High-quality content is somewhat subjective. What is “good” or “bad”? It is different to different people. This is something every brand struggles with. What is “good” to one person is “bad” to another on your team.
One of the challenges is the language we use to talk about content quality. We use a lot of very subjective words. Some common ones are relevant, compelling, engaging, remarkable. These are the words most often used to describe “what kind of content your brand should be producing.”
Of course those things hold different meanings to different people, but the only people who really matter are the people in your audience.
What do metrics tell us about the quality of our content? To help your team and its stakeholders translate from subjective human analysis to empirical metric analysis, find out what the words they are using really mean – what is their literal definition.
Then find a metric equivalent. Here’s an example of how to translate subjective descriptions of content quality to empirical measurements:
Relevant – reach metrics. The audience has made a decision to view the content. It is relevant to them.
Compelling – conversion metrics. The audience was compelled to take the action we want.
Engaging – engagement metrics. The audience has displayed an action that indicates they have experienced the content.
Remarkable – amplification metrics. Literally, the audience remarked to someone else about the content.
In addition to all the care you take to measure the success of your content and your audience’s reaction to it, many other companies are doing the same. They are measuring your content, and the audience, and making decisions for the end user about whether or not your content will be relevant and engaging to them.
In fact, almost every digital platform has an associated algorithm or filtering methodology that makes decisions for the user about what content they get, and what content they don’t get. This is why the practice of search engine optimization became so popular.
It was the most obvious of all the algorithms. But today, “search” happens everywhere, in different ways but with the same outcome – a curated presentation of content that is most relevant to the end user, usually on an individual basis.
We are talking about algorithms and filters, the gate keepers that exist between your content and your audience. The most common one everyone thinks about is the Google algorithm and other algorithms from search engines. These are just the tip of the spear in the war for audience.
While they use different signals, algorithms determine what content is going to be displayed to your users and are employed in lots of different platforms.
Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm is one example. The spam filter is another. These are essentially algorithms or sets of rules that impact whether or not the application is going to share your content with the user.
Many of the “reader” style and “my news” applications employ algorithms to find what’s relevant to the user, and algorithms help them prioritize it. This can have a big impact on how your content is consumed and shared, and an even bigger impact on your reach and other metrics.