Imagine you just bought a new refrigerator. You’ve unpacked it, plugged it in, and put it in place. Now it’s time to fill it with the contents of your old refrigerator. But do you automatically put everything from your old fridge into the new one? Probably not, right? Instead you would likely take a minute to evaluate what you had, so you could decide what to save and what to throw out. Fresh veggies that you just bought at the grocery store: keep. Moldy cheese that you didn’t even realize you had: toss. Seems pretty basic, right?

The funny thing is that when it comes to their content management system (CMS), most people don’t follow this same principle. Rather than evaluate what they’ve got, they simply migrate all of their content when they switch platforms. That’s not a good strategy because there’s bound to be something rotten in your CMS, if you’ve never bothered to clean it out.

Just as you do when food is fuzzy and smells funny, do the same with your content. If content is outdated, off brand, or uses wrong terminology, either fix it up or dispose of it.

If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It

Content management is about more than just storing documents in a repository or putting workflows and processes around them. To manage your content effectively, you also need to know what’s working. And that calls for content measurement. The reality is that if you can’t measure something, you can’t manage it.

When it comes to your content, you want to be able to measure and evaluate an array of metrics, such as:

  • Whether it’s written using the correct tone of voice
  • If it’s using your company’s preferred terminology, spellings, and language
  • Its quality and consistency
  • How easy it is to translate
  • How often it gets updated

Depending on what you find out, you may determine that your content either needs to be reworked or removed. At some companies that we work with, for example, any content that hasn’t been updated within a certain period of time automatically winds up in the trash.

Practical Applications: Why This Stuff is Important

Content measurement sounds well and good, but it’s not like you’re switching content management systems every week, so why should you care? It’s important because when you have the right metrics in place, they can help you to understand what’s going on, so you can make better decisions. Let’s look at some possible scenarios:

  • You want to make sure your brand is accurately represented. Companies spend lots of money developing their brands and then have few ways of enforcing them. But if you can measure your content in terms of things like style, tone of voice, and clarity, it becomes a lot easier to identify stuff that’s missing the mark, so you can fix it up and bring it in line with your standards.
  • You’ve got a big translation project to work on. Effective, efficient translation hinges on the quality of your source content. By knowing how clearly written your content is, you can have a measure of confidence in terms of how easy or hard it will be to translate. Making a few edits to the source content could make a big difference when it comes to the time and money it takes to complete your translations.
  • You want to stay out of trouble. In industries like financial services, you’ve got to include very specific disclaimer language in much of your content. If that language is used inaccurately anywhere, it can expose you to serious risks. That’s not so hard to do if you’re dealing with just a handful of documents, but imagine having tens or even hundreds of thousands of them to monitor. Being able to automatically evaluate whether or not your content is compliant with the appropriate regulations is critical.
  • You’re reorganizing. Reorganizing your business? If yes, and you need to make changes on your content team, wouldn’t it be helpful to have the metrics at hand? If you are scaling down on resources, Acrolinx can help avoid downtime in your content operations.  If you are adding new resources to your teams, Acrolinx can help ensure your new users are onboard in no time. Armed with that information, you’ll be better equipped to allocate your resources appropriately.

Content Measurement Matters

It’s incredibly difficult to manage anything that you don’t understand. And to understand something, you need data about it. With the right content optimization technology, you can analyze all of your company’s content to gain insights that will help you drive important management decisions. Not only will that make your life easier, it will also help ensure that you don’t wind up with a bunch of rotten tomatoes.