The internet runs on content. Whether you’re in media, construction, or automatic call distribution, content is the key to raising your brand.
Content builds brand visibility, it boosts your SEO, customers love it, and all the best marketers are investing in content partnerships.
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If you know your stuff as a brand, you’ve probably got a content marketing plan already. You’re scheduling blogs, posting on social media, maybe even producing a podcast.
But how are you organizing this stuff?
To get the best out of your content, you need an organized content strategy. You need to have a plan. You need to be able to track your content, and draw insights from its performance. You need to be able to use your content not just to draw in audiences, but also to build relationships with those audiences.
The best place to start is with a content audit.
‘What do you mean by content audit’, we hear you cry. Well, here we’ll teach you everything you need to know, from what content is, what should be included in a content audit, and how to use a content audit to take your content game to the next level.
What is a content audit?
A content audit gives you crucial content intelligence by cataloging, categorizing, and analyzing your content assets. Your content assets are the vehicles by which you get information to your audience. OK, that probably doesn’t make things any clearer. Let’s try and simplify.
You communicate with your customers and followers through your content assets. Your content assets are the tools you use to get your point across, to tell people about your brand, and to put yourself out there. A blog post is a content asset. An email newsletter is a content asset. Your social media posts are content assets.
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An audit of these content assets will help you to organize and optimize them.
What are the benefits of a content audit?
Auditing your content assets helps you to:
- Boost traffic to your website.
- Draw insights from your content.
- Optimize your content.
- Make a content plan for the future.
- Identify new SEO opportunities.
- Improve your audiences’ experience.
It also makes sure that the right content is getting to the right people. For example, if you run content internationally (say, in both Australia and New Zealand), a content audit will help you to organize and optimize that content for its target location. You won’t make mistakes like putting your business phone number Australia on NZ content, and vice versa.
So, a content audit can bring your content game to the next level. But where do you start?
Let’s take a look at how you conduct a content audit:
1: Set some goals
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Setting goals is an important part of any strategic exercise, and a content audit is no different.
By setting goals for your content audit, you will make the process a lot more strategic and effective. Goals give you a focus, and help you to find the answers you need.
For example, maybe you are struggling to gain subscribers for your email list and you don’t know why. Maybe customers don’t like your email verification system. Maybe the content just isn’t appealing enough. A content audit with a solid goal will help you to find the answer.
Of course, a content audit will reveal a lot about your brand, your audience, and the way you communicate with one another. So, you may come out of a content audit with brand new goals based on what you’ve learned.
For example, you might go into your audit aiming to understand your audience, but discover that the biggest issue with your content is its branding. Your priority will then become improving your logo, stamping it all over your content, getting a branded business card with QR code etc. Does that mean that you shouldn’t have goals to begin with?
Not at all. Even if your content audit goals change, it’s still worth setting them in the first place. Setting goals helps you to align your thinking as a team, and to be strategic about your audit.
Exactly what you want to get out of a content audit will depend on your individual brand goals. But some broad content audit goals include:
- Weeding out undesirable content.
- Finding content that can be repurposed.
- Learning more about what your audience likes and dislikes.
- Optimizing your SEO.
- Gaining data-driven insights.
- Learning your content strengths and weaknesses.
- Building and strengthening your content strategy.
2: Gather your content
Once you know what you want to achieve with your content audit, it’s time to get started.
Dig out your content and catalog it. At this stage, you need to establish what should be included in your content audit. You could gather together every single post and graphic you’ve ever made, or you could focus on a few particular areas.
For example, you might decide to audit internal content, such as web copy, news, blog posts, product descriptions etc. Or you could cast the net wider, to include social media posts, web quizzes, questionnaires, or even pitches for things like business licenses and funding.
Start your content audit by adding relevant content to a spreadsheet and collecting its URLs. Tools like Semrush Content Audit can help you to quickly organize content and extract URLs.
Step 3: Analyze your content
Depending on your goals, content analysis will probably involve a combination of data-diving and more subjective quality assessment.
For example, you might compare the amount of shares each piece of content gets, the SEO score of each blog, the platforms they’re shared on etc. This can tell you important things about the kind of content your customers respond to and the platforms they hang out on.
You can then put this insight to work by creating more of the popular content and distributing it on the most popular platforms.
You might also read through important pieces of content with an eye to things like overall quality, tone of voice, branding, themes, and values. Things like this are harder to define through data analysis, but play an important part in the audience experience.
Unlike most tech-based processes, like agile process in testing or systems analysis, there is no set formula for content analysis. Both the insights you draw and the way you use them will depend a lot on your own personal interpretation, goals, customer base, and brand values.
If you’ve been monitoring your content you probably already have some ongoing metric-based content analysis. But if you’re not sure where to start with analysis, go back to your goals. Many goals can be aligned to key data metrics.
For example, if your goal is to increase engagement, look at things like rates, shares, forwards, inbound links etc. If you want to raise brand awareness, look at your web traffic, bounce rates, page views etc.
Step 4: Organize your content
So, by this point you have:
- Established some audit goals.
- Gathered your content.
- Analyzed your content.
You hopefully now have a better idea of what your content assets are, how they’re performing, and the kind of content that’s most popular with your audience.
Now, it’s time to streamline and optimize.
To do this, organize your content into three categories:
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‘Keep’ and ‘Delete’ are pretty self-explanatory. Content that’s doing its job and doing it well needs no adjustments. Let it keep doing its thing. As for ‘delete’, well, if a piece of content is out of date or no longer consistent with your brand voice and values (and if updating it wouldn’t be worth the effort), delete it.
‘Repurpose’ is a bit more complicated. This is for content that could be great, but needs a bit of work.
For example, a piece of content may have performed well in the past but has now sunk into obscurity. Bring it out again, freshen it up (maybe with new graphics or updated information), and share it to the best performing platforms.
Or maybe a piece of content isn’t doing well where it’s currently published, but could make waves elsewhere. Again, freshen it up and move it to its optimum position.
Step 5: Put your insights into action
By now, you should have a kind of strategic roadmap showing where your content is currently and where it needs to be. You should also have a decent idea of how to get from one to the other.
Now, it’s time to make things happen.
You may need to hire content creators, writers, videographers, marketers, or even a PR firm to help you get your content on track. Or you may be able to do it yourself with a couple of quick tweaks. Whatever it takes, we promise you that it’s worth it.
Your content doesn’t just represent your brand. To your audience, it IS your brand. So, it’s important to get it right.
Audit your content to boost your brand
Content audits matter. Whether you run a modeling agency or a multi line phone systems small business, a content audit will give you a greater understanding of your brand voice, your audience, your strengths, your weaknesses, and how your content stacks up against your competitors’.
Regular content audits will give you deep insights into how well you’re communicating with your audience. And that’s important, because, ultimately, it’s all about communication.