7 Steps To A Customer-Centric Content Scorecard

Con­tent score­cards are one of the best, most rel­e­vant tools for ana­lyz­ing past, present, and poten­tial future per­for­mance of con­tent. Here’s why.

Lisa Williams By Lisa Williams from Sustainable Digital Marketing. Join the discussion » 0 comments

No mat­ter how many con­tent projects or cam­paigns we com­mit bud­get and resources to, it’s imper­a­tive we under­stand the val­ue of that con­tent to the brand and the val­ue to the cus­tomer. Con­tent Score­cards are one of the best, most rel­e­vant tools for ana­lyz­ing past, present, and poten­tial future per­for­mance of con­tent.


Con­tent mar­ket­ing con­tin­ues to be a large focus of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing dis­cus­sion and requires us to answer some tough ques­tions:

  • Should we cre­ate con­tent?
  • Who cre­ates our con­tent?
  • Why are we cre­at­ing con­tent?
  • How much con­tent should we cre­ate?
  • How do we bud­get for con­tent?
  • How do we mea­sure the effec­tive­ness of con­tent?

Con­tent Score­cards help dri­ve an iter­a­tive process of cus­tomer-cen­tric con­tent and can be an impor­tant tool for the plan­ning, cre­ation, pro­mo­tion, and mea­sure­ment of con­tent.

What Are Content Scorecards?

In “The Lan­guage of Con­tent Strat­e­gy”, Scott Abel writes:

Con­tent Score­cards are an assess­ment tool used to eval­u­ate con­tent against spe­cif­ic cri­te­ria. Rat­ings are assigned to each cri­te­ri­on and are pre­sent­ed in a score­card. It pro­vides insights about con­tent strengths, weak­ness­es and pri­or­i­ties. The score­card approach quan­ti­fies and com­mu­ni­cates qual­i­ta­tive data to stake­hold­ers in an engag­ing and per­sua­sive way.”

One of the most pow­er­ful attrib­ut­es of Con­tent Score­cards is that they lever­age quan­ti­ta­tive fea­tures to some­thing as qual­i­ta­tive as con­tent. Here are sev­en rea­sons why Con­tent Score­cards are valu­able.

1. Know Your Goal

Whether your goal is to cre­ate aware­ness, build brand loy­al­ty, or dri­ve sales, a Con­tent Score­card helps align cam­paign objec­tives and goals.

Focus­ing on a sin­gle met­rics (online sales) keeps the view fair­ly myopic. Hav­ing three to five met­rics can help cre­ate a more thor­ough under­stand­ing of the per­for­mance of the cam­paign.

We’re going to use five cri­te­ria for this exam­ple that includes brand, sales, and loy­al­ty goals includ­ing:

  • Brand Val­ue
  • Per­ceived Cus­tomer Val­ue
  • Online Sales
  • Offline Leads to Sales
  • Refer­ral Val­ue

2. Give The Content Scorecard Numbers And Words

Think of the Con­tent Score­card as a way to tell the sto­ry of your customer’s expe­ri­ence with your con­tent. Each cri­te­ria in the score­card is a chap­ter in your mar­ket­ing sto­ry.

One Con­tent Score­card fea­ture that can help illu­mi­nate val­ue of con­tent to cus­tomers is inclu­sion of cus­tomer feed­back and sur­veys about the con­tent con­sumed. The cri­te­ria can be some­thing as sim­ple as Per­ceived Cus­tomer Val­ue of Con­tent, which gets a score as well as real feed­back from cus­tomers.

Some­thing as sim­ple as a tes­ti­mo­ni­al – “I loved the visu­al trends video exam­ples of how brands are lever­ag­ing the ‘LeanIn’ and “Like a Girl’ move­ments” – can help show how a sen­ti­ment (qual­i­ta­tive) can be quan­ti­ta­tive.

Perceived Customer Value

Anoth­er cri­te­ria can be Brand Val­ue of Con­tent. This can include organ­ic search traf­fic, social shar­ing, links gen­er­at­ed from the con­tent, and oth­er cri­te­ria that impacts reach and author­i­ty for the brand.

Brand Value

Build­ing a Con­tent Score­card with mul­ti­ple goals (brand engage­ment, loy­al­ty, sales) helps mar­keters see con­tent the way cus­tomers see con­tent in an ecosys­tem.

Look­ing just at one data point (rev­enue) gen­er­at­ed for one goal (sales) like­ly won’t pro­vide a full under­stand­ing of the val­ue of con­tent. (Note: the below image is a sam­ple, not actu­al data. )

Online Sales

Lever­ag­ing a Con­tent Score­card with num­bers and words aligns the analy­sis with the com­plex­i­ty of con­tent con­sump­tion, mak­ing it eas­i­er to more accu­rate­ly ascer­tain its val­ue.

The next cri­te­ria could be Rev­enue Val­ue of Con­tent shared with an aggre­ga­tion of data points.

3. Integrate The Scorecard

Don’t be afraid to include oth­er cri­te­ria such as Offline Val­ue of Con­tent. This could include a reduc­tion of calls to the cus­tomer ser­vice cen­ter because con­tent you cre­at­ed answered those ques­tions.

If your goal is build­ing brand aware­ness, your Con­tent Score­card may include met­rics such as vis­its, social engage­ment, sub­scribers, com­ments, or links that help dri­ve author­i­ty for your web­site and brand.

Offline Value

Com­bin­ing all of your KPIs into a sin­gle Con­tent Score­card, regard­less of goal or chan­nel, helps dri­ve inte­gra­tion.

Top-Level Content Scorecard

If your goal is new leads in the pipeline, your Con­tent Score­card may include con­ver­sion rate as a key met­ric. With so many poten­tial KPIs for each goal, it’s impor­tant to agree in advance on which ones you want to track.

Lever­age the Con­tent Score­card as a way to inte­grate teams and high­light con­tri­bu­tions before, dur­ing, and after cam­paign launch.

4. Model And Build The Scorecard Prior To Campaign Launch

Give teams abil­i­ty to review and pro­vide feed­back on the Con­tent Score­card, its KPIs, and def­i­n­i­tions.

The Con­tent Score­card KPIs should be agreed upon, mod­eled, and built out before the cam­paign launch­es. This assures two things:

  • Impor­tant ele­ments of con­tent assess­ment aren’t left out (brand, social, PR, organ­ic search, paid, mobile, busi­ness intel­li­gence, etc.)
  • Cross-team align­ment on what the goals are and how to quan­ti­fy and qual­i­fy con­tent suc­cess (or fail­ure).

5. Set Regular Intervals For Analysis

Invest­ing in a con­tent audit, content maps, con­tent pil­lars, edi­to­r­i­al cal­en­dars, and a Con­tent Score­card is a lot of work. It’s easy to instant­ly start obsess­ing about per­for­mance once a cam­paign launch­es. Mon­i­tor per­for­mance, but don’t obsess.

Let the con­tent do its job for a few days before you start jump­ing to con­clu­sions about what is and isn’t work­ing. Let the paid, social, and oth­er mar­ket­ing teams pro­mote and ampli­fy con­tent before you begin analy­sis at reg­u­lar inter­vals.

Plan­ning for, cre­at­ing, and pub­lish­ing the con­tent is often the eas­i­est part. Depend­ing on the type of con­tent cre­at­ed and the prob­lem that you’re try­ing to solve you may not have any con­clu­sive analy­sis for two weeks or even more.

6. Project Future Growth Potential

Your Con­tent Score­card can include action­able analy­sis by pro­ject­ing ways for new growth. One cri­te­ria could be Future Growth Poten­tial of Con­tent.

For exam­ple, you learn that a video you pro­duced had 10,000 views, with a 1 per­cent con­ver­sion rate. Don’t just think about get­ting more views. Lever­age the Con­tent Score­card to pro­vide analy­sis on ways to improve con­ver­sions. This is a great time to make the case for more bud­get or involv­ing oth­er teams. If lit­tle is being invest­ed in video cre­ation and pro­duc­tion, then more bud­get, improved sto­ry­telling, and bet­ter video pro­duc­tion will like­ly increase con­ver­sions.

Anoth­er cri­te­ria could be Refer­ral Val­ue of Con­tent. Work with your email/CRM team to under­stand how the cam­paign con­tent pro­vid­ed new refer­rals or newslet­ter sub­scrip­tions or increased the LVC (life­time val­ue of a cus­tomer).

Referral Value

7. Learn And Improve

As Avinash Kaushik has said, you should “test, learn, and suck less every time.”

Your Con­tent Score­card is an ongo­ing busi­ness need rather than just a project to test.

Help your inte­grat­ed teams under­stand the impor­tance of work­ing togeth­er toward the busi­ness goals as well as the goal of test­ing and learn­ing togeth­er.

Takeaways

Tak­ing these strate­gic steps toward a Con­tent Score­card ensures that along the path of plan­ning for, cre­at­ing, pro­mot­ing, and mea­sur­ing per­for­mance of your con­tent you can glean a lot about how your con­tent reach­es and engages your audi­ence to achieve busi­ness goals.

Once teams are aligned around the Con­tent Score­card, it helps solve the prob­lem of siloed analy­sis of con­tent and becomes a pow­er­ful vehi­cle for telling (and grow­ing) the sto­ry of what it’s like to be your best cus­tomers.

Cre­at­ing an insight­ful Con­tent Score­card can be a lot like sto­ry­telling, it takes a com­bi­na­tion of strong sub­ject mat­ter exper­tise and cre­ativ­i­ty to make a com­pelling Con­tent Score­card that inspires and illu­mi­nates.

Lisa Williams

Written by Lisa Williams

President, Sustainable Digital Marketing

Lisa Williams is the President of Sustainable Digital Marketing. She is a 19-year veteran of online marketing and has been featured in Kiplinger Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Boston Globe and The Oregonian. She recently authored her first book, "When Everybody Clicks: Sustainable Digital Marketing". Lisa is on the SEMpdx (Search Engine Marketing Professionals of Portland Oregon) Advisory Board. She speaks at regional, national and international conferences on the topics of digital strategy, marketing integration, team development and leadership. She is available for training and consulting.

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