Last time, we looked at producing something newsworthy to build your brand, awareness, and links. Now it's time to look at testing the ideas. After all, ideas often aren't as great as we initially believe them to be. That's why testing and making necessary improvements is essential.
If possible, it's best to start testing your story idea before too much time of your and resources are put into the project. This could be as simple as running ideas past co-workers, friends, and family.
A better method is to assemble your own focus group for the demographics that are being targeted. Social media is a great way to find people for this group. If budget permits, consider paying the people for their time -- offer a flat fee or, at the very least, a free or discounted product.
Maybe you aren't too familiar with how consumer research studies work. Here's a tip. Go to your mall and find the consumer survey company. Just about every large mall has one. They're the people with clipboards offering you money or free products to answer survey questions. In as little as 15 minutes, you will better understand the research process.
You're probably thinking this is getting too complicated. It really isn't. It can be as simple as sending the people in your group an e-mail with a Web site address and asking them to rate the content.
The feedback is well worth the effort. It also improves the likelihood your newsworthy idea will get the right attention and go viral.
What to Measure?
The most significant thing to measure is how people respond in the first few seconds. We live in a culture of very short-attention spans and multi-tasking. The more people have to think about something, the less likely it will succeed.
Evaluating people's initial response is a simple way to decide which idea to pursue further and which to discard. Of course, this isn't always possible with all stories -- especially if it's timely news. At the same time, the insights gathered can help with future stories that need to be released in a timely matter.
StumbleUpon & A/B Testing
Another testing method is to run sample campaigns in StumbleUpon to measure people's responses to the content. Check out their advertising section for more details. It's a remarkable research tool to gauge people's initial responses!
Interested in further testing your ideas in a more scientific way? Consider A/B testing. As conversion expert Bryan Eisenberg points out, "we fall in love with one idea and will it to be the winner. A/B testing provides real-world, data-driven, unbiased answers to a hypothesis."
On a side note, all e-commerce sites should do A/B testing. Even the smallest changes can have a significant impact on conversion and sales.
You've done your research and started to test how people will respond to your ideas. Now it's time to pull everything together and produce your newsworthy content.
Next time, I'll discuss strategies to promote that content.