WOW! Factors 2016

Which are the factors that characterize high-value content from a reader viewpoint?

Which are the traits that we deem most important in determining the quality and value of online published content?

This small independent research, open to everyone, tries to provide some initial answers to these very questions. It may not be a definitive answer, but it will certainly be an answer that will offer opportunities for discussion and analysis to those who will want to make good use of it.

My main goal with this is the one of offering a reference for anyone wanting to create high-value, quality content that distinguishes itself from the ocean of shallow articles and blog posts being published daily on the web.

For this purpose I have gathered here below, what appear to be the most important factors in determining the value of an online piece of content from a reader viewpoint.

The factors have been voted by about 150 people, by using a 0–5 rating scale, and are now ranked in order of importance from the most important to the least important.

These WOW! Factors identified so far may not be exhaustive yet, but they should represent a good initial reference for anyone wanting to plan the production of high quality content, as well as for anyone desiring to estimate or compare the value of two or more pieces of published content.

Last but not least, I hope that this resource can be valuable for those teaching and learning about writing, journalism, content marketing.

N.B.: The 23 WOW! Factors presented here have been identified by me and by asking my Italian newsletter readers to provide me their feedback and suggestions.

Through the survey, which will remain open, you can suggest additional WOW! Factors that have not yet been taken into consideration, and influence existing scores.

The plan is to let votes come in and to update this reference over time, as I get more readers feedback on the survey.

You can freely use this reference for any purpose you may see fit.

Extremely Important Factors

1. Usefulness (average rating 4.61 — on a 0–5 scale)
How useful is this piece of content? How immediately applicable is the info in it? Does it save you time, effort, money?

2. Legibility and Organization (4.28)
Quanto è leggibile e ben organizzato il contenuto (qualità di scrittura, dimensione del testo, impaginazione)?

3. Focus (4.27)
How focused on a specific topic is this piece of content? Does it cover multiple topics or a specific issue?

4. Uniqueness — Originality (4.21)
How unique is this piece of content? How rare? Are there tons of other pieces of content like this or is this a rare gem?

5. Updating & Freshness (4.11)
How recent is the content in question? Has it been published yesterday or 10 years ago? Has it been published and abandoned or has it been updated?

6. Accessibility (4.19)
Is this content easily accessible from computers and smart mobile devices? Is it accessible in more than one format (web, audio, PDF, RSS, etc.)?

7. Attention to details (4.11)
Is the content error free, well paginated and presented without incomplete items or overlooks?

8. Curation (4.09)
Does this content attempt to bring together best resources and info from multiple sources to provide a comprehensive view of a specific topic? Does it vet, verify and select rare and valuable info artifacts while adding valuable insight?

Very Important Factors

9. Comprehensiveness (4.01)
Does this content cover the subject thoroughly, providing as much information as possible and multiple resources / viewpoints?

10. Permanence (4.01)
Can this content be saved / downloaded / preserved locally?

11. Documentation (3.92)
How well documented is this content? Are there links inside the text that allow to explore and verify facts and claims?

12. Profit-driven (3.89)
Has this content being written for information or commercial purposes? Does this content reflect a true interest of the author or is it a marketing campaign masked as valuable content?

13. Free access (3.88)
Is this content freely accessible by anyone or does it require login / regisyration / payment / subscription / other?

14. Illustration (3.78)
How well is this content illustrated via multimedia elements (graphs, charts, images, photos, maps, videos, etc.)?

15. Further readings (3.75)
Does the author(s) offer additional relevant (not self-promotional) extra reading materials in the form of articles, books, videos, for those who want to dig deeper?

16. Authorship (3.73)
Is the content signed by someone real with a name and last name (rather than being anonymous or with a brand name at the end of it)?

Important Factors

17. Insight & Opinion (3.51)
Does the author(s) of this content contribute his viewpoint, opinion, commentary?

18. Length (3.47)
Is this content long?

19. Time / Production Effort (3.43)
To produce a piece of content it can take from a few minutes to months. How much time and effort has required the production of this content?

20. Credit & Attributions (3.33)
Does the author of the content provide proper credits and attributions to those who have contributed to it (photos, illustrations, video, citations, etc.)?

21. Openness to external contributions (3.30)
Is / has this content been open for contributions (comments, feedback, ratings, suggestions, etc.)?

22. License (2.88)
What type of license does this content use? Copyright, Creative Commons o Public Domain?

23. Contributors (2.76)
Have multiple authors and/or contributors participated in the production of this content?


This data has been collected through an open survey with Italian readers. 
English-speaking individuals may have quite a different view on these factors and I invite them to vote their preferred WOW! Factors in order of importance, in a separate survey, I have published here:

Once I have will have at least 100 votes from English-speaking people I will update this page with the new data coming just from English-speaking readers.

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