Prove The Value of Your Content with Numbers

    July 13, 2005

Getting senior management’s attention is about showing how costs can be reduced and/or value created. Content needs to show how it will reduce costs by X percent and increase productivity by Z percent.

Content management has been a fuzzy, poorly respected discipline within many organizations. Its related discipline, communications, is often seen as peripheral and non-strategic. Content is a cost to most senior managers. It is seen as not key to achieving results. It does not affect growth, profitability, or productivity, nor does it impact the value of the brand.

People are spending an increasing part of their day searching for content. Search, particularly for intranets, is generally poor. You would think that there is a business case to prove to senior management that, if you reduce the time spent searching, you are making the organization more effective. It doesn’t work. To most senior managers, it’s too vague.

Can you show a reduction in the average time it takes to support a customer as a result of better search? Can you show that, by improving the content quality on your website, sales leads increase? Can you show that a poor quality web experience leads to a negative impression of your department with the public?

There are quantifiable benefits that a quality public website or intranet can deliver. There are quantifiable drawbacks to giving your staff or customers a poor web experience. You must identify them and you must prove them with hard numbers. You must show that content can deliver quantifiable value.

I worked with a large organization recently that changed three words on its homepage and increased sales leads by 30 percent. I know of an organization that changed one word in a website heading and trebled the click-through rate. I know of another organization that rid its website of brochure-ware content and replaced it with sharp, customer-focused web content, and increased sales by over 100 percent.

Content means business. Quality content delivers. However, you need to clearly articulate the value your content delivers. Too many web managers try to do too much with their websites. They have so much content to manage they hardly even have time for metrics.

How accurate and credible are your metrics? Are you educating your senior management about what the really important metrics are? I heard a senior manager from a large organization recently give a speech about its website. He kept going on about how many “hits” the website has. It was embarrassing.

Obviously, nobody in his web team had told him that hits are a totally useless measure of success. The only reason they are quoted is because they are the largest number in the web metrics report. (Everyone loves big numbers.) Sooner or later, this senior manager will be informed that he is making a fool of himself talking about hits, and he won’t be very happy.

Senior management loves numbers. The more useful numbers you can feed them that illustrate the value the website is creating, the better. But get away from volume of visitors; that’s so crude. Instead, talk about a five percent reduction in time per support call, a ten percent increase in sales leads, or a two percent increase in customer satisfaction.

For your web content management solution, contact Gerry McGovern

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