But apart from the fact that the calculation is anything but easy, the evaluation ex-post – i.e. the consideration after the publication of our content – has a big disadvantage:
No matter how good or bad the content performance fails, we are left with the investment in any case; whether it was money or “just” time.
An approach to assessing our content ideas before production would therefore be much more valuable for us.
But is that possible? Can we predict the success of our content?
Content scoring allows us to determine or estimate the quality and potential of an idea in advance, thereby making the decision for or against the implementation of this becomes much easier and the chance of success is much greater.
- What is Content Scoring?
- How can I measure my content marketing success?
- How can I rate content ideas? (incl. tools)
- What are the benefits of content scoring?
Definition: What is Content Scoring? Content scoring is a method to measure the impact of content. It is based on data, not guesswork (keyword: smart data).
If You Aren’t Scoring Content, You Can’t Know What’s Working – Justin Gray
On the one hand, it aims to create content assets such as blog posts, e -View books, webinars, videos, etc. individually and evaluate their individual influence on the course of the customer journey (ex-post view). On the other hand, it has proven useful to assess the potential of content ideas based on keyword or market data before production (ex-ante consideration).
This is how content scoring works ex-post (evaluation of performance)
Before you unpack your Excel spreadsheet, you need to consider what measurable factors are in your case, what is important is how you want to collect, weigh and combine them in order to calculate your content quality. So you first need a Content Scoring Model.
Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.
It works in a similar way to lead scoring, but we supplement “final” success indicators such as new customers or leads with corresponding content performance values from an earlier phase of the customer journey. This could be the following, for example…
- the number of page views (page views) or pages viewed per session, as for example in Google Analytics are displayed.
- the average length of stay of a user on your site (time on page or time on site).
- the rate of how often visitors return.
- the interaction rate, e.g. the number of links clicked (click-through rate), scroll depth, and of course the conversion rate.
- the number of likes and shares in distribution via social media (share rate).
- For the development of your own system or the choice of the right tool (because you can hardly do without it), you should also consider the following aspects Note:
- Do you want to weigh different channels differently? For example, is the “organic” channel more important to you than “email” because the person came across your content without your doing?
- How do you intend to deal with content that one person consumes multiple times? Do you only want to consider this once?
- How important is content that a lead consumes at the beginning and end of their customer journey? Do you want to weigh this more because it may have a greater influence on a purchase decision? Or do you want to treat all content assets equally within a Buyers Journey?
Let’s play through the whole thing using two examples …
Example 1: Content Score (single pages )is probably the simplest scoring model for content on your website is the following. To calculate the content score, it takes into account the number of page views, the average length of stay on the respective page, and a loyalty factor. This weights returning visitors based on the assumption that they tend to be “worth more” to us than new visitors.
We also recommend adding a conversion rate for predefined goals. With the help of Google Analytics, for example, these can be stored and measured relatively quickly as target values. Of course, you are also free to use the Adjust the weighting of individual factors. What we have to criticize about this model, however, is the fact that it does not map our conversion funnel. Our content rarely works individually, so it actually makes more sense to look at the entire session.
From now on it gets very complicated and small parts, so I want to explain the principle with a simple example.
Example 2: Content Score (User Journey)
What we’re doing now is looking at individual content assets within specific user journeys. Because each of them affects the behavior of the visitor and thus contributes to content marketing success. But how strong?
I’m using a basic example I found on Inflection. It is based on the simplified assumption that the average visitor has to consume five (any) content assets before they qualify for further lead nurturing measures according to our lead scoring.
We are now looking at exactly this content and evaluating it overall across all users. For illustration, we weigh the individual assets differently depending on the persona.
Content scoring along the user journey In practice, the weighting of the individual content assets depends on various factors, for example:
- The complexity of the product and the resulting length /Duration of the customer journey. Informative and knowledge-building content is perhaps more important than practical guidelines.
- Visitor source, i.e. the acquisition channel. Organic traffic is often weighted more heavily than paid traffic from SEA or Social.
- Position within the customer journey. Content pieces that are consumed first and last are generally given more weight than anything in between. Corresponding to the inbound marketing phase “Attract” and “Close”.
- It is also possible to weigh content differently depending on the persona. Key accounts, for example, have a greater impact on the overall value of individual assets. Precisely because this content is more valuable if you can use it to generate major customers and accordingly more sales.
Not confused enough yet?
Okay, then not only weigh your content within a buyer’s journey but also the individual measured values.
Let’s assume an email is used for this purpose to persuade the recipient to click on a landing page where they should register for a webinar. What is most important?
- The open rate of the mail
- The click-through rate of the email
- The page views of the landing page
- The scroll depth on the landing page
- The average length of stay on the landing page
- The conversion rate (registration for the webinar via the form)
Okay, in most cases this is going too far. It’s a help to know if a person goes through the “Mail” > “Landing Page” > “Webinar” funnel or not.
All other details are enormously helpful for optimization. At point 1, we know we need to improve the subject line.
At point 2, we improve the call-to-action or the P should adjust its position within the mail.
The more frequently you collect data and evaluate the performance of your content, the faster you will get useful insights for your further content production. However, this can mean a lot of effort and is not always worthwhile, depending on the publication frequency and the dependence of your economic success on content.
This is how content scoring works ex-ante (potential analysis)
Effective content scoring starts before publication.
I’m going to assume that you’ve done some research beforehand and that you know your target group and the market well in terms of competitors and keywords. Only then can we decide about content quality in detail.
Basically, your content must…
- be credible and authentic (ethos).
- touch your audience emotionally and convince them (pathos).
- be logically comprehensible and understandable (logos ).
Content quality is defined by ethos, pathos, and logos. Now go one step further and make sure that everything is technically and formally correct it’s correct. You can optimize a lot, especially when working with text (this also includes social media posts or video description texts)!
Grammar and spelling are an absolute no-brainer, but I keep seeing texts full of errors. Sure, it can happen from time to time, but it shouldn’t give the impression that there was no editing at all.
At least as important are the Language, the tonality, and the writing style. This is where the brand and target group meet and we have to find a common denominator. Still, there are some principles that we as writers can always adhere to. For example, avoid filler words, prefer short words to long ones, or form simple instead of complex sentences. Incidentally, the frequently used flesh index is calculated from these two criteria, which are also used by the tools presented below.
To increase readability it is also a good idea to keep sections short, to mark important information (e.g. by bold) or to separate it into easy-to-read lists. As a result, the reader can already grasp what it is about by “flying over” your content. The same also works well by using images (keyword: visual communication). Hardly anyone reads online texts these days anyway…
An additional aspect is increasingly Personalization. While texts in particular can be produced cost-effectively on a large scale, this does not make them the most effective content format. The more personally your content is prepared, the more positive the customer experience is, and the sooner you will achieve your own goals with it. Be honest: how many irrelevant emails do you accept from a company before unsubscribing from their newsletter? Or how many boring Facebook posts do you look at before unfollowing a profile? Even…
But now let’s put butter on the fish! How does content scoring work?
Unfortunately, it’s hardly possible without tools; and not all are free. I use the following three regularly and therefore recommend them:
- Contentbird – Keyword research provides important data on keyword potential and ranking opportunities, including competitive analysis. With the integrated text editor, you can optimize the use of keywords (WDF*IDF) right from the start, and improve the language style and readability (Fleschindex). By observing the rankings, you can then estimate how effective the produced content will be for your marketing.
- Searchmetrics Content Experience – The “SCE” offers several features to the potential of content ideas. On the one hand, it accesses the in-house keyword database and provides correspondingly extensive data on individual keywords. Similar to contentbird, the internal text editor then enables optimization in terms of keyword use and readability (evaluated using its own content score).
- The word league text analysis is suitable for a simple and free evaluation of the text quality (taking a focus keyword into account). However, tips on related search terms or a comparison to the competition are completely missing here.
Note on the Readability IndexSearchmetrics uses the Flesch Kincaid Grade Level. Since this was originally developed for the English language and is different from the Flesch Reading Ease, which contentbird uses, has not been adopted, it is for use in this country and only useful to a limited extent. The scale ranges from 0-12 and also describes how easy a text is to understand. The larger the number, the easier it is to read.
Another interesting freemium tool is Atomic Reach. With its own “Article Scores” it calculates the quality of text based on the integrated keywords, stylistic means (however, as far as I can tell, primarily in English), and the headline. The latter seems to be an important factor in the overall scoring. Of course, there are tips for optimization in the editor.
I don’t write much in English, but I will definitely use this tool in the Keep an eye out.
So do Acrolinx, who advertise their software as the only one that reads, rates, and displays content like we do and can improve it. This tool even contains a terminology database, which ensures linguistic consistency, e.g. when using technical terms or certain spellings. However, the overall scorecard is comparable.
This procedure now enables you to evaluate your content (more precisely, your texts) before publication. So before you fire all your powder in the form of paid advertising for non-optimized content, you should get the most out of this. After that, it will certainly be easier to generate leads and your content marketing will be more successful overall.
Personally, as already mentioned, I have achieved extremely good results with it over the past year and consider such an investment to be absolutely sensible – especially if your content strategy is mainly based on text content.
And I “only” want to point out one last thing in order not to go beyond the scope: In addition to the actual text analysis, it makes sense to evaluate the potential of content ideas, for example, based on click prices.
In a nutshell: the benefits of content scoring
- Content scoring helps you to evaluate and optimize your content – by improving the quality and learning to understand, which content works how, and why.
- Quality wins over quantity in the long run, since fewer iterations or trial and error is necessary to achieve the to achieve set goals. I would almost speak of an 80-20 rule here because the ex-ante variant covers the 80 percent very well. The remaining 20 percent are in the active application and optimization of marketing assets, targeting, etc.
- You improve your brand image in the long run because consistent quality has a positive effect on its perception.
- Your writing improves automatically over time because you know what is important. This speeds up text creation – for your blog, e-book, or white paper – and frees up time (and/or budget) for further marketing measures. The same applies if your briefings become more specific through content scoring and you need fewer correction loops for your external authors.
- Another advantage of content scoring (ex-post) is the possibility of using different calculation methods (e.g. different weightings) to take different buyer personas into account. The larger your data source is, the more precisely you can also tailor your offer to a small, specific target group. In addition, you can personalize content more easily and thus generate more effective leads or generally achieve your marketing goals.
Viewing content solely on your own website definitely doesn’t give a complete picture of overall content performance. In order to determine this, an analysis across multiple touchpoints is necessary; albeit much more difficult to implement.
But that leads me straight to the next point: All of this depends on the active doctorate. Content that we actively distribute will fare significantly better in absolute numbers than content that is only found organically.
And that is exactly the highlight: only those who analyze before AND after can really understand why and which content how works. I hope you now understand what content scoring is and how it works.