Make auditing part of your content planning process.
You may be wondering what a content audit is? I was in the same boat as you once. It sounds complicated, boring and not overly useful but it couldn’t be further from the truth.
A content audit is a tool that every marketer needs up their sleeve. Done effectively, it will save you time, money and help keep you focused on what’s really important.
Content audits come in different shapes and sizes but essentially a content audit is a qualitative analysis of all your content. In other words, organising and analysing your content all in one place. It is super important to do this at least once a year, even if your content is performing well.
Why? Because content that is getting lots of visitors or shares isn’t necessarily achieving your KPIs. And lets face it, content marketing is a waste of time if you aren’t meeting your objectives. It’s an even bigger waste of time if you don’t have any objectives to start with...
Understand why you are doing a content audit before you start.
Before you start you need to set some goals for the auditing process. What is the focus of the content audit? Why are you creating it? What are your goals? Craft SMART goals and it will make judging the effectiveness of the audit a whole lot easier.
There are many reasons why you would create an audit, but it is important to define your focus. Broadly, there are 3 main areas that you could focus on; your user, your business and SEO. More on this later.
It’s business time. To begin, below is a simple auditing checklist that anyone can use to make their content audit awesome.
1) Create a content inventory
- Use a spreadsheet to list all of your content by title, format, buyer stage, funnel stage, persona and URL path.
2) Create a content audit
- In the same spreadsheet, use 3 sets of criteria to assess each piece of content; user, business & SEO. Create an action column where you decide whether you want to improve, remove or keep your content the same.
3) Provide recommendations
- Use your data to suggest ways in which you can improve your content for your user, business and SEO.
Your content inventory is where you list and organise all of your content such as blogs, podcasts, videos etc. You can organise your inventory in a variety of ways but here at Blue Eye Deer, we use the inbound methodology. Assign a number and list out all of your content by title, format, buyer stage, funnel stage, persona and URL path.
Now that you have created your content inventory; are there any visible gaps? Do you have enough variety in your content? Is there enough content for each buyer stage? Are you catering for all of your personas? Next, we need to create the content audit.
Your content audit is where you start assessing each piece of content based on set criteria. For the sake of simplicity, create the audit in the same file as you created the inventory. Give each piece of content a score out of 10 based on user, business and SEO. Then create an overall column and tally up the averages for each criterion. Lastly, create an action column where you decide what to do with each piece of content.
User: Your user is everyone who consumes your content. This criterion is from your users' perspective. Did your users share your blog article? Did they leave comments? Was the feedback mostly positive? If the answer was repeatedly no, then your blog post would receive a low rank for user.
Business: This criterion is from your businesses’ perspective. Did your content generate new leads? How qualified were these leads? How many of these leads became customers? If your content helped achieve your KPIs, then you would give it a higher business score.
SEO: This criterion is from the search engines’ perspective. Did your users find your video? How did they find the video? Did they tend to watch the entire video or not? If your users couldn’t find your video then it would receive a low rank for SEO.
Action: This is where you decide what to do with each piece of content. You can choose to improve, remove or decide to leave the content the same.
Now that we have created a content inventory and content audit; we can move onto the really important part: using the data. Assessing your content at an individual basis is a helpful exercise but we need to simplify all of this raw data. Here’s how you do it:
List all your different content formats (blogs, podcasts, videos etc.). Now, use the =AVERAGE formula and find the mean scores for all your different content types. For example, for all your blogs, you will have an average score for your user, business and SEO.
Now it's easy to see how our content is performing and areas where we can improve. In our example, videos on average are outperforming all other forms of content whereas podcasts are performing poorly. Do you drop podcasts from your content plan? Do you allocate more of the budget towards videos?
Let’s assume that we want to improve our blog performance. From the table we can see that our blogs scored lowest in the business criterion. This could be for a number of reasons. Broadly speaking, our blogs didn’t achieve enough of the business objectives. Once you understand what isn’t going well, you can take steps to improve your blogs in the future. Do this for all of your content and you will reap the benefits in the long run.
After you have created your first content inventory and audit, you will have a better understanding of your content's strengths and weaknesses. You will be able to use this data to make better decisions about what content you should produce and how to improve your content at a micro and macro level.By analysing your content based on your user, business and SEO; you will know exactly how to improve each content type. Steady improvements over time will turn your content from average to excellent. And that's what we are all aiming for.