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Measure the Value of Your Content

  |  December 23, 2002   |  Comments

What's your content worth? Why use content over other communication channels?

There's a classic saying in management: If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. Measuring content involves an understanding of knowledge and information. It involves seeing content as an asset. It involves clearly articulating objectives you have for your content and comparing how content performs against other forms of communication.

Knowledge is what you know. Knowledge helps your organization achieve its objectives. Information is the process of delivering value through the communication of knowledge. Understanding the amount of value information has delivered involves measuring what new knowledge people have acquired as a result of being informed.

Let's say you have a sales presentation for your product. Your principle objective is to make people more likely to buy your product as a result of the presentation. If after the presentation people are no more likely to buy your product, did you inform?

Yes and no. You might have informed people your product is too expensive, is too complicated, or takes too long to implement. You might also have left people scratching their heads, no more the wiser about your product than before they watched the presentation.

We constantly find people who have knowledge but can't inform. This is a stumbling block to the organization's success. The company possesses quality knowledge but fails to inform in a professional manner. To test if your organization has difficulties here, you need to measure what knowledge your target audience feels it's acquired as a result of your information.

It is not enough to measure how much new knowledge your audience acquired. The critical measure is how more likely people are to act. A simple question you could ask after a presentation is:

How more likely are you to buy Product X after this presentation?
  1. A lot less likely
  2. Less likely
  3. No more likely
  4. More likely
  5. A lot more likely

There are two ways to inform. The sales presentation scenario describes one. This is where someone directly communicates to someone else. It's about talking, waving arms, smiling; it's about human interaction.

What are you doing at this moment? You're reading.

I'm attempting to inform you through content. I will only succeed if, after reading this, you feel you know something you didn't know before you began reading.

The two ways to inform are human-to-human interaction and content. The Web is a channel through which we inform with content. The decision to use the Web to inform should be based on the following criteria:

  • Will it deliver better knowledge?

  • Will it deliver this knowledge more efficiently?

  • Will it deliver this knowledge more cost-effectively?

  • Will it deliver this knowledge faster?

One way you can show the value your Web site delivers is to compare the cost and efficiency of content versus human-to-human interaction. Content tends to deliver more value:

  • The easier it is to turn a piece of knowledge into content

  • The more people who need to be informed

  • The more geographically dispersed these people are

  • The more quickly they need to be informed

  • The more precise and accurate the information needs to be

  • The higher the cost of human-to-human information is compared to content

I'll expand on the above next time.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gerry McGovern Gerry McGovern is a Web consultant and author. His most recent books are Content Critical and The Web Content Style Guide, published by Financial Times Prentice Hall.

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