And now I’m going to tell you all about content audits and why they’re… “YAWWWWWWWWWWWN”.
There’s no dressing it up. Content audits sound really boring.
So boring in fact, that you’d be forgiven for nodding off at the mere mention of them.
But just like your Gran taught you, never judge a book by its cover.
The content audit is cleverly camouflaged, masquerading as a pointless snoozefest, when it’s actually a vital process needed to drive your content strategy forward.
You know that top-notch content is critical for your business.
And you think the standard of your content is pretty damn good.
But how do you actually know what’s working? Are there gaps that you could be filling? Opportunities you should be seizing? Existing content that could be revamped to increase engagement?
The answer is: Yes. It’s highly likely.
Which is where the content audit comes in. Ready to give you that solid foundation of knowledge you need to make smarter decisions.
Because without it, you may as well be hitting and hoping. Kinda like playing darts with your eyes closed.
So, here it is – a look at all the clever things a content audit can do for your company (and why getting a content agency on board is a smart move).
Let’s get down to business.
So. A content audit. What’s it all about?
Simply put, a content audit is a process that takes an up-close and personal look at how your content is performing.
Web pages, blog posts, landing pages, infographics, slide decks, podcasts, downloadable content. The lot.
Even the ancient, cringeworthy pieces that you thought were long buried.
By taking a detailed look at the metrics that belong to each piece of content, you can make informed decisions about what stays, what needs a makeover and what has to go – like a long overdue spring clean.
Here’s what a content audit can do for your content strategy:
- Highlight what content is working best (and worst)
- Improve your SEO performance
- Help you to stand out as thought-leaders within your industry
- Plug any content gaps and show new opportunities
- Pinpoint which topics have high impressions but low conversions
- Remove content that is no longer inline with your brand
- Inspire a plan for future content
- Help to manage time and resources. Where should you be focusing your efforts?
So as you can see, if you have a strategic content, the pay-off is priceless.
Let’s take a closer look at how to tame the content audit beast and break it down into more manageable steps.
STEP ONE: SET YOUR GOALS AND METRICS
Running a content audit is a mammoth task. No glossing over it.
So before you set out, it’s wise to set some clearly-defined goals. It provides a focus to the audit and stops you from falling down a content audit black hole.
What do you hope to gain? What results will be most useful to get your hands on? What changes would you ultimately like to see?
Here’s a little idea of what your goals might look like:
- Improve SEO performance
- Boost subscription rates
- Grow audience engagement
Once you’ve got those firmly in mind, you’ll need to match up your goals with some relevant content metrics.
Let’s take ‘grow audience engagement’ as an example.
Grow audience engagement
- Discover what topics my audience are most interested in
- Find out what content types are most popular (videos, blog posts etc)
- What is getting the most engagement on socials?
Say you want to find out what topics your audience are most interested in. So you’d want to see specific metrics such as page views, comments, likes, shares, average sessions duration etc. You could then use this data to plan future content, like for your blog for example.
Matching up your goals to some tangible metrics will not only keep you on track, but it will also shine a light on how effective your content audit has been.
To delve deeper into the world of content metrics, check out this blog post .
Now you’ve got clear goals and eyes on the prize, it’s time for step two.
STEP TWO: INVENTORY TIME
As the old saying goes….everyone loves an inventory.
OK, you’re right. No one has ever said that.
That’s because it takes a LOT of time. A LOT of patience. And a LOT of brainpower.
But never fear, there are options that will make it a whole lot easier.
Whilst you can roll up your sleeves and do it yourself, there are a host of online tools available to help you. Tools like Semrush and Screaming Frog.
These tools will crawl your site and gather all the URLs together into one document. Which is not only super useful but will save a bunch of time too.
Once you have your URLs in one place, your online tool can catalogue them by sorting them into different criteria
- Content type (blog post, social post)
- Content format (text only, image)
- Awareness stage (MoFu, ToFu, you know the drill. Here’s a little memory refresh, just in case.)
- Number of words
- Date published/modified
Once you’ve got your entire content collection mapped out in front of you, it’s time to get down to the data.
STEP THREE: COLLECTING YOUR DATA
Gathering all the data for your master spreadsheet can be complex.
Again, while you could do it yourself, an online tool will help you on your way, as it will automatically collect data according to your goals and metrics.
Which makes life a WHOLE lot easier.
Different online tools will help with different data. Check out this blog post that breaks it all down.
Before you start, be sure to add some additional columns to your spreadsheet, all ready for your data to jump into.
Which may look a little something like this:
- Page views
- Average time on page
- Social shares
- Bounce rate
- Number of images
- Mobile friendliness?
- Outdated content?
HANDY HINT: Remember to collect your metadata, as you might need to update your titles, meta descriptions and H1s at the same time.
STEP FOUR: MAKING SENSE OF YOUR DATA
You’ve got your data. Now what?
It’s time to bring out the big guns.
What do those sea of numbers actually mean?
It’s a critical step and one that needs a lot of time and thought.
By using an expert content agency (cough cough), you’ll not only get the personal touch of a tailored process, but you’ll get your own team dedicated to your project.
Which is awesome.
What that comes with:
- A human extension of your team – who will take the time to get to know you and your business
- A step-by-step guide through the entire process
- Fine tooth-combing of your data and in-depth analysis of your results
- Much-needed human interaction to make sense of a whole load of data output.
The thing is, whilst an online tool is great for a whole load of data output, there’s no getting to know you (and your business). Which is waaaaay less useful in our book.
STEP FIVE: ASSESS YOUR CONTENT ASSETS
Ever played that game ‘Marry, Kiss, Avoid?’
Well this is kinda like the content audit version of that…
You get to decide what content to keep, to update or to bin.
If content is performing well and stays true to your brand, then you’ll probably want to keep it around a bit longer.
If you discover content that’s falling flat on its face, a content agency can help get to the bottom of the whys and hows.
We’ve all been guilty of churning out content and then forgetting about it. But a content marketing agency can show you how it can be repurposed to make it more useful/compelling/optimised for conversions.
If updating a piece of content will eat up too much people-power or time, then it could be time to wave goodbye. Same goes for an out-of-date seasonal campaign or something that’s no longer in line with your brand.
Sometimes it’s just time to let it go.
STEP FIVE: DRAW UP AN ACTION PLAN
This is where it gets exciting – it’s action time.
You take all the solid knowledge that your content audit has given you and come up with a fresh, powerful plan for the future.
Your very own agency team will:
- Help you to set out a strategic plan to improve your current content strategy, keeping your business goals in mind.
- Create an action plan for each URL.
Your personal content agency team will help you to decide the best plan for each piece of content. You might want to add images or videos. Or maybe rewrite headlines or optimise internal linking.
Whatever is needed, your team will show you the way.
- Prioritise your goals – how achievable are your goals inline with the effort required?
E.g Introducing a different CTA might be minimal effort with big results as opposed to rewriting a whitepaper that will take a lot of time and not see many results.
How does it flow?
Remember that it’s important to keep your content connected. For example, do your lead magnets generate a drip email campaign to the next step? Do your blog posts interlink between other blog posts on your site?
Adjust your content strategy
You’re clued-up on what’s working and you’re keeping your long-term goals in mind.
A content agency will help you decide how your content strategy can be tweaked.
They can also help you work out the frequency of your audits. At least once a year is a rule of thumb, but it might be more frequent depending on the amount of content, type of industry etc.
An (awesome) content agency will have tons of experience creating compelling content for your business. They will help steer your content in the direction it needs to go and craft the perfect copy to go with it. The cherry on top.
And now here you are.
Armed with your new, secret weapon.
Looking forward to future content that’s fresh, hitting the mark and bringing all the conversions in.
Remember: always keep in-line with your goals and brand.
Made a load of changes? It doesn’t mean they’ll be relevant forever. You want to be constantly reviewing and looking at new ways to reach, engage and convert your audience.
There’s no doubt it’s a task for the long haul. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be interesting too, with sky’s-the-limit benefits.
And remember, help is always at hand, ready to spring into action at the click of a button.
If you want to check out other ways that a content agency can help your strategy, check our blog post on why you might be hitting a brick wall with your content.