If you’re thinking about a content marketing strategy, the first thing you ought to know is how much content you have currently and if it’s any good. Chances are good that you do have strong content, but you may be required to uncover it like a prospector digging the earth for gems.
The key to a good excavation is the tool you use. In the case of content marketing, your tool is the content audit.
A content audit is a process that enables you to look carefully into your brand’s existing content—both digitally and in print —and to evaluate how well that content performs at moving your prospects down the buying journey.
What is the Purpose of a Content Audit?
Before you begin, you must understand the purpose of your audit. Without a goal in mind, you can waste a lot of time (because audits aren’t quick) and end up no better than where you started.
Your audit may be to:
- Understand the content you have today and how effective it is.
- Map existing content to a new website sitemap (usually done during redesign projects).
- Make sure you are hitting all phases of the buyer’s journey.
- Ensure you're creating content for all your personas.
- Track a bunch of variables around your content including URL, title, author, etc.
- Prioritize content based on metrics (visits, views, conversions).
- Determine what content needs to be updated or repurposed.
- Find content gap opportunities and foster content ideas and editorial calendars.
- Develop content agnostic to a format.
- Provide an easily accessible place for navigating to the pages you need to audit.
Building Your Audit
While your audit is one of your most effective tools, it doesn’t require fancy tools itself. A spreadsheet as simple as Excel or Google Docs will get the job done. We recommend Google Docs so you can provide shared editing access to other team members. Plus, it’s cloud-based and updated in real-time, so you don’t have to worry about file versioning issues (ex: content-audit-v1, content-audit-v2, content-audit-v2.1, and so on and so on).
Some more robust (and thus premium) tools include Kapost, Content.ly, and NewsCred.
You Have Your Audit—Now What?
Now that you understand your audit’s goals, we want to share some tips for how to use your audit’s findings.
1. Don’t build content to fulfill a certain channel.
Build adaptive content that considers the consumer experience across all channels. You must optimize the entire buyer's journey regardless of the communication channel being used.
2. Take baby steps to understand what your process looks like.
You need to define a strategic process before you make an attempt to take on more content. Creating content can be an overwhelming task, and you should not try to tackle everything all at once. Prioritize specific gap opportunities that you’d like to focus on for the short term.
3. Don’t be afraid to use the content you have today.
Save yourself time and stress by editing or repurposing content you already have. This will give you a head start on the content creation process and will allow you to reinforce your original message. By turning old blog posts into a Slideshare or infographic, you can reach a new audience and continue to gain value.
Ready to Audit?
Although a big undertaking, creating an inventory of your existing content pieces and compiling data for each item will help you make more informed marketing decisions for your overall content strategy. Once you complete this task you can go on to create content that resonates and leaves an impact on your audience.