Why a Content Audit Should be an Essential Part of Your Marketing Strategy
The cornerstone of any content marketing strategy should be a regular content audit. A thorough analysis of content will ensure it stays relevant and engaging, and, most importantly, help it to meet a company’s short and long term objectives.
Questions content managers and marketers need to ask themselves include:
- Is content consistent and accurate?
- Does it meet the needs and expectations of the target audience?
- Is it optimised for search?
- Is it generating traffic?
- And, most importantly, is it generating conversions?
Essentially, a content marketing audit helps businesses to assess where they are now so they can get to where they want to be. The auditing process should include analysis of every single content channel that is in use, from social media through to website content and print media.
Ideally you create a spreadsheet which contains these items:
- Platform (your website, Facebook, somewhere else)
- URLs (so you can find it later)
- Title of item
- Intended audience
- Images (if included)
- Videos (if included)
- Internal links (if included)
- External links (if included)
Sustainable Content is Everything
Publishing content is simple. In just a few clicks an article can be published and available for all the world to see. This can make it tempting to publish everything and anything, and without much thought for how useful or relevant that content is for readers.
Content is a direct reflection of a business. For this reason, sustainable content is everything. Content should be fresh, useful, and provide real value to the reader. If content fails to deliver, it should either be ditched, rewritten, or combined with other content so that it better serves the target audience.
Identifying What Works and What Doesn’t
It is essential that any content audit adds value and helps marketing teams to get a better return on their content activities. By listing all content URLs, content owners, and important metrics (page views, content shares, likes and retweets, etc.) in a content inventory, a business can understand what is working and what needs to be reviewed.
The primary goal of any content audit is to address content performance and improve it. This may mean making decisions about existing content, such as:
- It’s working well – keep it as it is and review often to ensure continued success.
- It worked, but is no longer working – can anything be done to make it work again?
- It’s not performing well – decide whether to remove it or to merge with other content.
By carrying out a regular review of content, a business can gain more clarity, reach a consensus across teams, improve content performance and create more sustainable content practices.
Content Audit – Measure for Success
A good digital marketing strategy involves constantly testing what works by measuring the results. Over time and with regular testing, pages and pages of successful content can be amassed that continue to meet business goals for many years to come. The best thing is that this content can be revamped and repeated year on year. It all comes down to finding that sustainable content in the first place.
Using tools such as Google Analytics will help you to define key consumption metrics such as:
- Page views: the number of times a page on your website has been viewed.
- Users: the total number of unique visitors or users that have visited a particular page on your website.
- Unique page views: this metric shows you how many times a user viewed a page within the same session.
- Average time on page: this metric shows you how long a user spent browsing a page and gives you a good indication of how well a page is performing.
- Pages/Session: this is the metric that will show you just how many pages a user viewed in a single session on your website.
- Referral traffic: gives you an overview of which websites are linking to and sharing your content.
Avoid Stagnant and Dry Content
A company party. A recent award. Attending the latest industry seminar. These may be interesting to people within the business, but are they really interesting to an external audience and potential customers? It is so important to measure the success of every single page that is published and to cull the content that is simply not bringing results.
Another point to note is that just because a business may be operating in what could be perceived as a “boring” industry, it doesn’t mean their content has to be dry.
Short form content, long form content and rich media
A content audit should identify marketing channels that are relevant to a business. For example, using rich media such as video, podcasts, and interactive web pages could help to deliver content in a much more exciting and accessible way. It is also sensible to define the length of your content. For example, long form content is perfect for delivering a monthly blog post that adds real take away value for readers, while short form content is ideal for snappier advisory posts or posts delivering news items.
Creating a Blueprint for Content Success
Once you’ve created your content inventory and conducted an audit, it’s time to consider the future. A content blueprint is a good way to identify and define all future content and helps marketing teams to plan what they are going to publish in the future and where. Developing these documents can also help to identify and schedule seasonal content, as well as slotting in trending topics on an ad hoc basis.
Final Thoughts on content audits
A content audit shouldn’t be just a one-off task. Regular audits should be incorporated into your content strategy to ensure informed marketing decisions are made that can save time and money, generate visitors and conversions, and improve the marketing return on investment.