After months of research, planning, and writing, I’m delighted to say that my new book with New Riders is now available. This book focuses on starting to evaluate your content—answering that deceptively simple question, “Does your content work?”
Speaking of questions, you might have a few about this book. I’m sharing three key things to know as well as a sample.
This book is different from “Clout” and from many books about research or data analysis. Here’s the scoop.
This book is not a Bible. It’s not an encyclopedia. It’s not a ponderous tomb of every possible permutation of data analysis you could possibly want to do. It’s a concise primer to begin evaluating your content’s effectiveness.
Also, the book is available only in electronic format. That means the cost stays quite reasonable. Instead of having to share one copy of a print book, a team easily can have several electronic copies.
Sometimes, words and numbers are not enough to communicate concepts. So, this book takes a visual approach where it makes sense. Because the design focuses on the ebook format, it works very well with ereaders and incorporates links.
The publisher, New Riders, and I decided to make the book part of their Fuel series. Fuel is a source of energy or even passion. And, I find both energy and passion are essential to overcoming the organizational inertia that prevents content evaluation. It’s much harder to start a fire than to keep a fire going. So, I focused this book on the start. I intend this book to give you (and your teams) enough inspiration and enough process know-how to begin evaluating your content’s effectiveness.
When content is so important to your organization’s success, can you afford not to evaluate it? When you assess whether your content is effective, you avoid risk, save costs, and take advantage of opportunities. Let’s take a closer look at each of these reasons.
When you evaluate your content, you gain understanding of whether the content is effective. If the content is not effective, then you can change your approach. That understanding helps you avoid the risk of wasting time, money, and effort on an approach that doesn’t work or that could be more effective.
For example, a large technology firm invested in creating videos as part of a video strategy. The company did not evaluate the effectiveness of the videos until they created hundreds of videos. When they did evaluate, they found that 10 percent of the videos drove 90 percent of the traffic (number of visits and views). Less could have been more. Had the company evaluated sooner, they could have saved thousands in video production costs.
Avoiding the risk of investing in a content approach that doesn’t work is one way to save costs. Content evaluation can help you save costs and optimize your resources in several other ways:
Reduce churning—spinning on inconclusive conversations about content that waste people’s time and energy—and get buy-in from stakeholders and executives for content changes.
Get more value out of data collection tools your organization already uses, such as analytics, by getting content-focused insights.
Identify effective techniques and lessons learned that you can repeat for similar types of content across your organization—especially handy for large organizations and enterprises.
If your evaluation uncovers a problem that requires deeper follow-up analysis, that analysis becomes more efficient. Instead of exploring a wide range of causes, the analysis will explore a narrow range of possibilities.
Of course, avoiding risk and saving costs help with gaining a competitive advantage. Additionally, when you evaluate your content, you will likely see ways to improve the content as well as some unexpected successes. You can use those insights to your advantage and stay ahead of the competition. For example, IBM found that its digital magazine for midsize businesses, Midsize Insider, was effective at reaching midsize businesses around the world after only three months. So IBM continued to invest in the digital magazine to solidify its position with that market. If IBM did not realize quickly that its magazine was successful, the company could have lost that opportunity.
I’m only scratching the surface of the benefits to evaluating content. You’re smart, so I think you get the idea. By now, you might be wondering, “How do I start enjoying these benefits?” It starts with the right process.
Learn about the process and more from the book, available to order today.
Originally published on the now-archived Content Science blog in February 2014.
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