In the last post, we discussed what an asset was, in the strict financial sense; Investopedia defines an asset as:
An asset is a resource with economic value that an individual, corporation or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefit.
We’ve established that content could be an asset, could be something that appears on the balance sheet of a company if it reduces costs by improving operations, or drives business through demand and lead generation. We also covered how to measure the value of content assets.
Now that we know how to measure content assets, we manage them. Assets typically do one of two things – depreciate or appreciate over time. To cite Investopedia again:
Certain assets are given to appreciation, while other assets tend to depreciate over time. As a general rule, assets that have a finite useful life depreciate rather than appreciate.
Unmanaged, all content assets behave like fixed physical assets; they depreciate over time. In search engine optimization, search engines prefer content that is:
Over time, an unmanaged content asset decays. Other, more relevant pieces may be published by competitors. Without refreshing, content becomes stale. Without a solid content framework, content remains stuck in a single format. Finally, most content that performs well doesn’t remain unique for long; competitors copy it in spirit or in letter.
Look back to the Investopedia commentary: “assets that have a finite useful life depreciate”. Thus, to increase the value of our content assets, we must increase their usefulness or extend their lifetime. How do we do this?
Knowing that search engines and users prefer relevant, fresh, diverse, and unique content, we now have a framework for content asset appreciation.
The first way to improve content asset value is through increasing relevance. Take any existing piece of content. How well optimized is it…
- For social media sharing?
- For search engines?
- For forwarding to a colleague in email?
- For using in an ad campaign?
- For pitching in public relations?
Improving relevance in each of the channels we have access to increases the value of our content asset.
An existing piece of content can be refreshed by updating it regularly:
- New and improved graphics
- New data
- New points of view
- New contributors/editors
- New language
- Developmental editing
Be sure to read this past post on recycling content effectively. Instead of refreshing in an ad hoc, irregular basis, set up and run a focused, regular, frequent content refreshment program.
A third way to improve content asset value is by changing its form, by making it more diverse. Using machine learning technology, we can easily convert text to spoken word audio. We turn audio with images into animations or video. Video short pieces become long-form conference pieces:
One piece of content changes forms and becomes more diverse, more consumable, and more accessible.
The final way to improve content asset value is by combining the above factors. While few ideas are unique in and of themselves, any idea we modify through frequent iteration, optimization across channels, and diversification of format is likely to be unique.
Measure Your Appreciation
The most important ongoing task, after improving our content, is to continue measuring it for asset appreciation. Does the new content work better? Are we driving more visitors to our properties, piquing more interest, and converting more audiences to business? Keep refining and tuning attribution models so that we better understand what benefits our content assets bring.
Content doesn’t have to be a fixed, depreciating asset. With time and effort, our content will perform like any investment and bring multiples of financial benefit to us.
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