Content marketers and sales content creators spend a lot of time discussing content. When to publish, what to publish, where to publish … these are all questions that are asked on practically a daily basis. However, one topic that should be discussed more frequently is that of your existing content. What can be reused? What is no longer relevant? How can you get the most value from the work you’ve already completed?
Assessing your past content is an achievable task when you conduct a content audit. Typically your audit should be organized via a spreadsheet that documents all of your types of content, as well as the channels and distribution formats that you use. This list will become your content inventory; from it, you will be able to assess each and every item to determine whether it meets established criteria for “good content.”
What Can You Achieve With A Good Content Audit?
The challenge of digital marketing is that we often produce copious amounts of content. Analyzing all of this content can be overwhelming, which means that we tend to only run a basic check. For example, did people open our email blast(s)? How many clicks did the links get? How many people were converted or successfully completed the desired call to action? These types of questions look at the surface of our content; however, an audit is designed to delve a little deeper.
Through your content audit you can better determine:
- What pages haven’t performed well;
- Which pages are outdated;
- When your information has become obsolete, incomplete, or no longer accurate; and
- Where you have invalid SEO information.
Through the above insights you can begin to streamline site operations for both your company website, as well as its blog. You can also improve existing content, raises the quality of all content, and increase the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. Like all good things, content audits are only effective when they are completed at the right times. In other words, you don’t want to take away from your ability to publish content by becoming bogged down completing one too many audits.
Determining the right audit schedule is made easier with the following guidelines:
- Audits should be completed if you have never done one or if no one can recall when the last one was completed.
- The amount of content that you are publishing has grown significantly since the last time you completed an audit.
- You are interested in developing a new digital content marketing strategy.
- Your content is no longer performing well.
- You are interested in implementing a new content management system.
How Do You Get The Ball Rolling?
While we would love for you to finish reading this post and say, “I’m going to start a content audit today,” the reality is that you should probably complete a few planning steps beforehand.
- Determine where your content marketing strategy is headed.
- Set up content standards; after all, you can’t determine if something is “good” if you don’t define what good means for your marketing goals.
- Assemble a team to help you complete the audit.
- Align your audit with your content strategy by understanding business goals, audience needs, content systems, and (possible) technical constraints.
During the content audit be on the lookout for high-performing content with a relevant shelf life that can be extended via repurposed content. You should also flag an outdated content that needs to be refreshed; conversely an irrelevant or false content should be removed from publication. Additionally, your team should highlight any content that is not consistent with your business missions or goals. In this vein, remember that your content audit should help you to identify areas of strength and weaknesses, so that you can effectively address the weak links.
Throughout the content audit you can complete a few additional tasks that will help to maximize your efforts. These asks include:
- Fixing content that is wrong (provided of course that the content can be easily fixed).
- Deleting orphan pages or microsites that don’t connect to anything.
- Removing or consolidating duplicate content.
- Adding any important content that is missing.
- Reviewing all calls to action to ensure that they align with business goals and objectives.
- Rewriting text that is hard to read or uses complicated jargon.
- Ensuring that all text components are aligned with SEO best practices (we’re looking at you headings, subheadings, titles, and captions).
- Determining if load times are within an acceptable range across devices.
- Assessing metadata, keywords, scroll length, breakpoints, and shareability.
It is important to note that the above list is just a starting point to get your gears turning. Deciding what factors you want to analyze and immediately address will depend entirely on the content you publish, your business goals, and your chosen content marketing strategy.
The Bottom Line: A Good Content Audit Will Strengthen Your Marketing and Sales Efforts
Through a good content audit you can and will strengthen your marketing efforts. The audit will help you to keep your content fresh, relevant, discoverable, and useful to your intended audiences. Now, all that’s left for you to do is to assemble your team, assess your content strategy, and begin your audit to discover what content truly shines and what needs to be addressed for improved marketing results.