Some people squirm at the thought of a content audit, while others (like me) revel in the opportunity to create magical spreadsheets that open their eyes to all the latent opportunities hidden in our content libraries. But you don’t have to geek out on Excel (like me) to appreciate all the value your marketing programs can realize from a clear-eyed content audit.
One aim for a content audit is to build and maintain a valuable resource that tracks the content available at any given moment for particular buyer stages, campaigns, topic areas and personas—and in which formats. Another is the ability to identify the strengths, weaknesses and hidden gems stored in your asset library, just waiting to be repurposed or rediscovered.
This marketing task is more science than art—although you could argue there’s a bit of both. The important thing is that you define your goals and identify the characteristics of each piece of content that you’ll want to use to “shop” for content and rate its value in various circumstances.
What Is a Content Audit?
A content inventory is documentation of all your existing content. It’s a great resource, but it’s only the first piece of an audit, which helps you identify gaps in your content and opportunities to reuse content in valuable ways.
There’s more than one circumstance in which you’ll want to conduct an audit. You might want to assess how well your content aligns with current trends and audience pain points. You could be looking for ways to harvest valuable content and avoid the constant need for net-new assets. Or you may need to evaluate the current state of your website content to step up SEO strategy or customer experience.
Content Audit Strategies
Your goals and ambitiousness will determine which tack to take. A comprehensive content audit tackles your entire library. It can be a daunting task, but it’s generally one that pays off over time—particularly if you’re willing to keep it up to date going forward.
Partial audits are perhaps more common, and certainly more manageable. You might choose to audit just your blog content, content focused on a particular product or vertical, or content created over a certain timespan. We’ve even worked with clients who chose to take a random sampling of content to test the waters and understand the trends lurking in their larger libraries—for instance, whether it’s weighted in one buyer stage or stuck in a limited range of formats.
Content marketing audits catalog your existing content assets and important data about each piece—things like topic, creation date, target audience, word count, buyer stage, vertical and where the asset lives.
For interactive assets, you might also track key metrics like time on page or number of social shares. These metrics can uncover trends you can leverage in your content creation plans. You might notice, for example, that longer blog posts consistently drive higher engagement—or vice versa. If readers are responding to shorter posts, you could find ways to edit longer posts into series of shorter posts, for example.
Or you may notice that your audience is engaging more with Instagram than with Facebook, supporting a shift in where you want to invest advertising budgets.
Web Content Audits
A website SEO audit can dig deep into organic search strategy and web analytics. But that’s not the only valuable approach to auditing web content. Expectations for customer experience continue to climb, and that demands a close look not just at your website metrics, but the quality of your web content.
Website experience audits focus more narrowly on the content itself, making sure everything on your site aligns with your marketing strategy. That means assessing how well the content addresses target audience needs and pain points, how fresh it is, how effective it as at guiding prospects through the buyer’s journey and whether it’s organized in a way that makes it easy for visitors to navigate to what they want.
Reading the Results
The work you invest in a content audit can deliver a host of valuable results and offer a variety of paths to make use of those results, from improving overall content quality and diversifying your library to narrowing in on key audiences and identifying the easiest and best-quality assets to repurpose in new campaigns or in fresh formats. Check out How to Make the Most of Content Audit Results for a broader look at audit next steps.
If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work, our 5 Steps to a Successful Content Audit can help you map your way forward. Content4Demand has executed content audits for many clients over the years, and our team is here to work side by side with you to develop each stage of your own content audit. Drop us a line if you’d like help with your plans.
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.