What a content audit helps you discover
improving your content marketing results. It’s something that I recommend every brand – big or small – does at least once a year.hen was the last time that you critically reviewed your content marketing activities? A content audit helps you discover strategic gaps, performance positives (& negatives) & so much more. The end result is a whole load of data & information that you can use to start
5 THINGS A CONTENT AUDIT UNCOVERS
1. How relevant & up to date your content is
It can be easy to get carried away & start writing about the wrong things. Or forgetting to update older content. It’s in situations like these that relevance suffers. Content audits encourage you to spend time considering quality & relevance, making note not only of missing content, but also of information that needs to be refreshed or removed. What’s more, improving relevance comes with a whole load of great benefits, from better search rankings to higher levels of on-page engagement.
2. If your content addresses your customers’ needs
Customers – potential & existing – come to you so you can help them solve a specific problem. They all move through the stages of the buyer decision process, with visitors arriving at your site or on your social media pages at different points in their journey. Your content strategy should be designed to give people the information that they need at each important stage, from awareness of a problem to post-purchase satisfaction (or dissatisfaction). Fail to do this & you’re leaving strategic gaps that your competitors can easily fill.
When you audit your content, you take a number of steps to help you understand & find strategic gaps. This allows you to determine whether or not you’re capturing the attention of people whose problems you can solve. Or if you’re creating useful content that pushes visitors further down your sales funnel. If you’re not addressing your customers’ needs & showing them why you’re their perfect solution, you’re going to find it very difficult to drive more sales or leads.
3. If you’re staying true to your brand
Regardless of whether you have formalised brand guidelines or not, your content should always be ‘on brand’. A content audit will help you find pages that need to be edited if you’ve:
a.) had a re-brand & forgot to update style & tone across a number of pages,
b.) had multiple authors contributing to your website content or blog, or
c.) not really been aware of / dedicated to your brand’s style & tone.
Not convinced that this is so important? If people know your brand for being irreverent & laid back, how do you think they’ll react to a serious, formally worded piece of content on your site? Staying true to your brand & being consistent builds familiarity & trust. It helps people work out whether they like your brand & can relate to it or not.
When it comes to style & tone of voice, some businesses have slightly more complex strategies – for example, a company that markets to B2B brands as well as directly to the consumer. In a situation like this, written communications for B2B brands may be slightly more formal than they are for B2C customers. However, a content audit will still be highly beneficial. Before getting started, it helps to:
a.) Split your initial audit into 2: one for the B2B pages & the other for the B2C.
b.) Check for overlap – are you confusing customers with B2C tone & style in B2B promotions or content?
4. The ease with which your content can be found
Whether it’s a downloadable pdf or a new blog post, if people or search engines can’t find your content, you’ve got a big problem. An audit makes hard-to-find content obvious & is useful for both online & offline content.
Digital content relies heavily on SEO for organic performance. Pages that aren’t well optimised or easily found won’t help you generate the right traffic. That’s why a thorough audit will always take SEO performance & site architecture into consideration. Your results will provide you with information on everything from keywords & keyword cannibalisation to content quality & orphaned pages.
5. Whether your content is helping you achieve goals
A content audit takes you beyond ‘number of visits’ with an in depth look at a variety of important metrics. You’ll uncover pages that, at first glance, appear to be performing well, but might not actually be helping you achieve anything. Or, you’ll stumble across pages that don’t seem to drive much traffic, but regularly generate conversions. By being more aware of performance metrics, you’ll be able to make better decisions about which pages need more attention & how they can be refreshed, without harming relevance or quality traffic levels.
When should you run a content audit?
Unfortunately, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer to the question, ‘when should you run a content audit?’. If you’re changing your strategy or making major changes to your website, an audit beforehand is a must. Other than that, when & how often you run your audit really depends on the time that you have available & the amount of content that you create & share. As a general rule of thumb, I’d recommend auditing at least once a year – more if content is a large part of your marketing strategy. ♦
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Beylkin is the founder of Words on Marketing. She began her marketing career in Australia in 2005, working for an early stage startup. Since this time, she’s worked with brands big & small, from Microsoft & Montcalm Luxury Hotels to Quiz Clothing & cranberry panda. Now based in London, she spends her days helping individuals & brands achieve more with marketing.