In 2017, Forrester’s content guru, Ryan Skinner, introduced an important call to action for the content intelligence arena.‍

“Marketers need better intelligence on the performance of their content—what it’s about, how it speaks, how effective it is at accomplishing certain goals, what emotions it calls to mind, etc.” ‍

As he correctly identified, there are two key issues with the current measures of content success.  

First, content success is often evaluated through traffic or page engagement metrics rather than business-driven outcomes like purchase rate, order value and lifetime value. Sure, content cannot perform unless it has an audience but views are merely the means to achieve more meaningful engagement and brand impact. Counting views, in reality, is a superficial measure that could obscure the truth in its entirety.

Second, content success measures vary widely from one channel to another. Metrics to evaluate your efforts for content, email, and paid marketing have few consistent elements. Toward that end, the common practice today is to measure content success vertically within individual channels. However, a more effective way to determine success is by evaluating content horizontally. This translates into identifying top-performing content and using it across channels.  

These two issues, among others, have contributed to significant wastage in the content ecosystem.

Identify Your Highest-Performing Content‍

Beckon reported that 5% of content typically generates 90% of customer engagement. That means 95% of content has little or no impact at all. Hence, having an understanding of your brand’s 5% i.e. your highest-performing content is a critical requirement as you consider scaling your content efforts.  

According to ANA’s Growth & Opportunities in Content Marketing report, most companies are significantly growing their content budgets over the next two years. The study revealed that in the last two years, content marketing spends have shot up by a staggering 73%. It also projects an additional 42% spending hike in the next two years. Considering the growth and potential of content marketing, now more than ever, it's imperative to evaluate your content marketing strategy.

How is Your Work Evaluated?

More recently, Knotch asked a group of well-regarded content leaders how their work was being evaluated: “When you report on measures of success to your C-Suite, how is your work in content evaluated?” Here’s a visual summary of their inputs: 

Engagement and brand health were the top two mentions, with action coming in third. Surprisingly growth and ROI outcomes were barely mentioned. This suggests a major disconnect between content and business outcomes.

We know from the landmark 2020 ANA report that the most frustrating aspects of content marketing are:

 The solution? John von Brachel, Bank of America’s content leader, summed this up wonderfully, “We need to relentlessly look for better models.” 

The Path Forward

 Now is the time to change how we look at our content’s worth. So, what’s a better model for measuring the performance of your content? One that clearly defines the outcomes to be achieved by your content marketing efforts. These outcomes are desired by your audience, brand and business.  

At Knotch, we focus on achieving three main outcomes, which help inform our content strategy. The goals are to:

  • enhance brand
  • increase ROI 
  • build audience

Your content should then be evaluated by how well it achieves these outcomes. More specifically, ask yourself these questions to understand how you need to adapt your current content strategy to meet your unique goals:

Auditing Content

It’s important to set a high standard for newly developed content and to put a conscious effort into re-evaluating previously published pieces. By consistently auditing your content, you can rank it based on these questions. This will help you understand what types of content drive maximum results for you. You can also replicate this process to identify the best performing content categories as well.

Measuring Your Content Beyond Views

To close the loop, there’s more than one way to determine the success of your content efforts. The age-old methods of tracking views and engagement, while important, aren’t enough. 

There’s a real need to lean into understanding how people feel after consuming your content and to assess how your content is contributing to the overall business success.  

With a consistent approach to content measurement, your content intelligence will increase. And with that, you’ll be able to make sound, data-backed decisions that will successfully connect your content to business outcomes.  

The Era of Content Intelligence

The correct implementation of content intelligence can go well beyond benefiting the content or marketing team. These insights can help departments across the organization to achieve their goals. What an exciting opportunity for content and marketing teams to become collaborative leaders who can contribute directly to the organization’s growth!

Most brands today understand the importance of content measurement. If you’d like to learn about the latest advancements in ContentTech, join our conversation with Forrester's Principal Analyst on March 11th at 2pm ET. Register now.