Do you know what your content is doing? As you plan your 2018 inbound marketing and content strategies, it’s a very good idea to understand where you’re starting from first. That means conducting a content audit.
A content audit looks at every piece of content you already have online and offline and helps you determine their effectiveness. The process can be complicated, but at its heart, you are trying to determine what is good as-is, what needs to be improved (and how to do so), and what needs to be removed or consolidated. Your goal is to perform a qualitative analysis of your assets.
Here is what you need to consider and how to go about conducting an effective content audit.
Start with a Content Inventory
Before you can do anything, you need to know what content you have. Whether it’s in an Excel spreadsheet or other document, you need to generate a list of all your content.
It’s helpful to include short annotations to explain who owns each piece of content and what kind of content it is (e.g., text, video, etc.). You could also include annotation notes on who created the piece, whether it was made in-house, what format it is in, and when it was created.
Conducting the Audit
Once you have your list, you’re ready to dive into the qualitative analysis of each piece. You’re going to be judging every piece on its value, so it’s best to develop a system and stick with it before you begin. As you go through the audit, you should ask the following questions of each piece.
What’s it about? What is the purpose of this content, and do the titles, headings, etc., deliver on that promise?
Is the content accurate and uptodate? You don’t want the featured post on your blog to be ten years old (especially if it’s talking about services you no longer offer). You’re looking for factual accuracy but also broken hyperlinks and anything else out of time or place.
Is it good for users andfor your business goals? People come to your website for certain reasons, but the reason you put up information on your site isn’t the same. This is very important to keep in mind. As much as possible, ensure your content speaks to both.
There are many more questions you need to ask, so consider including: Is the content logically organized?Are people finding your content? Is it clean and professional (and using a consistent voice)? Does it have effective SEO elements? And importantly, what content is missing?
Once you’ve answered these questions and others that are important to your company’s content, it’s time to enact change. A spreadsheet is no good to your company if you don’t create a plan to update, remove, and improve your content. Use the spreadsheet to find gaps and problems, as well as to identify strengths. Assign tasks to people who will be responsible for making these changes.
As you move forward with developing your content strategy, your content audit will be the most important document you have at your disposal. You can’t make effective decisions if you don’t know what you’re working with. It is a large undertaking for sure, but it’s one of the single most effective ways to improve the ROI of every piece of content you create. Use it effectively and you will see an improvementin how you use your content well into your company’s future.