To be fair, it is impossible to describe the ‘perfect’ content audit as different businesses will have different objectives and start-points. However, if you want your content audit to move beyond simple list generation to capturing meaningful data that will inform your content planning and strategy, then there is a tried and tested approach that will deliver the best possible outcome.
- Determining what data to capture within a content audit
- Why Excel probably isn’t so excellent for content audits
Step one: Define the components of the content
Every content audit needs to start by deciding up front what components of the content you are going to capture. This is vitally important as you don’t want to get halfway through reading and viewing content and then suddenly decide that you want to capture some additional information!
We’ve outlined what you should be capturing in this article.
In summary, the basics of any content audit are:
- Content type
- Product / service
- Industry / sector
- Country / Language
- Date published
- URL / folder link
- Evergreen / current / dated
- Suitable for repurposing
If you wish to run a content audit that will allow you properly fill the gaps in your content programme, then you will also want to capture:
- Customer needs
- Customer journey step
Step two – audit your content
This is the ‘sleeves rolled-up’ grunt work part of the audit when someone has to read and watch every piece of content and capture it. Important guidance for this stage includes:
- Define clear rules of what each component means to minimise the subjective element of the content audit
- Use a shared online resource for the content audit tool – as we wrote in this article, Excel may not be the best tool
- Figure out in advance what you are going to need to visualise from the audit as that will define the tool you use.
- Agree how far back you are going to take the content audit – we tend to recommend 5 years as a good cut-off as old content has increasingly limited value
- Allocate a significant amount of time for the audit – it can take days!
If you are going to capture personas, needs and journey step, you need to able to tag these against each content item so the tool you use is going to have to be able to do this – Odyssiant does allow this, by the way!
Step three – upload to content library
The best audit would directly associate the data components as ‘tags’ with the actual content. That can only be done if you upload the content into a library where these metadata tags can be attached. Ideally you would do this as you undertake the audit but it could be done retrospectively.
The alternative is just to provide links to folders and urls within a spreadsheet but that is fraught with issues as links age, change and disappear over time.
Having completed the audit, you should be in position to plan the content that will maximise customer engagement and fill the customer journey gaps. To find out more on how to do this off the back of a content audit, read this article.
You should also ask yourself whether you are best placed internally to do the content audit. Would an external perspective bring a different viewpoint and, of course, extra resource?
- Odyssiant content audit partners [www.seenandread.com and ww.iristify.com]
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