ContentWRX evaluates content effectiveness across these six dimensions: discovery/findability, accuracy, polish, relevance, usefulness, and influence.
The first dimension of content effectiveness is discovery, or findability. This is about how users discover your content and how easy it is for them to find the content they need. Our research has found that not only is content 53% less effective for people who experienced difficulty finding it, but when people perceived content as hard to find, they also seriously doubted its accuracy, relevance, and usefulness as well.
Start by cleaning up outdated or underperforming content. Archive or delete content that is no longer needed and may be getting in the way of users finding what they need. Make your content easy to find by using topic phrases and keywords in page elements such as names, headlines, metadata, and text content, and focus on creating content on subjects your users care about the most. Optimize existing content and embrace personalization where possible.
Accuracy is a key dimension of content effectiveness. If users doubt the accuracy of your content, it will be hard for them to trust it, and they may have trouble meeting their goals. That’s why accuracy is an essential element in content effectiveness.
From simple typos to outdated or incorrect information, content must be accurate or users can ultimately lose faith in your brand. In addition to being accurate, content also needs to give users confidence that it is accurate. It is equally important that users perceive the content as being accurate, and that this is borne out in reality.
Polish is the next dimension of content effectiveness. Even minor mistakes in spelling, grammar, or punctuation look unprofessional and can cause readers to doubt your expertise. Ideally, users should perceive the design and formatting of your content to be of high quality.
Content that is consistent in tone, follows a logical order, and structured with subheadings, lists, and short distinct paragraphs, is easier to read. Crisp, succinct writing in the active voice is quicker to absorb, and ultimately, more effectively retained.
Relevance is an essential dimension of content effectiveness. Effective content must be relevant to users and perceived as serving their needs. People who perceived the content they used as relevant are more than 8x more likely to report achieving their goals compared to those who felt the content they used was not relevant.
Relevant content is timely, matched to audience interests, and often further refined through dynamic personalization or suggesting further relevant content. Consider how each piece of content can help a user achieve their goal. Tag content by segment or user journey phase to support this and align your customer segments or personas with your content planning.
Usefulness is another dimension of content effectiveness. The most common reason that users find content not to be useful is that it is too basic or broad. When customers view your content as both useful and relevant, they are more likely to consider it as effective.
Effective content should answer the question “so what?” It anticipates needs and enables users to accomplish their goals. Not only does your content need to be useful, it needs to be perceived as such, so it’s vital to clearly convey why the content is useful and what benefits the reader will gain. State who your content is for and how it can help them.
Influence is the last dimension of content effectiveness. When you make your content effective, you gain the opportunity to influence customers. Establish credibility and leverage logic so it is clear why your organization is trustworthy and its content authoritative. Effective content should be founded in proven facts.
Effective content may also trigger an emotional response. The power of framing can be used to convey your message through language, anecdotes, and creating a sense of belonging and community around common values or interests that align with your brand. These factors can all help motivate a user to take action or make a decision after viewing your content.