At Content Science, we find the real value of content for an organization is the content’s ability to achieve goals–in other words, its effectiveness. If content is highly effective with content users, the organization usually sees a positive return on investment (ROI). This makes content effectiveness a strong indicator of ROI and underscores its relevance to your bottom line.
So, is your content effective? If you don’t know the answer, it’s likely your content isn’t as effective as you’d like it to be. The only way to know if your content is effective is by measuring what matters.
What matters in making effective content? In our research, we identified six dimensions of content effectiveness, and these dimensions have held up over the course of collecting data from more than 150,000 people. They are:
When we measure content effectiveness, we are taking these six dimensions into account. The Content Science team developed a tool called ContentWRX Effectiveness to help automate this assessment, from collecting data to creating a content effectiveness score. We also look at:
Many companies collect some or all of these types of data when measuring effectiveness. But the challenge often comes with creating a content intelligence system to efficiently evaluate your content effectiveness so you can quickly take action.
When it comes to measuring effectiveness, where do you start? Here’s what you need to consider in creating your content effectiveness measurement system:
These tasks fit within three broad buckets of work:
Let’s get into how you can approach each of these three buckets to collect effectiveness measurements that are insightful and actionable.
This bucket of work is all about collecting useful data efficiently.
One tool will not collect all of the data. You will need an ecosystem of technology and tools that provide data related to content.
Web analytics are not enough. You also need voice of customer feedback, sentiment data, channel analytics, and more to understand what content is effective and why. As a simple example, the American Cancer Society uses an ecosystem of data collection and analysis tools including Google Analytics, ContentWRX, HotJar, and more.
Collecting data alone is not enough to measure content effectiveness. You need to know what to do with that data. That’s where analysis and interpretation come in. These tasks require a combination of tools, people, and processes. And it begins with asking the right questions.
The right questions come from your business goals and content vision or strategy. The clearer your content vision and your strategy to achieve it is, the easier it will be to define appropriate questions.
Tools can help automate, but humans have to be involved. People need to define priorities for analysis, set up the tools, oversee the implementation and help assess the interpretation. If you and your team and stakeholders are not meeting regularly to review your questions about content and the analysis intended to answer them, you will not be able to gain insight or take action.
If you successfully collect high volumes of content data but never learn or act on the information, you might as well have no content data at all. You need to be able to uncover useful insights and make decisions about your content and much more.
For example, Intel uses a robust set of data about content effectiveness to decide how to streamline its digital presence—in other words, reduce its content bloat. This intelligence has helped the technology giant consolidate in the short term and set a best practice for ongoing digital governance so that such an extreme case of content bloat never happens again.
Understanding content effectiveness is the foundation for other content insights and actions. For example, it’s difficult to calculate a return on your investment in a content product or your return on content assets without understanding how effective your content is.
Having enough content data and analysis to make predictions and decisions takes time. The sooner you implement a content effectiveness measurement system, what we call a system of content intelligence, the sooner you can start predicting the impact of content changes.
How do you answer the question of whether your content works and what to do about it? Without a steady stream of feedback about content from your customers, you can’t.
The lessons learned from assessing whether your content is effective can help you improve your current approach, develop new content ideas, solve problems (content problems and other organizational problems), and much more.
If you’re ready to start measuring content effectiveness, you can use our Content Effectiveness Measurement Worksheets [subscriber access required] and read about how to benchmark your content effectiveness using ContentWRX to connect your content with real results.
Last Updated: August 2, 2022
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