In a recent post, we talked about content audits: What they are and how to perform one.
To recap, a content audit is an analysis of your existing content and any gaps in that content. It takes into account things like customer feedback, sales team insights, and competitor behavior to help you ensure you have all the content you need for success.
The question arises: Once you do a content audit, what’s next?
Prioritizing Your Content Marketing – Start with Sales Funnels
Naturally, content strategy needs to not only pull organic traffic toward your website, but also move prospective customers through the buyers journey. With a content audit, you have a structured and effective way of uncovering the missing links in content.
You can think of your buyers journey as all the steps a prospect takes between identifying their problem and making a purchase from your company. On the other hand, a sales funnel is the path you’ve laid out for each prospect to make that journey simpler and faster.
Priority one after any content audit is to fix or update any sales funnels that aren’t working.
Missing Steps in Sales Funnels
Missing steps in a sales funnel are the biggest problem and should be addressed right away. These are usually steps somewhere in the middle of the process. Leads may seem to “disappear,” wandering away from the funnel and never seen again.
Often, the first step in a funnel is the free lead magnet that gets a user onto your email list – but what’s next after that? If there’s no clear way to move your prospects forward, you just need to define the next step in the process and develop the content from scratch.
Underperforming Steps in Sales Funnels
What if you’ve got some content, but it’s just not delivering?
Underperforming content can be tough to diagnose. Conversion rates vary significantly based on industry, urgency, and a lead’s level of qualification. In general, though, you can benchmark against content at the same step in your other funnels.
You might need to take any of the following actions:
- Improve the segmentation of your mailing list to ensure a focus on relevant content;
- Rewrite or introduce email on-boarding sequences (another high-level content priority);
- Improve regular email “newsletters,” especially in terms of offers and calls to action;
- Develop new, more compelling middle of the funnel content to inspire engagement.
New Organic Traffic and the Content Cycle
Even if all your sales funnels are in tip top shape, your content audit might reveal you need new content to take advantage of organic search. Google Search Console is a great way to uncover long tail keywords that are already driving traffic, but don’t have their own optimized content.
Since Search Console offers pretty good insights into how much traffic you receive from these sources, you don’t have to do lots of complex equations to figure out which should be your priority. In general, focus on the biggest streams of traffic that you can rank for.
There is something else to bear in mind, though: We call it the content cycle.
The content cycle is the idea that almost any kind of content can become almost any other kind of content with a little work. A short-form blog post of 500-800 words is the most basic content “unit,” and all other forms of content can be derived from it.
- Combining several blog posts leaves you with a great e-book or white paper;
- Distilling blogs down to their essence gives you a slide deck or video script;
- Combine data and a slide deck and you have the basis for an infographic;
- Break these down a little and add graphics and narration to create a video;
- Share any of this with a relevant graphic and you have a social media post.
As you generate and update content, it’s vital to make sure you’re leveraging the entire content cycle. Investing effort in this will raise your visibility across a wide range of platforms, including heavy-hitters like YouTube and valuable niche properties such as SlideShare.
A Content Calendar is Key to Making Your Post-Audit Plans Work
As a general outline, you can walk away from any content audit with these priorities:
- Create fresh, new content to fill in any gaps in existing sales funnels;
- Introduce email on-boarding sequences for low-performing funnels;
- Rewrite email sequences for low-performing funnels that have them;
- Develop new blog posts to capture traffic from long tail keywords;
- Split test and improve on regular email newsletters to raise engagement;
- Update or expand middle of the funnel content for mid-performing funnels;
- Use the content cycle to increase production of videos, visuals, and social media.
Whew! That may seem like a lot, but a content calendar will help you get there.
A content calendar is like an editorial calendar for your content team. It defines individual content projects, who will be working on them, and when they should be complete. It can also help keep track of internal information like target keywords or buyer personas.
Even in a smaller content team, a content calendar is the way to take your content audit insights and act on them in a systematic way. In a larger one, it helps prevent oversights and rework by ensuring content moves from development to editing to go-live to the social media spectrum.
If life is sounding especially complicated after your content audit, a content calendar is probably what you need. If it will take longer than 30 days to execute on your audit findings, it’s also a good idea to schedule an all hands status update at the expected midpoint.
Integrating your content calendar with your collaboration suite is your best bet for keeping everyone on the same page. Remember, tangible results are what drive adherence to any policy: With that in mind, your new or updated content should usually go live as its completed.
With these methods, your content audit will go from theory to traffic-driving reality fast!