Determining what data to capture within a content audit

Before embarking upon a content audit, stop and ask yourself this question:

How is this content audit going to improve your content programme?

It is only by having a clear set of desired outcomes that come from answering that question that you will know what data you should capture within the content audit itself. After all, depending on the maturity of your content programme, a content audit can be an incredibly time-consuming process.

One of the most common reasons for carrying out a content audit is to get a proper list of existing content in place. This might be because you have lost track of what you have following a period of marketing team churn, or because content requests are increasing from colleagues from other countries or functions, or simply because you have the headspace to carry out the audit.

So if you are after a basic content audit data capture list, then to make your life simple, here is a list of the sort of fields to include:

  • Title
  • Content type
  • Brand
  • Product / service
  • Industry / sector
  • Country / Language
  • Creator
  • Date published
  • URL / folder link
  • Evergreen / current / dated
  • Suitable for repurposing

All pretty basic stuff, but what does having content audited against that list actually tell you? Well, it will reveal a few things such as the volume of content by product or sector, for example. You could see how old some of your content actually is and this should then point you toward reviewing older content to see whether it needs updating, replacing or retiring.

But ask yourself whether it’s going to let you plan differently? Will it let you change your content programme that will drive true business benefits?

To achieve this sort of goal, then you need to be moving beyond what the content was about and start analysing who the content engaged and for what purpose.

By capturing this sort of information, you can look for the gaps within your content programme in terms of which target audiences are under-served, whether you are meeting the full breadth of the customers’ needs through your content, and whether your content is fully supporting the customer journey. This will help inform your campaign activities and your ongoing customer engagement content. It will allow you to make your web content richer and identify how to connect your content to create true customer journeys.

To capture this sort of information, your audit will need to be expanded to include:

  • Personas
  • Customer needs
  • Customer journey step

With this sort of detail in place, your content audit then becomes a live content map. You can compare content engagement with the content list to discover how the content is supporting the journey.

Sound hard? Well, if you try to do this in Excel, it probably would be.