When Andrea Ames asked me to guest edit this issue of Intercom with a theme of “Measuring The Value of Content,” I thought, “Okay, I’m the content metrics guy, that makes sense.” My initial research revolved around the value of technical writing and of technical writers. Proving the value of technical writers has been a hot topic for decades, and still is. This made me ask, “Why are we still writing about this? Didn’t we answer this question already?” Apparently, we haven’t answered it to everyone’s satisfaction, because the responses continue—even recently.
In early 2018, this question seemed to bother Tom Johnson, who dedicated a six-part blog series to it. Tom’s research and writing convinced me that our focus should be on the question of “the value of content” rather than the classic “value proposition of technical communication,” about which so many articles have been written.
Has anyone written on the value of content before? Melissa Rach of Dialog Studios and coauthor of Content Strategy for the Web wrote some of the earliest and best blogs on the value of content in 2009 and 2011. She has been one of the few to discuss calculating content’s value. It’s been a few years, however, since the blogs and the presentation, so I thought that her thinking on the topic might have evolved based on new projects and experiences. Melissa delivered version 2.0 of this topic, and it is exponentially more valuable than the first.
Who else has written on the topic? The Content Marketing Institute has many articles related to the value of marketing content, so I didn’t ask them to write anything new. I wanted to make sure you know of this resource, however, and I strongly encourage you to review those articles. One of my favorites is on measurement.
Alan Porter, author of The Content Pool, offers a modern perspective on the “cost-center versus profit-center” topic. He provides an organized and thoughtful discussion on several business models to help you decide which one is right for you. This article is complementary to Melissa Rach’s topic, and a great segue to a discussion on sales enablement.
In the world of sales, sales enablement is a hot topic. In our industry, it is not. Searching STC’s website I found only two articles that mention sales enablement, but no definition or in-depth discussion. After researching this topic myself, I get it. This is important and should be a hot topic. I discussed this with Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, and he agreed. I don’t want to steal any of his thunder, so I’ll just say that you will finish his article with an understanding of sales enablement and of its opportunities. This is a hot, leading edge topic.
Last is a complementary and timely case study on analytics by Jenifer Schlotfeldt and Courtney Bittner, content strategists at IBM. The article showcases their content analytics toolbox, which is a collection of content strategy tools teams can use to measure their content success and make content strategy decisions. The discussion on customer feedback personally resonated with me.
There you have it. Fresh perspectives on the value of technical, marketing, and sales content and knowledge, with a splash of tools and measuring. Check it out.
“Content Marketing Framework: Measurement.” Content Marketing Institute. https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/measurement/.
Halvorson, Kristina and Melissa Rach. Content Strategy for the Web. San Francisco, CA: New Riders, 2012.
Johnson, Tom. “Value Argument for Docs and Tech Comm.” I’d Rather Be Writing. http://idratherbewriting.com/2017/12/28/value-of-tech-comm-in-company-part1/.
Porter, Alan. The Content Pool: Leveraging Your Company’s Largest Hidden Asset. Laguna Hills, CA: XML Press, 2012.
Rach, Melissa. “Content and Cash: The Value of Content.” Presentation. https://www.slideshare.net/melissarach/content-cash-the-value-of-content-capetown-edition.