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Conducting a Content Audit
a person writing on a piece of paper with a cup of coffee

Content audits. The word ‘audit’ brings pictures of tedium and boredom. I’d like to call it a ‘content investigation’ to make it sound more interesting, but in all actuality, an audit is an audit no matter how we try to spin it.

Why It’s Important

You need content audits to fully maximize your success. Analyzing your past strategy is how you can make pertinent changes and move forward equipped with knowledge and experience. You can get some great insights into what’s worked for you and what hasn’t so you can adjust your plans accordingly.

Everything in the business world seems to change rapidly. When looking back at old content you can find outdated information. You may even find things that aren’t relevant at all anymore to your industry. It’s the perfect ‘spring cleaning’ activity. Brush up those blogs or even delete them completely if they don’t resonate with your brand any longer!

As Mr. Terry Pratchett says;

If you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.

So just buckle down and dive in. It’ll be over before you know it.

Where In The World To Start?

A content audit goes beyond a basic accounting of what you have created or posted in the past. Although gathering this information is part of the process, it goes deeper than that.

It will help you understand what you’ve done and how it performed and it will give you a good layout of where you can and should go moving forward. Any new marketing plan should begin with a content audit. Diving into a content audit should always have a purpose and a goal.

There are questions you should ask yourself while looking over this information:

  • What parts of my content are doing the best?
  • What resonated most with my audience?
  • What might be out of place?
  • Is there content that no longer services my goals?
  • What are some gaps in my content for the different stages of my sales/marketing funnel?
  • Can I consolidate any of this content?
  • What pages have high impressions but low conversions?

Scope of Audit

What metrics are you itching to find out about? Are you looking to overhaul all your plans and head in a totally new direction?

Do you just want an update on some great progress you’ve already had? You need to pin down exactly what it is you think you want to look for to make this process streamlined and efficient.

The Steps!

1)  The spreadsheet. I bet you knew this one was coming. Gather up all your content. If you only have a few pages, you may not be too miffed about doing this manually. If you’ve been churning out heavy content over the past year, you may want to look into an automated tool that can export this information for you and save you the headache and carpal tunnel.

Dyno Mapper, Screaming Frog, and seoptimer are good ones to look into. There are also some pre-made templates that can really help you out, made by some handy people who share their resources online.

2)  When gathering or exporting your information, set up conditions. This will help you organize your content. For example, in WordPress, use the Content Audit Player and customize it to your specifications.

Organize content in a way that prioritizes your goals for your audit. Depending on what your content audit is focusing on, you could be looking for:

  • Meta Description
  • ALT Text
  • Bounce Rates
  • Inbound Links
  • Tags
  • Word Count
  • CTAs
  • Conversion Rates
  • And on and on and on….

3)  Making sense of this information is where the real strategy comes in. The mechanics of pulling all the information may be tedious, but it isn’t hard. Analyze. Brainstorm. Have a fresh set of eyes look at your audit. How can you improve? How can you optimize? What were you unhappy with?

This is a wonderful starting point to improving your business performance and really getting value out of the time you spend marketing and writing content.

The pitfall of many businesses is that they blindly go into content marketing thinking as long as they are throwing out information, people will come and therefore, turn into sales. As we know through the method of demand generation, this isn’t true.

So embrace your audit. It’s more friend than foe.

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