Content Marketing

Is Content a Short-lived King? How To Manage Content in a World of Rapid Depreciation


Edward V reigned for just 76 days and was never crowned. He was succeeded by Richard III.

Once again, someone has come to the conclusion that content is king. A recent article in Mashable points out that the importance of traditional web design is giving way to a future of experience design and content delivery through ecosystems, platforms, and services.

Let’s face it. If the content doesn’t change on a traditional website, then there’s no reason to return to the site. So that’s where experience comes into play—what can I do today on a site or app that I couldn’t do yesterday? Today’s ultimate value lies not in exceptional user navigation, but in helping visitors get something worthwhile, whether it’s new information or receiving a good.

In addition to all of the usual metrics for site visits, uniques, time-on site, etc, it’s time for brand marketers to consider a new KPI for content “half-life” representing the decline in repeat visits over time. A site with a short half-life is one that needs more frequent updates while a long half-life indicates that the site is providing ongoing value. For many pharma brands, this new KPI of content half-life will demand a reset in how marketing content is viewed and will force a transition from a relatively static publishing mindset to a dynamic media communications mindset. In other words, because of the customers’ appetite for fresh information, the model for successful pharma marketing is now better aligned with CNN Health, not Elsevier Publishing.

Clearly, this digital communications model demands different staffing, priorities, regulatory processes, and success metrics compared to the days when having a digital strategy meant launching a super-robust dot com brand page, and then leaving it untouched for months, if not years.

A content half-life metric can be a useful measure to gauge whether or not users are returning to obtain value. Make sure the changes you make to your digital properties result in increasing half-life, otherwise you’re spending time and money to stay in the same place, or even falling behind. Remember, there’s a reason why CMS starts with content. Yes, content is still king, but in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing communications environment, he needs consistent effort and freshness to keep his crown.



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Luke Templin
Luke has worked in the IT field supporting and developing software in the telecommunications, energy, insurance and life sciences for the past 20 years. With the technical team at Cadient, Luke works with the brand teams to develop sites and apps exceeding client expectations. Luke has an MS in Forest Economics from the University of Washington and a BS in Forestry from the University of Idaho.

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