A content audit probably sends an image of an IRS type going over your blog, social media posts, and web pages, creating an inventory of all content assets in an Excel spreadsheet - all of which probably takes several hours of mind-numbing, menial work.
Audits don't exactly sound inspiring. Necessary perhaps, but definitely not fun. However, before you jump to conclusions, try to understand how a content audit works and why it's necessary.
As Neil Patel of Quicksprout explains, "A content audit is a careful look at your website's existing content in order to make sure that it's doing what you want it to do - driving the right kind of traffic, containing the right kind of keywords, and improving conversions."
As your content is the meat and potatoes of your website, it makes sense to keep an inventory of your content assets to evaluate their effectiveness and relevance.
Ultimately, content audits are about building your way towards better content. Here are a few reasons why they help you do just that.
Before you begin a content audit, you need to have benchmarks that will tell you which content assets are effective, and which are not.
In a write-up for the Content Marketing Institute, Anthony Gaenzle recommends a "traditional letter grade method" where "[p]ages that receive an A are the ones that have everything in place and don't need any revisions or new content."
A "B," he says, probably needs more work, while an "F" might have to be junked altogether.
Many organizations with content campaigns are often amazed when they realize the disconnect between their content practices and the actual marketing goals needed to grow the business.
The ease of creating online content also makes it easy to experiment and publish anything you please. Oftentimes, what happens is that many of these content assets turn out not to be beneficial at all to your brand.
Content audits help identify these mistakes, taking down unnecessary content to free up server space, save money, and protect your brand.
Consistent verbiage not only looks better from a creative standpoint, it also strengthens your brand's image by creating a uniform level of comprehension across your content assets, especially those that are linked directly to your products and services.
Terminology management also supports your SEO efforts, informing writers of the most relevant keywords to use when targeting specific buyer personas. Simply put, content audits help you spot and fix these inconsistencies.
A content audit will help you create a persona scoring system that gauges:
For example, Blue River uses a scoring system that assigns specific points for uniquely relevant content assets a visitor must first consume before qualifying as a buyer.
If a visitor crosses the buyer persona threshold of 100 points, you can then provide a relevant content experience.
It's no secret that the "freshness" of online content can have an influence on search engine rankings. Timely content also helps build your brand's authority and client loyalty, which is the central argument by marketers who use newsjacking methods to generate interest with content.
But old content isn't useless. Conducting a content audit of all your content assets and other marketing materials also lets you identify how to repurpose past content that might be just as relevant today - perhaps even more so.
The common mistake people make with content audits is failing to stay objective, clinging on to old content assets that they like but offer little value to the overall content marketing campaign. To put it simply, don't be afraid to delete irrelevant content when you have to.
Additionally, if your content strategy is hinged on user-generated content, an audit can help streamline the thrust of your campaign, uniting contributors under a specific goal or theme.
Content audits can also identify KPIs for measuring content effectiveness and classifying anonymous visitors into buyer personas.
Content marketing may seem like a tedious task with little ROI, but once you've started the process, its value will eventually show itself to you and your team.