Why You Need a Content Audit
Spring cleaning came late for me this year, and I’ve found myself purging my closets in the middle of summer with the goal of only owning items that have a real purpose in my everyday life. Clutter tends to keep me from focusing and from finding things easily and quickly when I need them.
All this cleaning and organizing got me thinking about another important — and related — topic: content audits. If you’ve found yourself wondering if you need to clean up your content, chances are you do. If you haven’t done a content audit in a while (or ever), then you definitely need to seriously consider it. And there’s no need to wait until spring. A content audit can help you identify what content is available and how it’s performing so you can determine where to focus your efforts.
What Exactly Is a Content Audit?
A content audit is the analysis and evaluation of content against brand strategy, business goals and user needs.
A content audit starts with a content inventory. Before you can tell whether your content is working for your brand or determine how to best organize or use it, you need to know what you have. A content inventory lists all available, relevant content. In some cases, you may want to inventory content on your website only. Depending on the purpose of your audit — whether you’re thinking about a website redesign, looking for content to support a marketing campaign or planning for the launch of a blog — you may also want to inventory offline content from marketing collateral, social channels, etc.
In addition to listing all relevant content, an inventory includes data that will support a content analysis, including metadata, word count, reading level, web analytics data, social shares, etc. These data points, among others, will tell a story about how your content is performing. Once all data have been gathered, it’s time to connect the dots and make sense of what the numbers mean for your brand. Cue the content audit.
What Will a Content Audit Reveal?
Great content can make your brand findable, relatable and trustworthy, while building a connection with your target audience. Content audit insights may tell you that your content:
- Is relevant to your audience but doesn’t support or align with your business goals and brand strategy.
- Perfectly aligns with your brand strategy but doesn’t resonate with your target audience.
- Meets brand and user goals, but also has additional opportunities to be explored, such as repurposing content for other channels, expanding on high-performing content, eliminating content that does not make the priority list, or developing a consistent brand voice and personality.
When Is a Good Time to Perform a Content Audit?
There’s no better time than now. As you start or continue to plan how you will invest your marketing dollars, it’s important to know what content you have and how it’s performing before deciding on what’s next. Only after understanding the current state of your content can you move forward to craft a successful content and digital strategy that will help you achieve your goals by focusing your efforts — and dollars — where they will pay off.