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 be capturing 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 simply 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 the COVID-19 crisis has provided the headspace to carry out the audit as we all prepare for the upswing.

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 you may want 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 in the direction of 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 make positive changes to your content programme that will drive true business benefits?

To achieve those sort of goals then you need to be moving beyond what the content was about and start analysing who the content was meant to engage and for what purpose.

By capturing this sort of information, you can start to 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 in turn 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 where the content consumption could then be overlaid against the content list to show true customer engagement and how this is supporting the journey.

Sound hard? Well if you try to do this in Excel it probably would be, and you can find out all about the limitations of Excel here.

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