Many organizations out there create content without a plan or map guiding their creation efforts. Any marketer walking into this is required to perform a content audit. This ensures that future content works towards the achievement of content goals and that any content gaps are filled to create a seamless funnel of information to help prospects along the path to purchase. Never fear, the content audit is here! Performing a content audit is part data entry and part marketing knowledge…

  1. Step one, begin by creating a spreadsheet naming every piece of content that your organization currently has (Ha ha! Watch that first step!) Your list should include what type of content it is (whitepaper, sales sheet, video, etc.) and where it is found (list the exact webpage if it is on your site). Also note the number of downloads and conversion rates, if you track them, and if it’s connected to another piece of content. If you’ve never worked with data you will want to break it down into small pieces to allow you to look at the data from a variety of angles. This means creating several columns. Note: I did this once and needed to list individual blog posts with their content heading – time consuming, but worth it!
  2. Step two is to identify the varying levels of content based on the requirement of prior knowledge and where you think they occur in the sales funnel (perhaps you know already). For example, blog posts are generally seen as entry points into the sales funnel whereas whitepapers are denser and more complex and usually downloaded by those that are further along your sales cycle. You’ll need some insight into your buying cycle and the information that is shared at each stage (chat with sales at this point). Go through every piece of content and judge (based on your established criteria) where it falls. You can break this down even further and sort by customer segment (which is recommended). You must also identify the content perspective (if there is one) which will tell you the type of user it will attract.
  3. Step three is to identify any gaps in your content. Your spreadsheet can be grouped and colour coded as well as tallied to generate a picture of how much content is available at every buying stage and its success (and how it’s accessed). For example, you may find that you have extensive entry information, but are light on mid-funnel content. You may gain other insights such as funnel blocks in your content which is when entry content doesn’t lead to further down the funnel. It’s also a great time to check your Call-To-Actions to make sure they appear on everything.

Optional: From here you can begin to build a content editorial calendar to help balance out your content.
This can be a truly effective tool to use in your content strategy planning. You should be able to see a breakdown, downloads, conversion rates, etc. at a glance.

Carolyn Bergshoeff is founder of WindWater Marketing, a small business marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada. Carolyn has performed content audits to help her client find the gaps in their content and to help strengthen their content marketing efforts.