Sooner or later, you’ll face the need to make a full audit of your content marketing efforts. Perhaps, you will be hired by a new company, thus you’ll require to figure out the state of things. Or, maybe you’ll need to sort all the things up to check the general performance of your team. Besides, performing a content marketing audit on a regular basis may help you adjust your strategy and discover new channels.
That’s the moment when you can find yourself lost and bewildered because it is not that obvious to figure out what to begin with. The very process is, actually, neither easy nor pleasant task to complete. However, it is something you’ll have to do, and you’d better be ready for it.
The audit usually helps to uncover both the existing problems and those which may eventually appear if not treated right. Here, at Adsy, we do a lot of content marketing audits for our customers and ourselves. Thus, we’ve got quite a substantial expertise in this field. So, either you are looking forward to performing your first audit, or want to make sure you haven’t missed anything important – we’ve got you covered.
Therefore, without any further words, we give you a list of hints and tips for performing a content marketing audit as smoothly as possible.
Why do you need your content marketing audit?
First, you have to define your main goals for the audit. It is highly recommended to take time and to set them as clear as you can, without any vague motifs. Think of the information you want to gain after the work has been done and make sure such info may be obtained via the audit. We suggest you to make sure you’ve figured out the following data:
- Check if your pieces of content work as they supposed to;
- Locate weak and ineffective pieces of content;
- Find out what areas have been covered and what has been missed;
- Review the recent ideas and modify them for further use;
- Get an understanding of how to adjust your content in the future.
Of course, there could be way more ideas and concepts behind your content marketing audit. Yet, all the mentioned above can be really helpful. These are, usually, some good reasons to work on the audit and implement it regularly. Anyway, now, as the goals are set, it is time to make the first step. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll end. Do not worry, it is easier than it looks.
Building up a content catalog
To begin with, you should gather all the content at your disposal, including all the posts and even the most recent publications. Just make a long list of it, to get a general picture of what you have. At this stage you can invent your first ideas for the future, so feel free to save them, but do not include them into the list yet.
As you’ve prepared the general list, it is time to classify the content, separating it into several categories. Make sure you’ve got all you need on one sheet. It is wise to build an Excel table, that’s how you’ll get the whole picture at your disposal. So, we suggest you divide the content into the following categories:
- Created texts: articles, blog posts, social media notes, reviews, memorable comments, etc.;
- Visuals: images, photos, memes, infographics, presentations, video clips, etc.;
- Audio content: podcasts, tracks, sound effects, broadcasts, etc.;
- Longreads: ebooks, white papers, brand books, brochures, booklets, etc.
Now you’ve got one big catalog of all the assets you possess. It is just the time to add some digits there.
Adding the numbers
At this step your job is to update your spreadsheet with the efficiency report data. It means that now you have to gather the following indicators:
- Issue date;
- Page URL;
- Number of visits;
- Number of social shares;
- Conversion rate;
- Bounce rate.
These are the minimum must for any content audit. Feel free to add all the information you need for your specific content. After all the data has been gathered, you will have enough information behind your eyes to get a more or less clear picture to make your first decisions on your content’s effectiveness.
Time for the analysis
That’s it! All the data is at your disposal. Now you have to evaluate your content. The things to note are the content length, uniqueness, relevance to your audience, and value for readers. Make sure to check if your content is fresh or inspired by look-alike articles.
Check the style and the tone and see if any adjustments here should be made. Keep in mind that you have to maintain a friendly and sympathetic tone of voice. Another thing to scan your content for is whether it adheres to the corporate tone of voice. This is the time to check all the pieces of content thoroughly and to see any deviations.
Of course, at this stage you should check if the relevant keywords are used in the content. Besides that, you can figure out any keywords that were not mentioned in your articles before and make appropriate notes. Perhaps the last time when you checked your content, some keywords were relevant, but now they’ve become obsolete. Anyway, this is your best time to make the list of fresh and relevant keywords.
Measure the performance
Aside from the tone of voice and keywords, there are matters of content performance. This is one of the most important things to measure. Your entire audit is about whether your content is doing well, or the message you add to your articles should be changed. To understand this, you have to look at the results demonstrated by your content.
You have to focus on your content performance, namely the number of leads generated, the conversion rate, the number of social media shares, and how many comments it has managed to gather. That’s how you’ll get a general picture of how your audience reacts to what you are doing. After this you’ll be able to understand what to do next, which forms should be abandoned, and what types of content are the most popular among your audience.
One last thing at this stage is to note what days are generally more popular among your audience. Perhaps, they are eager to read something on Friday rather than on Wednesday. Maybe the content published in the morning is less popular than the article posted in the evening. These are the things people tend to forget, but usually, slight changes to your scheduled time improve lead generation and conversion dramatically. If possible, note the time of publishing and adjust it as well.
Proofreading and correction
Time to read all the articles you’ve created, watch all the videos and, in fact, perform the content parsing. You’ve got the numbers, now you should check whether all the things you’ve created can sparkle the interest in people. To achieve this, you should rate all the posts as if you are just a reader. Imagine you are your own subscriber and be as honest as possible when grading your content. You can pick whatever method suitable for you while grading content: for example, use a 1-10 scale. In the end you will have a list of your content with those marks, sorted from best to worst.
After that you should decide what to do with each piece of content. There are many options, including adjustment, uplifting, rewriting or even deleting. Though, do not rush up erasing the posts you consider ineffective. There are always a lot of things that can be done to improve them, including supplementing with additional info or changing the angle of sight. There is still a way to improve any type of content.
Besides, that’s when you can work on rewriting your content plan, adding all the ideas you have managed to come up with during the audit process. While gathering data, you could’ve written down some concepts and ideas, and at this stage you can value them by adding to a list or abandoning forever.
Researching the competitors
At the moment you know your flaws and advantages, so why not to study what your competitors have to offer, and borrow all their ideas which are worth stealing. There is no way you can get all the information they possess, however, you should track general trends in their feed. There are several things worth noting while researching your competitors:
- Their most popular posts;
- The posts with the most comments;
- The content that has managed to get the highest amount of social media shares;
- The preferred type of their content – whether it is a video or blog post;
- The way their community manager interacts with users.
Checking all the mentioned above, you’ll have a general picture of their performance and, perhaps, will gain some ideas on your content marketing improvements. Feel free to adopt your competitors' most successful ideas and concepts and supplement them with your best practices.
Compose the improvements plan
By this point, you have been gathering all the necessary data one way or another. But at this stage, your time to act has come. After all, that’s what all the content audit was about – to define the methods for improving your marketing strategy. With all the information at your disposal, you can build up a new content plan and adjust your strategy in the most effective way.
Processing all the data you have been gathering by now, you’ll be able to see all the gaps and flaws in your content strategy. With the help of the spreadsheet you’ve created, you can see what should be added to your website or social media accounts. That’s how you can redesign your content strategy to see the best outcome possible.
Your competitors’ analysis and a general picture will help you to define what content is best for your business, and what values you should emphasize to increase your leads generation and your conversion. Finally, you will see how you can reuse your old pieces of content, and what topics have done a lot of good for you, in order to uplift them occasionally. Perhaps, since the last audit, your product has gained new profits, and it is just the time to advertise them. Or, perhaps, you lack the overall list of profits and you should create an e-book to fill that gap.
Launch a brainstorm
While performing a content marketing audit, marketers tend to forget – or even don’t know about it at all – to share its results with their team. The end of the audit should be supported by the team discussion and brainstorm if needed. The results can inspire your people to come up with new ideas and fresh channels for your promotional efforts. Let your team think of the situation and produce all the ideas possible, taking into consideration all the data gathered.
One other thing you can do for content improvement is to create a plan for tracking the results of the changes you are about to make. That’s how you can be sure that your actions improve the situation. Don’t forget to track your activity in order to be able to see what sort of actions will bring a specific outcome. That’s how you can define the ideas that are good or bad for your performance. Also, keep in mind that some actions may have the results that are invisible to you.
In the end you should figure out whether your audit has provided you with a new course of action or not. Not necessarily it will result in full content plan reworking, yet, you should get some answers. At least, your audit should adjust your course of actions, and raise to the surface the overall issues of your old content plan. And, of course, you should have a road map for further improvements at your disposal.
A successfully performed content audit doesn’t mean you have to fully abandon your old plan. Usually, while providing you with the answers you need, it will show your old plan’s flaws and the ideas on how to improve the state of things. Your content audit will become a starting point for tracking your performance. We suggest you perform it quarterly to be sure you are doing right. It will help you to develop a more structural and systematic approach to your marketing efforts, as such, increasing the results.
Do you have any additional ideas on how to perform a content marketing audit? Feel free to share your thoughts with everyone in the most convenient way. Good luck!