Content analysis

Content analysis

A technique for systematically analysing written, spoken or visual communication. It provides a quantitative (numerical) description.

2 Critical Types of Content Analysis

The full and original article was published on Content Science Review
In user experience, content strategy, and content marketing circles, sooner or later you’ll hear talk of content analysis.  Content analysis is an area where it’s easy to know “enough to be dangerous” but hard to take the right approach with the right methodologies. To pick the right content analysis methods, l advise not to start with methods. Take a step back and consider your goal for the content analysis. Then consider these two critical types of content analysis: formative and evaluative.


Formative Content Analysis

The purpose is to understand your current content state, with an eye toward forming a content strategy. Sometimes, people call this discovery. It’s analysis with the goal of forming a plan for content. A major outcome of this analysis is knowing the current state of your content. Content strategists talk about or use this kind of analysis often. Content marketers and communication professionals do so less often but could benefit greatly from it. If you’re like most content marketers, you do not have a documented content strategy. A useful step toward filling that gap is to conduct a formative content analysis.

  • Content landscape – What content (or source material for content) do you really have?
  • Content quality – What level of quality is the content?
  • Content performance – What content are people using and not using?

To fully understand the current content situation, you might need to know more about the context such as:

  • Audience – Who are they? Who is most important? What works about the content for them and what doesn’t? What channels are they using?
  • Business or brand goals – What are you trying to achieve online and with content specifically? What is your mission or brand, and does your content reflect your mission or brand focus?
  • Competitor / ecosystem – What other organizations offer related content to these same audiences? What are they doing differently, better, or worse?
  • Process / workflow – How is content managed, curated, or created? What works well and what doesn’t? How does process (or lack thereof) affect content quality or effectiveness?
  • Technology / engineering – What platforms or tools are you using? How do they limit or enable reusing content across channels? How do they limit or enable making content easy for your users / customers / audiences to find? How effectively do they support your content process or workflow?


Evaluative Analysis (Content Evaluation)

The main goal of content evaluation is to assess content impact or effectiveness and identify opportunities to refine your content strategy or optimize your content tactics. A frequent side benefit of content evaluation is finding out whether your context has changed significantly.

Content strategists do not talk about this kind of analysis much, which leads me to think they’re not doing it often. Those who do talk about impact, however, tend to get more resources for their work or promoted to higher profile roles or projects. Content marketers tend to focus on understanding impact on behavior and optimizing content to increase a particular behavior. Everyone involved in content for an organization would benefit from coming together and widening the scope of content evaluation to tell a complete story of content’s impact.

  • Impact on perceptions – How does your content affect what your users / customers / audiences think or decide? Do people perceive you or your content in the way you intend? Why? How does changing specific content affect a particular perception?
  • Impact on behavior – How does your content affect what your users / customers / audiences do with your content or as a result of your content, online and offline? Why? How does changing specific content affect a behavior or action?
  • Achievement of business or content goal(s) – Did implementing your content strategy achieve or make progress toward your goals? To what extent and why? Is there an actual or projected return on investment?
  • Changes in context – Have user / customer / audience needs changed? Has the competitive landscape or content ecosystem changed? Have business or brand goals changed?

Credit: The full and original article was published on Content Science Review

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