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Melissa Rach 
@melissarach 
DialogStudios.com 
Content 
CASH 
Photo: © 1984 Betty Weinaug
I am two people. 
Johnny is the nice one. 
Cash causes all the trouble. 
—Johnny Cash 
2
Business expectations 
To make an investment, funders expect: 
• To know exactly what content will do for the 
organizatio...
yikes.
We can do it 
• We know content work is valuable 
• We know content is a benefit (necessity) for 
businesses 
• And the or...
Today 
• Selling and scoping 
• Estimating value/ROI 
• Measurement 
6
But first… 
some anger management
1.It’s not (always) 
about disrespect 
or even money. 
©2014 Abbey Hambright 
Etsy.com/shop/abbeychristine
Economics is making the best 
out of life. 
—Gary Becker 
9
Decision making is scary 
Investing in content: 
• Means NOT investing in other things 
• Might result in loss of: 
• Mone...
And hard… 
People: 
• Are limited by what they know 
• Latch on to things that are familiar 
• Choose the safest option 
•...
2. Content is a 
harder decision 
than most 
Photo: ©1980 Betty Weinaug
Content breaks all the 
economic rules 
• Things of value are usually 
• Exclusive 
• Transparent 
• Hard to replicate 
• ...
Content work is a service 
• “New” industry 
• Very diverse 
• No obvious accreditation 
• Doesn’t fit nicely into a tradi...
3.Numbers don’t 
need to be exact. 
Photo: ©1980 Betty Weinaug
As far as the laws of 
mathematics refer to reality, 
they are not certain; and as 
far as they are certain, they 
do not ...
Measurement is… 
A set of observations that reduce uncertainty where 
the results are expressed as a quantity. 
17
Numbers are a 
communication tool 
Numbers reduce uncertainty: 
• Approximate values 
• Shortcuts for the brain 
• Common ...
Selling and scoping 
(building a relationship) 
Photo: © 1978 Betty Weinaug
The goal: 
Make a confident decision that’s 
beneficial to everyone. 
20
1. Define the need 
What is the need? What are you offering? 
• New or updated content 
• Cleaned up content/fixed mistake...
2. Understand the process 
Get all the information you can, find out: 
• What is the decision? 
• What impacts that decisi...
3. Make connections 
23 Photo: © 1980 Betty Weinaug
4. Understand all benefits 
and costs 
Type Benefits Costs 
Monetary Profit or savings Cost of creation 
Sensory Get satis...
5. Tell a hopeful story 
Create a story that highlights key benefits, such as: 
• We can serve users better 
• We can be m...
6. Eliminate fear 
• Discuss the details 
• Answer questions 
• Address concerns 
• Start small or do some proof of concep...
Estimating value and ROI 
(the magic formula) 
Photo: © 1980 Betty Weinaug
Value = Benefits-Costs
Value of what? 
Strategy 
or Service 
Content as 
product 
Content as 
influence 
Efficiency 
tool 
29
Strategy 
or Service 
Content as 
product 
Content as 
influence 
Efficiency 
tool 
Value of what? 
30
Content as product 
What is the content product worth? 
• Benefit: Profit from the sale of the product 
• Cost: Cost to cr...
Photo: © 1980 Betty Weinaug
Strategy 
or Service 
Content as 
product 
Content as 
influence 
Efficiency 
tool 
Value of what? 
33
Content as influence 
What is the piece of content worth? 
• Benefit: Increased profit as the result of an end-user 
behav...
Estimates, not exacts 
Figure out what you know; fill in the blanks with assumptions 
• The average Johnny Cash t-shirt co...
Intermission 
Photo: © 1982 Betty Weinaug
Strategy 
or Service 
Content as 
product 
Content as 
influence 
Efficiency 
tool 
Value of what? 
37
Efficiency tool 
What is the tool worth? 
• Benefit: Cost savings as the result of employee 
behavior change (or happiness...
Strategy 
or Service 
Content as 
product 
Content as 
influence 
Efficiency 
tool 
Value of what? 
39
Strategy (or service) 
What is the strategy worth? 
• Benefit: Combination of: 
• Savings/profit from: 
• Content as produ...
Estimating results 
BEFORE 
work starts
Max Gain x % Success = Risk if denied 
Max Loss x % Failure = Risk if approved
Estimating probable results 
Basic project information: 
• Maximum gain: $216,000 
• Maximum loss: $5,000 
• Chance for su...
Pricing basics 
• Look for comparables 
• Give ballpark estimates early 
• Estimate on time, price on value 
• Aim for a c...
Price is like setting a screw. A 
little resistance is a good sign. 
—Harry Beckwith 
45
There are a lot of good 
economists, but there is only 
one Roger Clemens. 
— Robert Solow 
(1987 Nobel laureate) 
46
Measurement 
(being well-rounded) 
Photo: © 1977 Betty Weinaug
Our friend, Johnny… 
Stats 
50+ million albums sold 
Created: 
96 studio albums 
63 compilation albums 
153 singles 
Honor...
Variety of measurements 
• Analytics 
• Qualitative assessments 
• User research and usability 
• External expert review 
...
Measure often, expect 
long-term results 
• Establish a baseline 
• Measure consistently over time 
• Use different timeli...
Score! 
Section score: 
88 out of 100 
↑ 15% since April
Photo: © 1977 Betty Weinaug
©2014 Abbey Hambright 
Etsy.com/shop/abbeychristine
It’s about 
decisions 
not 
disrespect
It’s NOT 
us-against-them 
it’s about 
building relationships
It’s about 
reaching understanding 
and 
reducing uncertainty
It’s about 
estimates 
not 
exacts
It’s not 
traditional 
but it’s 
achievable
Your work is valuable. 
Go prove it.
Thanks! 
SLIDES: bit.ly/CIDMCash 
@melissarach 
melissa@dialogstudios.com 
www.dialogstudios.com 
60 Photo: © 1981 Betty W...
Want to know more? 
Content Strategy for the Web (second edition) 
Check out chapter 10 
By Kristina Halvorson and Melissa...
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Content & Cash: CIDM Edition

Another version of Content & Cash, Melissa Rach's talk on establishing the value of content first delivered in 2012. This version was done for the CIDM Best Practices conference in Washington in Stevenson, Washington.

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Content & Cash: CIDM Edition

  1. 1. Melissa Rach @melissarach DialogStudios.com Content CASH Photo: © 1984 Betty Weinaug
  2. 2. I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. —Johnny Cash 2
  3. 3. Business expectations To make an investment, funders expect: • To know exactly what content will do for the organization • Proof of competency/quality • Exactly how much it will cost • Provable value and ROI Hard numbers. Right now. 3
  4. 4. yikes.
  5. 5. We can do it • We know content work is valuable • We know content is a benefit (necessity) for businesses • And the organizations are catching on, too 5
  6. 6. Today • Selling and scoping • Estimating value/ROI • Measurement 6
  7. 7. But first… some anger management
  8. 8. 1.It’s not (always) about disrespect or even money. ©2014 Abbey Hambright Etsy.com/shop/abbeychristine
  9. 9. Economics is making the best out of life. —Gary Becker 9
  10. 10. Decision making is scary Investing in content: • Means NOT investing in other things • Might result in loss of: • Money • Time • Other opportunities • Professional reputation • Emotional anguish 10
  11. 11. And hard… People: • Are limited by what they know • Latch on to things that are familiar • Choose the safest option • And then immediately start worrying that they’ve made the wrong decision 11
  12. 12. 2. Content is a harder decision than most Photo: ©1980 Betty Weinaug
  13. 13. Content breaks all the economic rules • Things of value are usually • Exclusive • Transparent • Hard to replicate • Endless supply AND endless demand 13
  14. 14. Content work is a service • “New” industry • Very diverse • No obvious accreditation • Doesn’t fit nicely into a traditional business 14
  15. 15. 3.Numbers don’t need to be exact. Photo: ©1980 Betty Weinaug
  16. 16. As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. —Albert Einstein 16
  17. 17. Measurement is… A set of observations that reduce uncertainty where the results are expressed as a quantity. 17
  18. 18. Numbers are a communication tool Numbers reduce uncertainty: • Approximate values • Shortcuts for the brain • Common vocabulary 18
  19. 19. Selling and scoping (building a relationship) Photo: © 1978 Betty Weinaug
  20. 20. The goal: Make a confident decision that’s beneficial to everyone. 20
  21. 21. 1. Define the need What is the need? What are you offering? • New or updated content • Cleaned up content/fixed mistakes • More efficient, happier workplace • Unifying strategy • Ongoing service How does this work benefit the business? How do (will you) you know? 21
  22. 22. 2. Understand the process Get all the information you can, find out: • What is the decision? • What impacts that decision? • Who impacts the decision? • What experience do stakeholders have with content work? • Is there a budget? 22
  23. 23. 3. Make connections 23 Photo: © 1980 Betty Weinaug
  24. 24. 4. Understand all benefits and costs Type Benefits Costs Monetary Profit or savings Cost of creation Sensory Get satisfaction/ 24 alleviate pain Endure extra pain or reduce satisfaction Temporal Save time Lose time Opportunity-based Gain advantages Eliminate possibilities Psychological Reduce anxiety Add anxiety Social Increase stature Blamed for problems Convenience-based Makes things easier Makes things more difficult
  25. 25. 5. Tell a hopeful story Create a story that highlights key benefits, such as: • We can serve users better • We can be more efficient • We can beat the competitors • We can be more accurate 25
  26. 26. 6. Eliminate fear • Discuss the details • Answer questions • Address concerns • Start small or do some proof of concept work • Provide references (services) or samples (goods) • Be patient 26
  27. 27. Estimating value and ROI (the magic formula) Photo: © 1980 Betty Weinaug
  28. 28. Value = Benefits-Costs
  29. 29. Value of what? Strategy or Service Content as product Content as influence Efficiency tool 29
  30. 30. Strategy or Service Content as product Content as influence Efficiency tool Value of what? 30
  31. 31. Content as product What is the content product worth? • Benefit: Profit from the sale of the product • Cost: Cost to create the product 31
  32. 32. Photo: © 1980 Betty Weinaug
  33. 33. Strategy or Service Content as product Content as influence Efficiency tool Value of what? 33
  34. 34. Content as influence What is the piece of content worth? • Benefit: Increased profit as the result of an end-user behavior change • Cost: Cost to create the content 34
  35. 35. Estimates, not exacts Figure out what you know; fill in the blanks with assumptions • The average Johnny Cash t-shirt costs $20 • Analytics show that 50 people start the process of purchasing a t-shirt online every day, but only 10 finish the process • User research shows that the instructions on the purchase pages are very confusing • We assume 5-10 people leave the purchasing process because of something unrelated to the site, and 5-10 leave the process when they see the shipping costs • We assume the remaining 20-30 people would complete the purchasing process if the instructions were more helpful • Therefore, the value of the instructional content is likely around $144,000- 216,000 per year ($20 x 20-30 people x 30 days X12) • The cost of fixing the content is approximately $5,000 35
  36. 36. Intermission Photo: © 1982 Betty Weinaug
  37. 37. Strategy or Service Content as product Content as influence Efficiency tool Value of what? 37
  38. 38. Efficiency tool What is the tool worth? • Benefit: Cost savings as the result of employee behavior change (or happiness) • Cost: Cost to create/maintain the tool and train people to use it 38
  39. 39. Strategy or Service Content as product Content as influence Efficiency tool Value of what? 39
  40. 40. Strategy (or service) What is the strategy worth? • Benefit: Combination of: • Savings/profit from: • Content as product • Content as influence • Tools • Sub-services • Value of non-monetary benefits • Cost: Cost to create/implement the strategy 40
  41. 41. Estimating results BEFORE work starts
  42. 42. Max Gain x % Success = Risk if denied Max Loss x % Failure = Risk if approved
  43. 43. Estimating probable results Basic project information: • Maximum gain: $216,000 • Maximum loss: $5,000 • Chance for success: 70% Expected opportunity loss: • Risk of approved: $5,000 X 30% = $1,500 • Risk if rejected: $216,000 X 70% = $151,200 43
  44. 44. Pricing basics • Look for comparables • Give ballpark estimates early • Estimate on time, price on value • Aim for a consumer surplus • Always provide numbers in person 44
  45. 45. Price is like setting a screw. A little resistance is a good sign. —Harry Beckwith 45
  46. 46. There are a lot of good economists, but there is only one Roger Clemens. — Robert Solow (1987 Nobel laureate) 46
  47. 47. Measurement (being well-rounded) Photo: © 1977 Betty Weinaug
  48. 48. Our friend, Johnny… Stats 50+ million albums sold Created: 96 studio albums 63 compilation albums 153 singles Honors 17 Grammy Awards 9 CMA Awards Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Rockabilly Hall of Fame Songwriters Hall of Fame Gospel Music Hall of Fame Country Music Hall of Fame Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Kennedy Center Honors National Medal of Arts Hollywood Walk of Fame 48
  49. 49. Variety of measurements • Analytics • Qualitative assessments • User research and usability • External expert review • Internal expert review • Efficiency measurements
  50. 50. Measure often, expect long-term results • Establish a baseline • Measure consistently over time • Use different timelines for different types of content 50
  51. 51. Score! Section score: 88 out of 100 ↑ 15% since April
  52. 52. Photo: © 1977 Betty Weinaug
  53. 53. ©2014 Abbey Hambright Etsy.com/shop/abbeychristine
  54. 54. It’s about decisions not disrespect
  55. 55. It’s NOT us-against-them it’s about building relationships
  56. 56. It’s about reaching understanding and reducing uncertainty
  57. 57. It’s about estimates not exacts
  58. 58. It’s not traditional but it’s achievable
  59. 59. Your work is valuable. Go prove it.
  60. 60. Thanks! SLIDES: bit.ly/CIDMCash @melissarach melissa@dialogstudios.com www.dialogstudios.com 60 Photo: © 1981 Betty Weinaug
  61. 61. Want to know more? Content Strategy for the Web (second edition) Check out chapter 10 By Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach How to Measure Anything by Douglas W. Hubbard Marketing Professional Services by Philip Kotler, Thomas Hayes, Paul N. Bloom Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science by Charles Wheelan 61

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