Measure what matters

Measure what matters
13 September 2017 Erik van Heeswijk

‘Measure what matters’

It is a big problem in the content industry; how to measure the impact of stories? What is the right way to count, and what is the best fit with your strategy. There are a lot of possible approaches to this (read our blog Every Story Counts), but the key tip is: be consistent with your strategy. Let me give you an example.

The HHH Model
A couple of years ago Youtube published a manual for vloggers; the Hygiene Hub Hero model. It basically discerns three types of content: Hygiene content has low value, but your community expects it as service. And fortunately it will cost you little time. My standard example of this is the tweet about the result of the soccer match, when you are a sports brand.
With Hub content you keep your community really happy with quality content. It is the stuff that editorial teams focus most on. Example: the report on the soccer match, what happened?
Hero content is the high production value stuff; unique stuff that has cost tremendous effort to produce or has big viral value. Think the cool slomo drone video of the soccer match coupled with the right music. Or investigative journalism.

The crux of the matter is that Hero-content is produced to attract a lot of audience, while hub content is meant to keep your base engaged and loyal. When you do it right, your audience will grow significantly with the Hero stories, while you hook the new members with retention stuff. This is how YouTube visualized that process.

Measure what matters
This content model is easily understood and works well to give you a fresh look at your editorial efforts. Still we see a couple of mistakes happen over and over again. First, people forget that when a story attracts big crowds, there should be a system in place to keep them coming back. What is the golden chain? Are they subscribing to the newsletter or downloading the app? When they have read your big story, do they get more? Can they get in contact with the authors? Allowing your new friends to leave without a promise erases every success the Hero content just had.

More importantly, this happens because organizations are not very consistent about measuring the impact of their content. Hero content is made for reach, to counting the views is logical. But Hub content has meaning in the context of loyalty, engagement, conversion and retention. While it is important to know what percentage of your customers or members are into those stories, it would be obviously wrong to measure that only in terms of views and reach.

But most of the time that is precisely what happens, quality content is judged by quantitative milestones. The vanity-thing is attractive. Though, this leads to neglecting everything that is important about growing a loyal and engaged fanbase. This way, every story starts at zero, and requires a lot of energy to attract the right people.

So, ask yourself this simple question: what is this story meant to do for me? And what is the best key indicator to determine if that goal is reached. Is it one number or a couple of metrics, combined in one formula? Tell yourself the real consistent story.