I received several comments almost immediately after posting last week’s Part 2 post, What goes into the Content Marketing Index™? One person asked “how can you measure the quality of the content?” What a perfect setup for this week’s topic.

The Content Marketing Index™ (CMI) absolutely considers the quality of content. Recall that the premise of the CMI is to observe and interpret manifestations of the content marketing lifecycle.

So, let’s look at the 4th phase in the lifecycle … production. Assuming this phase is responsible for the creation of content itself such as a blog, whitepaper, video, audio, presentation, etc., how would you recognize quality? What would some of the manifestations of this phase be?

How to Measure Content Quality?

The Content Marketing Index™ evaluates the observable “signals” related to quality. These signals include …
  • engagements and comments or “reactions” to a post
  • the ratio of the “reaction” count to the followers or members of the channel (size of the online audience)
  • growth of followers at the channel
Moreover, the information is evaluated against historical performance.

Therefore, the content quality is recognized by reaction, reaction ratio to members, and changes over time.

Let’s play out the scenario. A company has about 1,000 members or followers for one of their channels. The growth is about 3% per month. The average reaction ratio is about .5%. This means that about ½ of a percent of the 1000 members, or 5 people will typically respond to a post (we’ll hold on to how the actual number of posts in a given period will effect this scenario) Moreover, in any given month, the members will grow by about 3%, or another 30 people will join.

BR measures quality by comparing the signals produced by a post against the historical averages. So let’s look at three scenarios.

In Scenario 1, a post was made and the signals produced a mirror of the historical averages. Given these observations, it is probably safe to assume that the content quality is consistent with the historical performance and does not represent concern or accolades.

In Scenario 2, the post signals fell short of the averages for reaction and ratio, however, the growth in members remained the same. Based on these observations, it is probably safe to assume that post quality may not have been as good as historical averages yet wasn’t poor given that follower growth held steady.

And finally, in Scenario 3, the signals all exceed the averages. Hence BR would characterize this post as being of higher quality than the historical averages.

Content Marketing Lifecycle Process Versus Content Quality

First and foremost, the CMI is intended to assess an organization’s overall social media and content marketing processes along with harvesting out potential “spend” trends and predictive indicators. Content quality signals are calculated as we previously illustrated, but this represents only a subset of all the variables that contribute to the index value.

It’s worth reiterating that the CMI looks at the manifestations of each of the content marketing lifecycle stages. In fact, the CMI is really designed to characterize the process, of which content quality is a factor.

If we were to use credit scores as a parallel to the CMI, we would see that an individual’s various activities and track record are comprised of 5 key areas. An individual may have very little debt, but there are several recent late pays reported. Likewise, going back to the CMI, a company may have good content quality, but their post frequency, media variation and response times are poor compared to others in the their industry.

Improve the Processes and You’ll Improve the Quality

One book-end of the content marketing lifecycle is the phase referred to as Measure. Measuring and acting on your findings is one of the most critical steps in the lifecycle.

By using the “quality” signals derived in the CMI, organizations will have an immediate opportunity to identify content that “moved the needle”, as well as content that performed poorly. The findings here can then be rolled back into the first phases of the lifecycle.

Phase 2, or Planning looks in part at the “buyer’s persona”. This is the “who, what, when and where” of the planning. This phase also addresses the key messaging. Both of these may be revised based on the CMI results.

Jumping to Phase 4, Produce, this is where the actual production takes place. Clearly skill and talent are vital to this area. There is no substitute. Talent is a function of budget. Budget is a function of finance. Is it possible to infer a company’s financial health when it appears that the “quality signals” are declining?

Content quality is therefore a function of the planning activities and the actual production. As we have been stressing, improve the processes and the rest will follow.