You know about content, but do you know about content audits?
A content audit is a comprehensive analysis of your web content.
It tells you:
- Where your content exists on the web.
- How each piece of content is performing.
- Where you could benefit from more content.
A content marketing strategy requires consistent, long-term effort. With so much content being produced every month, however, it’s easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees.
With a content audit, you have the opportunity to step back and get a better understanding of exactly what you’ve achieved – and what remains to be done.
It also helps you notice shortcomings in your content that become apparent over time. A content audit isn’t just about future works; it's also about optimizing current content.
Of course, no alarm is going to go off and tell you when you need a content audit.
Instead, read between the lines of your marketing data to know what’s up. This should shed some light on where you can improve your strategy and produce better content. If you're being outranked or if your audiences aren't engaged with your content, it's time to take a step back and assess the bigger picture.
Let’s look at six warning signs telling you that you need to perform a full content audit now:
1. Your Team Has Grown
Everyone on your marketing team will bring their own perspective to your content. Those insights and skills can be perfect for bringing existing content up to speed.
Plus, sharing the results of a content audit with newcomers to your team will help ground them in what you’ve done and where you’re going. That cuts down on accidental duplication and keeps new content fresh.
2. Your Competitors Continue Outranking You
If your content just isn’t producing the results it should be, there can be many reasons why. It’s always best to start on the page, with the content itself, before you review off-page factors.
For example, your content might not be using the right keywords in the right way to drive the organic traffic you want. Or perhaps your competitors are exploring other content formats outside of blog posts, like video content or ebooks and guides.
If you’re competing but not gaining ground, conduct a content audit to pinpoint exactly where to focus and how to make improvements to stay competitive.
3. Your Old Articles Are Stagnant and Outdated
Evergreen content forms the backbone of a content marketing strategy.
The keys to evergreen content are:
- It very rarely goes out of date – the facts that it’s based on are unlikely to change.
- It’s of general interest to a large number of people who will be visiting your site.
That said, even evergreen content can start to wilt after a while. Even if the content remains sound, you can still improve it by various methods.
Cross-linking old content with new content can give traffic and authority to the newer pieces, for example. Adding videos has been shown to make it more likely text content will be read, and visual content makes text more shareable.
You should also consider historically optimizing outdated content. And a content audit will tell you exactly what articles need to be updated.
Plus, you can use your analytics from your audit to prioritize old posts. The more traffic they bring in, the more important it is for you to historically optimize it to provide even more value to your readers.
4. You’re Taking Your Content to the Next Level
Most companies will start with a base of evergreen content, then move to more complex and authoritative thought leadership content. Thought leadership content is sophisticated, requiring a deeper look at a topic, and often incorporates original research.
Performing a content audit prior to embarking on a thought leadership project helps uncover what you’ve got to say on a topic.
5. You’re Doing More Influencer Outreach
Reaching out to social influencers successfully requires awesome content. In general, you’ll get influencers to partner with you by providing them with exceptional content they can share with their own followers.
Before you can do it, however, you’ll need to be certain you’re producing content of the style, scope, and sophistication that appeals to your target influencers.
6. You’re Rolling Out a New Product or Service
If your portfolio of offerings changes, a content audit will start you off on the right foot. With an audit, you’ll get clarity on content that can be expanded or repurposed to educate your visitors.
For instance, you might need to change CTAs or lead generation methods to reflect your new priorities.
It's important to be aware of these warning signs because they show you how great of an opportunity you have to start improving your content marketing efforts.
Note the difference between a content audit and a website audit. The latter is a more comprehensive process that can include things like design principles and technical performance.
A content audit, on the other hand, is like a dental checkup: It might not seem like fun at first, but it’s much faster than you think, and the benefits are undeniable.
And, like that checkup, you should perform one twice a year ... whether you suspect problems or not!
Published on January 12, 2019