An audit is a revealing thing. It shows you the activities the client has carried out to date. You will quickly get an idea of the quality of the assets and the kinds of content they’re producing. But it will also reveal valuable insights like those subjects the readers are interested in and which types of content have performed well.
Best of all, you'll identify content that can be optimised or repurposed to better deliver on campaign goals — and make your life a little easier in the process.
Step 1 of the process
The content writer should create an inventory of all online and offline content. You should use a spreadsheet to keep track of everything. Clone one from this Content Audit Template.
Make sure you look at all areas of the business when carrying out a comprehensive content audit. Content exists everywhere. What about the resources the sales team uses to nurture a prospect, like price lists and product specs? Does the client have case studies or newsletters or recordings of webinars they have held? Don't forget video and infographics, either.
Step 2 of the process
The content writer should organise the inventory into groups: blog posts, infographics, videos, etc. You can do this easily using the filters in the spreadsheet.
Step 3 of the process
The content writer should identify the persona each piece of content is targeting, the stage in the buyer’s journey, and its purpose.
This part will offer interesting insights into the content. It’s likely that a great deal of content was created by the client before you looked into personas and the buyer’s journey, so don’t worry if it straddles a few, just make sure that it’s all noted down.
Here are a few examples of what a purpose could be for a piece of content:
- To convert a website visitor into a lead
- To inform a prospect about a specific product in more depth
- To get over a common objection during the sales process
At this stage, the content writer will also want to take note of where the content can be found. Is this something that only gets sent out directly to prospects by the sales team? Is it gated on your site or is it sat open for anyone to read?
Step 4 of the process
To really understand the role of each piece of content, the content writer needs to see how it’s performing.
If it’s an online piece of content look at the right metric for its purpose. For example, if you have a gated guide which is to generate leads, look at the conversion rate of its landing page. If your blog posts are aiming to raise brand awareness, look at the visit numbers (and potentially the conversions to subscriber).
Step 5 of the process
Now that the content writer has discovered, categorised, and analysed the client’s content, it’s time to start working out what to do with it. Not everything will need to be kept, so aim to attach one of the following categories to each piece of content:
No change needed. This piece of content is working really well and doesn’t need changing
Delete. It could just be badly executed or it could no longer make sense for your business
Update. You see promise in this piece of content, it just needs a few tweaks to get it right. Add an editor’s note to the bottom to say it was originally published on X date but has been updated, and re-publish it. That way, you’ve basically got a new piece of content and it’s showing that you’re keeping up to date with things rather than just churning out content for the sake of it.
Repurpose. You might have an infographic that’s just been floating around. Consider putting it into an article and making more of it, then sharing out on social media with sections of the infographic as preview images. If you find a valuable piece of gated content that’s currently in a PDF, consider turning it into a blog post which could really help you to be found via organic search with a great conversion point.
Combine. Now you’ve got a clear view of your content, you might find that you’ve got a few pieces which could actually be combined and condensed to make one valuable article on its own. You may find that a few articles combined would actually make a great guide to gate and generate leads.
Step 6 of the process
The content writer may well have found lots, in which case they are likely wondering where on earth to start. Not everything can be done at once, especially when you also need to create new content to fill the gaps that you’ve started to notice.
What can be changed quickly to make a big impact? Go through your newly populated spreadsheet and work out which of your next steps will need the smallest effort to see the biggest results. Start there.