When companies deliver bad content, the results can be disastrous. Take, for example, Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner “Unity” commercial, which resulted in Pepsi issuing a public apology and Kendall saying the collaboration badly affected her public reputation. Or, Microsoft’s chatbot Tay, which was live for less than 24 hours before it began spouting racist and sexist tweets.

On the flip side, when a company delivers compelling content, the results are invaluable - a better user experience, improved customer relationships, and increased sales. When content is honest and transparent it sparks reflection, conversation, and engagement. A good example is when the non-profit organisation, Be Vocal, partnered with an award-winning documentarian to create a short film on mental health. Because the film was seen as authentic and honest, it earned an estimated 416 million impressions and boosted the organisation’s awareness.

Analytics for analytics’ sake

A good content strategy requires a comprehensive understanding of how audiences consume your content, what’s working, and which activities you should focus on next. A good marketer will always look for data about how well any piece of content performed. How many people saw it? Liked it? Shared it?

However, not all metrics are equally useful.

Although we like to think that every view and listen equates to a prospect consuming your content in full, that’s simply not the case. At best, the person ended up there by accident and was never actually your intended target. At worst, the person was your target and got turned off because they didn’t like what they found.

Analytics that mean something

If you want analytics to really add business value and command your C-Suite’s attention, you need to track how you’re helping your company meet its business objectives. Is your content aligned with your brand strategy? Does it communicate messages your customers care about? Does it fuel business growth by helping to generate qualified leads?

Analytics that show ROI are the real game changer. They demonstrate the value you’re creating for your business by investing in your content. Unfortunately, calculating content ROI is a lot easier said than done. In fact, according to research from HubSpot, 40 percent of marketers say that proving the ROI of their content activities is their top challenge. But it’s an activity that’s worth doing. Marketers who calculate ROI report they’re 1.6 times more likely to receive higher budgets.

Analytics and AI

There’s a major flaw in the analytics that brands most often use - they’re only available once you’ve published your content. And while you can still use them to make changes to your content and content marketing programmes, you’re always left doing so after the fact. To get the best results, you also need analytics that help improve your content and content creation processes BEFORE you publish anything.

With a content governance platform, you can measure your content against a number of key metrics that impact performance. Things like the clarity and accuracy of your content, the tone of voice it uses, and how consistent it is with your company’s unique brand standards and terminology. By evaluating these things before you publish, and making adjustments as needed, you can reliably improve the chances of your content getting the best results.

AI gives us the capability to harness a new kind of analytics. Its first benefit is in planning. There are lots of specific software options that can help you analyse your current market position and give you useful information on where you are and where you want to be. You can capture insight on your competitors, monitor the digital ad space, and figure out how much money others spend, how many ads they buy, and what channels they use. You can also map content to the buyer journey, identify keywords and topic clusters for your content, and predict how it will perform.

In looking at content performance, AI drives much more nuanced analytics than anything we’ve seen before. AI can analyse tone of voice, the appropriateness of content for a discrete audience, and importantly, it can scale. Large organisations can create hundreds of pieces of content every week, from multiple writers — far too many to accurately control and manage manually. And it’s here where technology really provides the solution.

Companies spend a lot of time, money, and effort fine-tuning strategies around their brand - how they want to appear to the market, who their buyers are, and how they can resonate with them. It’s equally important that they also have a long-term view of whether or not their content is aligned with these goals and how it performs against strategically meaningful metrics.

We all know that content can make or break a brand. But, it’s the analytics behind the content that can be the difference between a piece of content that performs well, and one that disappears without a trace or does real damage.


Written by Christopher Willis, CMO for Acrolinx.

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