The 5 Steps to Find out What Makes Your Content Great

Great content is the key to successful native advertising, but what makes certain content great remains a mystery for most. Until now.
What Makes Content Great

Gretchen Crawford_SmallGretchen Crawford
CMO, Brightside Data
Atlanta, USA
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It’s no secret the key to successful native advertising is great content. But what makes content great?  It’s easy to explain away content performance using generalizations, best practices, and educated guesses. But simply speculating about cause-and-effect relationships is not a truly accurate method for determining what makes certain content successful.

To take your content creation process from good to great, it’s necessary to identify the “it” factors

To take your content creation process from good to great, it’s necessary to identify the “it” factors through mathematical correlations and create a feedback loop. The outcome: A more efficient and effective content creation process.      

1. Identify potential “It” factors

Content creators are always creating more content. That means that content creators are also continually amassing data that can be mined for insights. That growing library of data should be leveraged on a routine basis to find correlations and patterns that will lead to identifying the “it” factors generating great results for application to the next round of content creation.  

RELATED: Native Advertising Really IS All About Great Content

The first step in identifying potential “it” factors in great content is recognizing that “it” may be more than one thing. In fact, “it” may be a number of factors that work together to produce great results. The first step in identifying what makes great content is categorizing the factors you can control. For example, the format and length of the content (length of the video or number of words in the article), how many times a product is mentioned, the spokesperson and the location. The analysis can also include more nuanced factors, such as the tone, style, and use of slang. The greater the level of detail, the better results the analysis will yield.   

As with any analysis, the rule is “garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, the quality of the content analysis must be sound to produce meaningful results. For the best results, set strict parameters around measurement to ensure consistency – even consider enlisting someone with a sociology or psychology background for the more nuanced aspects of analysis.

 

While poor KPIs are painfully obvious at first glance, the reason behind the failure is not always clear.

2. Identify what drags content down

It goes both ways – it is also valuable to identify the characteristics that cause content to fail. While poor KPIs are painfully obvious at first glance, the reason behind the failure is not always clear. Opinions and preferences can cloud judgment when pointing the finger at what sabotaged a content piece. To help avoid future blunders, objective mathematical analysis should be applied to identify correlations between poorest performing content pieces.    

RELATED: How to Measure the Effectiveness of Travel Content Influencer Marketing

3. Moving the needle: Identify the metric you’re trying to influence

When identifying the “it” factor, it’s necessary to choose the key performance indicator (KPI) that is most important to your brand (or your client’s brand). Selecting the right KPI – such as click-through-rates, impressions, shares or last-click attribution – is essential for measuring success in a meaningful way that accurately reflects your organization’s goals. If more than one KPI is important to your brand, the answer may be to create a weighted average for a unique KPI.  When using a weighted KPI, ensure it is weighted in a way that fluctuates enough that performance can be gauged at a glance and KPI-related goals can be set.

The next step is to apply mathematical analysis to determine the correlations between the list of factors and the KPI.

4. Find correlations, establish a feedback loop

The next step is to apply mathematical analysis to determine the correlations between the list of factors and the KPI. For example, the group of mathematicians, sociologists, and marketers at Brightside Data are dedicated to working with clients end-to-end during this process to find correlations between potential “it” factors and KPIs. The results: A feedback loop that makes it possible to duplicate success and improve results, empowering creators to continually improve the quality of the content produced.  

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Feedback loops apply learnings from the end of a cycle to the beginning of the process, so it is refined during every rotation. By incorporating a feedback loop into your content creation and digital advertising process, you’re elevating your campaign from good to great. Feedback loops feed innovation and act as a catalyst for creating new, better, more effective content.

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It takes self-discipline to slow down and get to the root of why certain content earns a higher KPI.  

5. Slow down: Know the difference between results and learnings

Real-time results are readily available and provide instant gratification, but do not offer insight into what specifically makes content great. It takes self-discipline to slow down and get to the root of why certain content earns a higher KPI.  

While not instantaneous, this thoughtful approach to implementing the analysis and creating the feedback loop is rewarding, as it sets clear guidelines for future content creation, and generates efficiencies during the creative and production parts of the process.  

RELATED: 5 Examples of Successful Branded Video Content

For example, if results of the analysis show that videos less than one minute in length featuring a certain spokesperson who only mentions the product once and smiles during 30-seconds of the segment consistently earn the highest KPI, the creative team will have a much better direction when creating new content.

Ultimately, not only does creating a feedback loop provide insight into content performance, it empowers brands to refine their strategy, makes the creative and production process more efficient and delivers results.

Photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

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