excited about the lessons we’ve learned so far, and I have no doubt the index will help us all become even more intelligent about content in the future.
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