The underlying purpose of a content audit is not to go through your existing content like your mom going through your Facebook photos. Rather, a content audit is used as a starting point for refreshing your content development strategy, website redesign, content strategy and much more. In today’s In-Sites, explore how to refresh your brand message by updating your website with a dynamic content audit.
The easiest way to turn off your community members is to broadcast the same message across multiple channels. Instead, determine the kind of content that interests the members of your community in a way that is useful to them.—Joe Pulizzi
The purpose of a dynamic content audit
Dynamic content or smart content is a website, blog, banner, or another form of digital content that reflects the current interests and habits of your audience — or reasons why they are visiting your website in the first place. With that said, the purpose of a dynamic content audit is reviewing your content to see how and where you are not resonating with your audience.
For example, if your blog series was a great area for leads but has been slowly declining within the past few quarterly reports, you may be in need of a new content strategy or a content audit. If you’re social media engagement has increased but only because of certain posts that contain images and video, you are in need of a content audit.
Content audits help you define:
- What forms of content resonate with your audience,
- What topics you’ve discussed relate to the current pain points of your audience,
- And identifies spaces in your content marketing strategy that need to be updated, thrown out, or reuse to explore newer information within that old topic.
So despite whether you are increasing or decreasing in leads, return on investment, etc., you need to know where that source and how it can either be improved or sustained in order to benefit your audience and your content marketing strategy.
Key reasons for a content audit
Each content audit changes depending on what your goal is for the audit. It will determine how much time you have to complete it, and what information you are looking to yield from it. With that said, here are a few reasons you may need a content audit for your website or overall content marketing materials:
- To avoid SEO penalties: There are many ways you can get hit by search engines, especially with Google. A content audit can help recognize where those penalties are in order to get rid of them. In fact, Kissmetrics provided 50 Reasons Your Website Deserves to Be Penalized By Google as well as ways on how to deal with Google penalization.
- To match the needs of your audience: Especially if you are a content creating machine, it might be difficult to know where your content is creating the most impact. A content audit will determine what topics and forms of content really engage with your audience. And successful content is usually created around your audience’s current pain points and needs.
- To re-establish tone and voice for your brand, product, or service: A content audit is definitely needed if you need to refamiliarize yourself with your brand. You don’t want to give your audience mixed messages due to impersonal content. Sincerely connect with your audience by going back to the basics and refreshing your knowledge about who you are as a brand and also what you mainly provide for your audience.
- To review or take inventory of your assets: Regardless of how much existing content you have, it is good practice to review and take inventory around the topics you create, the forms of content those topics are created in, and measuring how effective they are in relation to your goals. Reviewing and taking inventory of your assets is especially helpful when developing or redesigning a website or determining what content offers you have on hand to include in your lead nurturing workflows.
- To determine content gaps that can be filled through relevant content creation: Sometimes existing topics just aren’t relevant anymore. That’s why with a content audit, you can explore where these content gaps exist and how you can provide a fresh new video or infographic that reengages your audience.
- To seek out your most valuable content: If you’re company creates a ton of content, sometimes you can drown your most prized pieces. Especially if they generated high social engagement or lead conversion, you don’t want these gems to fall into the abyss. But with a content audit, you can map them out and keep for future use like as a content creation template or perfect example of tone and brand messaging.
- To improve content effectiveness: If you know that some of your recent work has been really effective lately, you want to create a strategy that maintains this momentum to use as a template or guide for future creations. A content audit thrives off templating and mapping out your content’s effectiveness. Using this tool while reviewing old gems is basically skipping two jumps with one rock.
Behind every piece of bad content is an executive who asked for it.— Michael Brenner
For more information, the main process looks like the following:
Establish where you need to audit your website
Establish a list of pages that you are auditing. Generally audits are done to an entire website or portions depending on the design or website redesign process.
Begin gathering data according to the metrics and information you may need to complete the audit. You can use this list to help you get started on developing a content audit worksheet:
- Page name
- File type
- File size
- Location on sitemap
- Date published
- Date last reviewed
- Date last edited
- Meta title
- Buyer persona
- H1 tag text
- Word count
- List of images on page
- List of videos and audio files on page
- List of documents on page
- Inbound links
- Outbound links
- Screenshot of page and assets on page
Refresh to readdress. Refresh your content in order to re-engage with your audience.—Direct Images Interactive
Align your goals with the content you plan to audit
Create your worksheet around the information you will need for your audit. Each process ends up a bit different. This is because each goal is always a little different. Sometimes you’ll have hybrid goals that are meshed together, such as identifying content gaps and a website redesign. Maybe you have just purchased a brand new URL and are just getting started. Whatever the goal, you have to take the time to ensure the information you are gathering helps to further your audit agenda.
Streamline your audit with a content review process
Once you have created your content audit template, it’s time to dig in. Be sure you have a uniform process for starting and stopping. Depending on the size of your website, a content audit can be a beastly project, but streamlining and focusing on process instead of progress will help you fight through it. Just remember, it will all pay off in the end.
After you have collected and entered the data necessary to continue your audit, you will need to review and analyze the data. This is where you will need your marketing hat. Knowing the ins-and-outs of White Glove SEO will allow for a more fluid auditing process.
At this point in the audit, you should be able to review and decide what content you will be keeping. Then you will need to decide what will need a refresh or deeper review, and what content is not going to make the cut.
If you’re not putting out relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist.—Gary Vaynerchuk
Fill in the gaps by creating fresh, new content
Once you have determined what is staying and what is going you can begin to identify the gaps of content that should be filled immediately. Input this top-priority content into your editorial calendar for further review at a later date. This is also a good time to review your original keyword strategy and make necessary changes to the metadata as well as the actual content.
The process to complete a content audit seems taxing. It can be a bit time consuming, but will always pay off in the end. Take the time and apply your best marketing techniques, what you know about SEO, content development, and your target audience.
Need further assistance in completing your content audit, feel free to reach out to us in the comments or filling out the contact form here on our contact page.
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