How to undergo a strategic content audit

By: Chris Thompson on July 6, 2017 Categories: Content Marketing, Content Strategy
Strategic Content Audit Blog Image 1

“If you’re not putting out relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist,” says Gary Vaynerchuck, social media strategist and author of “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World”.
Very true – but as all marketers know, that is easier said than done. A survey from Contents Magazine shows that 65% of participants think that digital content is hit or miss. (Issue 3, Contents Magazine). Not that we need a survey. Just check your latest Google analytics reports. Some of your posts may have done very well, and others have disappeared into the Internet abyss.

Content Audits can help you create more relevant content

The good news is that your content successes and failures have already provided you with valuable clues on your market’s appetite. All you need to do it just need to do is undergo a strategic content audit.  Most content audits end up in a forgotten folder, filed under “Reports that Nobody Wants to Do, and Will Likely Never Read Again.” However, digital marketing consultant Cathy McKnight says that this can be the starting point of a powerful content strategy.

“Content audits help you weed out poorly performing pages, make okay content better, and focus on what you’re good at,” she said at the 2017 Intelligent Content Conference. “It can establish a voice for your brand and create a more meaningful customer experience.”

Find out what your customers are looking for

As you do your content audit, take note of the pages or posts that received the most traffic. These are a great indication of what your customers really want to hear from your brand.

Examine the other pages. What could be turning them away? Maybe the content or links can be improved; maybe the customers just really don’t care. Analyze and decide whether to fix it or simply delete it. Don’t dilute your message or distract your reader with irrelevant content.

McKnight says that marketers can no longer measure content success with the time spent on site. Readers simply get the information they want and then leave. In that context, your job isn’t to create a lot of mediocre content, but organize and perfect your most meaningful content. The only way to know that is to perform an audit.

Tag and flag confusing or frustrating content

Tag your content according to theme/core concepts, goals, stage in your customer buying cycle. Check it against search terms. Do you have content to address these concerns? If you can’t give them the solution, they’ll go somewhere else.

Also flag content that will make it difficult for readers to get what they want.  This includes:

·    duplicate content

·    dead links

·    broken images

·    missing data

·    scroll length

·    load time

·    technical jargon / overall readability

·    break points

·    weak calls to action

·    inconsistent style guide

Update or refresh your content

Your brand may have evolved since your last content audit. You may have acquired new brands, or have discontinued products since. You may even have expired promos, orphaned pages, or seasonal stories that need to be archived.

McKnight says you may want to refresh content – and there is nothing wrong with giving an old story a new spin. Your content audit may reveal the tone or format that your market loves. Go back to your other pages and apply those strategies to see a leap in engagement.

Evaluate your content machinery

A content audit will often reveal problems in strategy or workflow. You’ll see if your messages are aligned with the brand image you want to create, or the market you want to target. You may discover constraints or breakdowns in your system.

But that’s a good thing – if you know the problem, you can fix it.  A content audit can be a turning point in your content strategy. or even your workflow. In the end, it may offer not just a clue on how to be relevant, but how to be efficient.

Would you like to learn more about content audits and creating topical and evergreen content? Join our AMA webinar with Noz Urbina on July 21st at 1pm EST/ 10am PST titled: “Playing to Win with Intelligent Content: how to create topical & evergreen content at scale”, and learn how to create content that bridges the divide between the latest ‘hot’ topics and content that outlives the rest by being useful for audiences over long periods of time.