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  • Steven Wilson-Beales

Colleen Jones on “Essentials for Evaluating your Client’s Content”

Gather Content organized a great webinar today with Clout author Colleen Jones. Here are my notes from the session:

  1. This webinar took from her forthcoming book ‘Does your Client’s Content Work’ due for release in 2014

  2. It’s all about how to evaluate if your content is meeting your goals,  having the right impact and affecting operational efficiency. Doing all this in a systematic way.

  3. The book will be featuring a new tool called ‘Content Works’ which will help content strategists in their efforts to optimise sites. Sounds interesting…

  4. Colleen described content evaluation by what it is not – it’s not a ‘one time thing’ not a ‘clinical trial’, not a ‘data dump thing’. It’s not the same for every organization and it is not a content audit.

  5. She then discussed the differences between content strategy and content evaluation as below:

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  1. She argued that content data is often too fragmented, too general or too custom and haphazard to be able to compare with competitors. It also said it takes time and resource

  2. The graphs below show when to introduce evaluations in the product lifecycle:

Then Colleen spoke about the content evaluation process…


  1. 1. Ask the questions first, then get the data. Don’t drown yourself in data. Ask the right questions  – and these will come from your content strategy that should be in-line with the overall business strategy.

  2. When evaluating you might look at different dimensions like marketing, sales, support – it all has an impact on your analysis. Strive to make your approach systematic. 

  3. 2. Collect. Content Strategists often struggle to answer what might be considered ‘simple’ questions from the business owners – like measuring the impact of the content that’s been deployed. There needs to be an ongoing process of data collection.

  4. 3.  Analyze. Develop an ‘analysis competency’ – work closely with your business analyst – either add them to your team or create a process so you can get to the data you want effectively…

  5. 4. Interpret. So what do these answers mean? Turn your content into content intelligence – you need to interpret your data. There’s a great opportunity for analysts to work together with content strategists in data heaven!

  6. 5. Act. If you don’t do something with what you find then your content intelligence, you might as well not have it. Your content intelligence should help you to – Confirm your approach (do more of the same) or it might lead you to adjust your approach to content. Or,  there may be a need to study further. You might need to spend more time delving into the issue or opportunity that you’ve found.

  7. Whatever you do – track and communicate your content intelligence over time and across silos. Everyone should have a stake in it.

  8. When it comes to communicating your evaluation – don’t drown people in data – follow basic communication best practices.

  9. On communicating with executives: educate executives beyond satisfaction. Focus on telling a story of content impact on goals. Include enough details to support the story but no more. Report regularly so it stays on the executive radar. Invite questions and feedback.

In summary:

  1. Content evaluation is essential

  2. Don’t drown in data

  3. Establish a process for data collection

  4. Include stakeholders in your content evaluation journey.

On uniting stakeholders: You can reconcile competing stakeholder goals by clarifying what the content objectives are and how they align with overall business goals. Include data where you can (but not too much!). Often resistance happens because people are stressed/concerned because of tight deadlines. Just make sure you reveal your insights are in-line with the overall business goals.

On sentiment analysis: This is important if you want to analyze if you’ve had an impact on people’s perceptions of your brand, and also address specific customer service issues. Sentiment analysis is never an exact science…

On stories to tell executives: it depends on what the content evaluation results are but could be one of progress or opportunity (we’ve spotted these issues but this is what we can about it). Could tie these into overall narrative of business goals.

Colleen doesn’t do content evaluations when pitching for new work. Instead she/her company may do some form of high level content audit. Her goal would be to find out if the client’s perception of their content matches reality. “Without knowing the strategy, it’s difficult to do the evaluation.”

On speaking to content creators about the evaluation: Show what goals were hit or missed to show the creators the impact of their work. Include more details than you would to executives. Show where there might be opportunities to apply great work or methods to other areas. Make sure the content creators are talking about those learnings  – your insights should never be buried in some buried pdf.

On encouraging clients to get involved with content strategy: “The more specific the more terrific”  – make your content strategy relevant. Content strategy needs to relate with what the client is trying to achieve. Use ’emotion’  – especially when a company is focusing on brand connecting with people’s lives. Speak about conversions and sales if relevant. Then you can move to best practice (read Clout for some great examples of these). You need to show examples of how other businesses (and competitors) have benefited from content strategy.

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