Carrying out a content audit is like any other marketing activity: it’s much more likely to create a great outcome if you have spent time creating a plan.
To be fair, content audits aren’t hard. However, unless you have only recently started creating content, you’re going to find there’s a lot of content to sift through and as such, there is a considerable time investment involved.
When creating the plan, you will need to consider the following:
There is no escaping from the fact that content audits are time consuming. Exactly how much time is involved depends on the scope of the audit. Whoever you choose to carry out the content audit will need a clear brief, shared access to a tool, achievable deadlines and an understanding of your target audiences and their sectors so that they can assess your content correctly. Arguably, they don’t really need to understand why the content was created or any results it achieved as that will all be covered off within the audit itself.
There is a lot to be said for engaging a third party agency or freelancer to carry out the audit on your behalf. The perspective they can bring can help create an objective content audit that is more likely to meet your objectives. Of course, this also minimises the impact on your own team’s day jobs.
We have two preferred partners we can recommend:
- Seen&Read (UK content marketing agency) – www.seenandread.com
- Iristify (US marketing agency) – www.iristify.com
Whoever is carrying out the content audit will need a clear brief. This is especially important if more than on person is going to be carrying out the audit. The brief should cover the following:
- The scope of the audit
- What you are looking to find out from the audit
- The shared tool
- Definitions for assessing the content
The final point is probably the most tricky as certain elements of content auditing can be subjective if there are not predetermined rules or guidelines in place. For example, where does a piece of content (such as a case study) sit within the customer journey? How many customer needs to tag to a content item? Which personas does the content relate to? Setting these ground rules upfront and providing clear guidance will ensure consistency throughout the audit regardless of how many people are carrying out the audit and over any given period of time.
It’s vital that the content audit is carried out in a consistent manner now and for any future audits. Most content audits are recorded using Excel spreadsheets. While this allows any business to create a basic list with some core parameters, there are some significant shortcomings.
To find out more, read this article.
Odyssiant is a free content journey platform that allows you to capture, visualise and act upon a content audit. Users can upload all content into the Odyssiant content library, capturing all core details including any url links. As part of this upload, users can place the content on a journey map, specify audience personas and tag all customer needs. This allows users to clearly see the gaps in the customer journey.
To find out more, read this article.
Content audits take time to complete. However, if deadlines aren’t set they can also drag on and risk never being completed.
Our recommendation is to break the audit down into chunks – e.g. by sector / product. Set deadlines for each of those chunks and be really clear about what your priorities are so that you can start acting off the content audit as soon as possible even if there is more work to do.
What we have found is that when content marketers start seeing the outputs from the audit, this stimulates the completion of the rest of the audit as the analysis improves their planning.
Most plans start with objectives at the beginning but we’re ending this list by talking about objectives because at first glance, setting the objectives of a content audit might seem really obvious.
At Odyssiant, we are advocates for content audits that go beyond the basics of telling you ‘what you’ve got’ and instead inform you of what you need to create in order to maximise your opportunity to engage and sell. And to engage and sell through content, you need your content to be connected together to serve the customer’s end-to-end journey.
On that basis, your objectives for your content audit could extend to:
- Whether you are fully supporting your business opportunities
- Where the gaps are in the customer journey
- Which audiences are served well / poorly
- Whether you are supporting the priority customer needs
- Hygiene factors such as content performance and treatment of aged content
- Informing the content plan
All of these points are explored in greater depth in this article.
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