As the marketing cliche goes, content is king.
Here’s the problem: not everyone knows what separates good content from bad content. Worse, many site owners couldn’t say whether their content is genuinely beneficial or not.
This is where content evaluation can help. After all, if you don’t take a hard look at your content, how can you say what’s good and what’s bad? Here’s how to do a content evaluation (and why you need one).
What is Good Content, Anyway?
But first, the real question: what even is good content?
To answer that question, you first have to think about what content is.
When most people think of content, they think of blog posts. But the truth is, content is everything from blog posts to emails to web pages to social media to a diverse array of digital marketing materials.
Good content is more than just words.
Good content is a comprehensive expression of your website and brand. It clearly shows who you are and what you offer to your customers. Good content creators, therefore, are the ones who think about the wording of everything from your latest blog post to the wording of your delivery envelopes.
Why You Should Be Able to Spot Good Content
Spotting good content is like picking the right produce from the farmer’s market. Initially, it all looks like apples, but there’s a big difference between a Pink Lady, a Granny Smith, and a Honeycrisp. There’s also a big difference between a fresh apple and an apple that took a beating on the road.
One promises a crisp bite and flavor that make those couple dollars worth it. The other promises flies, bleaching of your fruit bowl, and never going to that stand again.
Good content is the same way.
Good content is worth your reader’s time. It gives them value and convinces them to come back again for more good content.
And where your customers are concerned, you should always offer fresh content, not rotten apples. But in order to do that, you have to know what is and isn’t good.
What Content Evaluation Is (and Isn’t)
This is where content evaluation comes into play.
Content evaluation involves two parts:
- Determining if your content is good
- Determining if your content meets your goals
Note that these are not the same thing. You might have fantastic content about a local arts festival, but it won’t do your site much good if you’re a law firm.
Similarly, you might have content that theoretically meets your goals (a post about business contracts for a law firm) but isn’t that good. It’s one thing to write content and it’s another thing entirely to write well.
If you want your content to really help your website, your content should fulfill both criteria.
Content evaluation is not necessarily a traffic evaluation, though it may include traffic numbers. It also isn’t building a content calendar, though it may indirectly address your content calendar.
Content evaluation is all about determining whether you have the best content for your goals (or letting you know if you need to reevaluate your content strategy).
Content Evaluation in Four Steps
With that in mind, let’s talk about how to do a content evaluation, broken into four easy steps.
1. Inventory Your Content
First things first: you need to inventory your content.
By creating a content inventory, you’ll establish the quantity of your content spread through all or part of your website, as well as the format, location, and language of each piece of content.
You should also collect various statistics about each piece of content. For example, you should know the number of visitors each piece receives, the number of social shares, the amount of time a visitor spends on the page, the flow of visitors, and the conversion rate for a given piece of content.
This allows you to create a metric by which to measure the success of your content. Think of it this way: it might seem like one piece of content with 100 views per month has a lot of views, but if half of your content gets that many views, then it isn’t actually that much.
2. Check for Accuracy, Objectivity, and Authority
While you’re compiling your inventory, take the time to check your content for accuracy, objectivity, and authority. These are a basic way to check whether your content might be valuable to your readers.
After all, it doesn’t matter how entertaining a piece of content is if it’s making claims that are plainly wrong.
With that in mind, check your facts against reputable sources. If the content is inaccurate, that’s a point against its value. If it’s both inaccurate and subjective (i.e. making not-entirely-true statements to sell your product) even more points against it.
3. Determine the Value of Your Content
From there, you’re ready to determine the value of your content. You’re looking for content that is particularly strong–and particularly weak.
This is part of identifying patterns, correlations, and explanations for why some content performs better than others. It’s also a process of spotting what your best content has in common so that you can replicate your success in other content.
Similarly, you’re also identifying patterns in your weakest content. Does content on the same subject have weaker traffic? Was the content good and the marketing poor? Figure out what makes weak content unsuccessful so that you can decide whether to revamp it or take it out of circulation altogether.
4. Weed Out Weak Content
Once you know what separates your good content and your bad content, you’re ready to winnow down the field.
If you have good content that isn’t performing as well as it should, look at the patterns behind your best content to see if you can replicate your success. If you have weak content, try to see if you can reimagine it in the style of your most successful content.
Don’t be afraid to cull the herd. If there is content that’s dragging you down, get rid of it.
Making Your Content Stronger Than Ever
Content evaluation is just one part of making your content stronger. Which really means that it makes your site stronger.
Of course, recognizing good content and writing good content aren’t the same thing. If you’re struggling with the latter, we can help. We know how to write outstanding content designed for your business goals.
That way, you can stop fighting with content generation and focus on what you do best: making your customers happy.