We’re sprinting toward the end of the year, and you know what that means: Last-minute campaigns that need to be launched and urgent requests from your sales and product counterparts. How can we possibly create more content, faster? We’re already feeling squeezed for time, budget and resources. Ladies and gentlemen, meet … the content audit.
No, I’m not just talking about a content inventory or a running list of assets and their locations. I’m talking about a detailed content audit that delves into format types, buyer’s stage alignment, target persona and so much more.
When you perform a content audit, your team gets an in-depth view into your entire content history, can better identify gaps and, most of all, find content that’s prime for reusing and repurposing. Sometimes, though, you’ll get not-so-great insight. You’ll uncover old, irrelevant and, in some cases, straight up bad content that should never again see the light of day. I’ve gone through my fair share of audits, so I thought it would be helpful to share some of the red flags we typically spot during our projects.
During the auditing process, your team will want to categorize assets by buyer’s stage, so it’s easy to narrow down the asset pool based on needs and goals. Upon looking closer, auditors may find that an asset designed to inform, educate and inspire is actually doing a hard sell. There’s nothing sneakier than promoting a “thought leadership” asset that’s jam-packed with solution mentions and language around why your company is so great, so this is something your team will want to note and address ASAP.
Data is the lifeblood of great content. It empowers marketers to validate trends and paint detailed pictures of the challenges and realities that readers are facing. But data is getting generated faster than ever, and more sources are developing proprietary research panels and survey reports. That means the lifespan of content is shorter, especially for data-rich markets such as retail, IT and financial services.
Consider your industry, available data sources and your audience’s reliance on data when assessing your content. Typically, if a piece is rich in data that’s two or more years old, we flag it and recommend that the content be updated. You also may have assets that refer to “current events” such as new partnerships, acquisitions or regulations. Anything that is positioned as new or timely in your content should be assessed closely, as it may impact how evergreen your content is.
Later-stage content should be closely assessed to determine if all messaging accurately reflects brand positioning and, most importantly, your technology, solutions and services. You may want to do more frequent content reviews for these pieces based on your company’s unique product and services roadmap. You’ll also want to note whether assets make any distinct mentions of campaign messaging or taglines that are no longer relevant.
Let’s get real, we’ve all had moments when we’ve been super proud of content assets, only to look back on them and mutter, What were we thinking?
Maybe the graphic design looks amateurish or an asset has a few typos or grammatical issues. These issues should be flagged and noted, so if an asset meets the needs of your team, they know to review the piece closely and make any necessary updates and improvements.
This includes anything and everything outside of editorial and design issues. Are there links in your document that aren’t working? Are there videos that won’t play? Are readers being redirected to a broken or nonexistent link?
This may seem like nitpicky stuff, but all these things impact your audience’s experience with your content. And if you’re creating a confusing or frustrating experience, that will ultimately impact the way they perceive your brand and your solutions. By recording which assets have these issues and leaving notes on any updates that need to be made, you’ll create a clear action plan for anyone who may want to use these assets in the future.
Over the years, the Content4Demand team has developed a proprietary auditing process that allows us to dig deep into the timeliness, quality and effectiveness of content. Through this in-depth approach, we empower our partners to get a granular view of their content, identify gaps and find efficient and effective ways to meet their marketing objectives. Check out our playbook to learn more about some key auditing best practices or learn more about our approach.
Alicia Esposito is VP of Content for Retail TouchPoints. Formerly a Senior Content Strategist for Content4Demand, she oversaw the content and editorial strategy for B2B clients in a variety of industries. She also helped company partners and clients with their content strategy and creation efforts and has a passion for crafting immersive and relevant content experiences using new approaches to storytelling, interactive formats, influencers and more. When she’s not dwelling over all things branding, messaging and content strategy, she’s spending quality time with her family, binging on Netflix or eating guacamole.