How to Perform a Thorough Content Audit in Eight Steps
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How to Perform a Thorough Content Audit in Eight Steps

Are you wasting your time and money on content marketing?

Maybe.

But here’s how you can change all that…

Unfortunately, with the drastic shift in content marketing as a whole — and with the rise of video marketing — many businesses underestimate the importance of written content, allowing it to fall by the wayside and become obsolete.

However, the truth is written content is still important. A content audit can help you get back on track and point you in the right direction. And, no, a content audit doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work with an outside partner or third party to do so.

Here's how to perform a thorough content audit — the right way — and right in-house. #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

What is a content audit?

What is a content audit?

If you’ve never performed a content audit before, it’s important to understand what exactly it is, why it’s important, and what is involved.

A content audit is an in-depth look at all of your content — specifically your website content — to ensure it is performing. A content audit will ultimately tell you the overall performance of your content, providing you with insights so you can adjust your content marketing strategy accordingly, putting you one step closer to reaching your business goals.

Why is a content audit important?

As marketers, we know how much time, effort, and resources are involved with creating stellar content. Therefore, we want to ensure your content is working and providing you with results. After all, what sense does it make to continue to produce content that isn’t really driving conversions or boosting ROI?

Performing a content audit allows you to do just that. By organizing your content, you will be able to see your strengths and weaknesses, and what is working and what isn’t.

After performing a content audit, you will be able to answer the following questions:

  • Which content is generating the most traffic?
  • Which content is the most popular and most-read among my audience?
  • Which content do visitors spend the most time reading?
  • Which content is generating the most social engagement?

How to perform a content audit

So, ready to dive in and get started? Here are eight steps to perform a content audit:

How to perform a content audit in-house.

1. Take inventory.

After creating content over time, you can easily forget what’s actually out there. This is one reason why taking inventory of all your existing content is important. It also allows you and your team to see what content you currently have at your disposal to either discard or refresh and repurpose. This is the first step in performing a content audit.

A content audit involves all your existing content. This can include website pages, lead magnets and downloads, blog posts, videos, custom images or graphics, service guides, ebooks — you get the point. You can create this list in an Excel spreadsheet, a project management or task management tool, a digital asset management system, or whatever works best for you and your team.

2. Look up metrics for all content.

This step will likely require some time, but it is incredibly important, and we promise it will be well worth it. This step is also where the bulk of the work will take place.

By using your analytics tools, such as HubSpot or Google Analytics, you will be able to look at your website’s analytics and see which content is generating the most page views, which content your visitors spend the most time reading, and which content resulted in the most conversions.

Create a column in your content inventory list, spreadsheet, or marketing project management tool and add in data for each type of content. Through this exercise, you will be able to see which content is performing best, which topics your readers enjoy and resonate with most, and which pages or blogs on your website your visitors spend the most time on. These insights are key to tweaking your content marketing strategy going forward.

8 Steps to a content audit: Categorize your content.

3. Categorize content.

After completing steps one and two, the next step is to categorize your content. Depending on how much content you have in your inventory, you can either categorize by content type, such as blogs, lead magnets, videos, and so on, or by content topic.

Make a column or note in your content inventory list or spreadsheet and add in your relevant topics. You can also create separate tabs in a spreadsheet for each content type or topic. Again, there is no right or wrong way to do this. Whichever organization method works best and makes the most sense for you and your team, run with it.

4. Audit your links.

Now that you have taken inventory, gathered metrics, and organized your content by type and/or topic, it’s time to take a deeper look at the content itself, specifically the content that is the most popular among your readers and audience.

This step jumps into the “clean up” part of your content audit, which involves checking your links. Do they still work? Do they still link to relevant content? Are there more up-to-date sources or articles you can link to?

Broken links or outbound links to outdated or less-than-reputable content can hurt your SEO, which ultimately hurts the overall performance of your content. Therefore, it’s important to include this step in your content audit process.

8 Steps to a content audit: Create or update customer profiles.

5. Create or update your customer profiles.

Depending on how long you’ve been in business, you may or may not have an accurate or complete understanding of who your customers are, where they come from, and their interests and challenges.

After spending some time looking at your content, and understanding what content is the most popular and what isn’t, you can determine who your customers are and what interests them. Then, you can then create and shape your customer profiles, which allows you to create more targeted content in the future.

Even if you have been in business for a decade, things change and people change. Therefore, it’s important to review and update your customer profiles accordingly and as you review your content metrics.

6. Build a content schedule.

If your business has been struggling to keep up with a consistent content schedule, now is the time to fix that. Develop a new editorial calendar, clarifying what content will be written and when it will be published. Your calendar can include blogs, social posts, promotions, and so on.

Schedule some time each month to review metrics for content published during the previous month and to also develop content for the upcoming month. Be sure to also consider upcoming events, seasons, and holidays.

This should be a collaborative and iterative effort. In addition to establishing a content schedule, it’s also important to note who is responsible for what. For example, who is the writer? Who is the editor? Who is responsible for publishing and sharing the content?

Clarifying roles will not only establish a level of accountability across the team but also ensure content is created and published consistently and according to schedule.

8 Steps to a content audit: Refresh or create new content.

7. Refresh and create new content.

If, while performing your content audit, you notice a gap in your existing content and your ideal customer profile, then it’s time to either refresh and update old content and/or create new content.

However, the key here is refreshing or creating valuable content. The best way to ensure that your content team is churning out valuable content all the time is by following a checklist.

8. Document and update your new content marketing strategy.

After performing your content audit, you’ve likely learned a thing or two about your existing content, such as what your target customers are looking for, which topics they enjoy most, and the frequency at which you should be publishing content. With all these great insights, you are now in a better and more confident position to revamp your content marketing strategy for the future.

Finally, the last step in the process is to document your new content strategy, including your editorial calendar, roles and responsibilities, and how you will measure content performance going forward.

A content audit can make all the difference in your content marketing strategy.

Although a content audit might take some time and resources, it is an exercise that will be well worth it for you, your team, and the future success of your business, allowing you closer to reaching your sales, marketing, and business goals.

Ben Beck

About Ben

Ben Beck loves working at the intersection of technology, security and marketing. From his early youth selling discount candy from his locker to building his own SMS marketing tool that he sold to the State of Utah, he has learned the value of entrepreneurial thinking and smarter marketing. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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