If you’re a publisher considering a change in your approach to better suit your content engagement strategy (like selling time-based ads, for instance) it’s helpful to remember what drives that strategy. As Matt Boggie from the New York Times deftly points out: it’s easy to get caught up in metrics and disregard substance. The truth is, sometimes publishers forget which came first—the data or the content.
You want your readers to be affected or influenced by your content. You want them to benefit from it. You want them to look to you, repeatedly, for engaging content and products that make their lives and professions easier. A data-driven approach that compromises quality or results in empty promises is missing the mark. It must be driven by superior, relevant content—your crown jewel, your reason for existing.
We are not saying that you need to dismiss your data or question the value of engagement, but we are saying that it’s important to ask yourself this simple question, every time you make a choice regarding either your investment in data measurements and content quality:
Does this article, format, topic or other tactic compromise the quality of our content or the value of what we offer to our readers?
If the answer is yes, you may be lost in the land of the chicken and the egg. Quick! Get out of the hen house and into greener pastures, where content comes before data—every time.