You shouldn’t do a content audit just because all the content strategy experts tell you to. Before you start, have some content audit goals in mind so that all the work that goes into it will pay off in measurable dividends.
Why do a content audit in the first place?
There’s a reason why content marketing leadership refers to pieces of content as “assets.” They’re every bit as essential to doing business as the machinery that creates your products, or the developers who create your software.
Like taking an inventory of your stock or auditing your company’s finances, you need to look at your content to gauge its current state, and how it is performing. But if you don’t have specific goals in mind when you begin your audit, the entire exercise may not be as fruitful as you expect.
So, let’s start by looking at your marketing goals. Then consider your company’s overall business goals. Lastly, set goals for your teams that help drive the enterprise toward its target numbers. Here are some goals we’ve found essential when we conduct our content audits.
1. Learn What Content You Need to Create More (and Less) Of
During your audit, you’ll discover some common threads among your top-performing content. Note those commonalities and jot them down in your content planning notes. As Content Marketing Institute’s Marcia Riefer Johnston points out, doing so can make a considerable impact on not only your teams’ performance but also on your company’s overall business.
On the other side of the coin, finding similarities among your poorest performers can help you determine what kinds of content don’t work with your target audience. You’ll save time, and your company will save money by avoiding content that doesn’t connect your brand with its audience.
2. Identify and Refresh Dated Content
If your company is like most larger corporations, you have a content repository that dates back to when parachute pants were a thing. Even though the topic might still interest your current audience, the SEO and internal references need a fresh coat of proverbial paint.
Refresh Your SEO
You’ll probably cringe a little when you come across some keyword-stuffed articles from the mid-2000s. Especially if you wrote it.
If the information in the articles is still valuable to your audience, it’s well worth your time to assign your current team to update them. Similarly, track down broken or outdated links and replace them with trusted sources in today’s world.
Refresh Your Imagery
Fashion trends change, as does interior décor. Your audience will notice if your images show people and places from a decade ago. Replace them with on-trend imagery that resonates with your current prospects.
Refresh References to Current Events
Ten years from now, your audience won’t probably remember the coronavirus pandemic that has thrown our world in such a tizzy over the past two years. Your older content probably contains references to current events happening in its timeframe.
Look for those references and update them to something your current audience will relate to. Like visual images, your verbal imagery paints a portrait of the world in which you live.
Make sure that your content reflects today’s world. During your content audit, identify any dated references and update them.
For example, if you reference “this year’s election” in a 2018 blog post, be sure to revise it to say, “the 2018 election.” Or, you might have to revamp whole sections, depending on the context of the event.
Chances are, huge portions of those “Coronavirus and X” articles your C-suite demanded that you churn out will end up on the cutting room floor a few years from now. Keep timeless value in mind when you create new content so that your teams won’t have to waste so much time revising it in future years.
3. Find Promising Ideas You Can Develop
In a recent post, Brock Stechman pointed out that some of our content assets don’t even see the light of day. They start out as promising ideas but end up as “unfinished symphonies.”
For instance, you might not have had time to fully develop and research them. Or, even more likely, your teams might have gotten busy with more time-sensitive work and forgot to revisit them.
So, during your content audit, don’t forget to check your idea repository. With topic ideas (and possibly, even some research) already in place, your teams will be one step ahead of starting from scratch.
4. Look for Content That Could Gain More Traction in a New Form
If you have content that has performed well in one form, think about repurposing it in a new incarnation, as the Hileman Group’s Bri Long advises. Just think, your teams have already done most of the research, published the content, and probably revised it over time.
All you need to do is look for a new audience, repurpose it in a form that this audience would appreciate, and publish it. Some ideas include:
- Turn a popular blog post into a video to reach people who don’t have time to read.
- Create a podcast series from an ebook that drove sales through the roof.
- Expand a blog post into a white paper.
- Create an infographic from original research.
- Host a webinar to expand on ideas in a short video or blog post.
5. Identify Content That Gets Little to No Engagement
Some content simply doesn’t connect with your target audience. If it would take more time to revise it than you can spare at the moment – or if it doesn’t support your company’s business goals – cut it from your public-facing content.
If the content has some redeeming value, move it to your idea repository. Include a short note that can tip your creative teams off to the content’s poor performance. That way, they can take the best from the content but take it in a more audience-friendly direction.
6. Find Content That Doesn’t Adhere to Your Current Style Guide
As grammatical and other linguistic trends change, your corporate style manual usually changes with it. Flag older content that you published before the current iteration of your style manual and task your editorial team to update it with their meticulous attention to detail.
7. Look Over Your Content Analytics Before You Begin Your Content Audit
To meet your content audit goals, you first need to discover how your content is performing over time. Having a robust content analytics solution allows you to combine all your marketing analytics into a single platform.
There, you can see at a glance how your content performs with each audience segment and the timeframe it was most effective. And, with your goals already in place, you can take a deeper dive to see which content to target first in your audit.
When you have a content marketing platform that can handle everything from the first spark of an idea to publishing your content and analyzing its reach, it makes it easier to realize the goals you set for your content audit. With DivvyHQ, you have everything you need to reach your targets.
And the best news? You can try it for free for 14 days. Start your free trial today!