Performing a content audit is key for any small business looking to use their existing content in their marketing efforts. And why wouldn’t you want to use your existing content?It minimizes effort in content creation as you are using blog posts, video, podcasts that already exist.
However, many organizations out there create content without a content plan or content map guiding their creation efforts. Any marketer walking into this should be performing 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.
Small business owners should also be aware of how well their content is working for them. In a not-so-small percentage it’s not working at all. Never fear, the content audit is here! Performing a content audit is part data entry and part marketing knowledge and can help you sort through existing content and plan future content.
The steps for a small business content audit are outlined below. This is a basic content audit and not an exhaustive exercise. However, once your content is listed you can dig deeper into your on-page SEO and go from there. But let’s get started.
Create a content audit spreadsheet
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!
Don’t want to start from scratch? Download the free Content Audit Workbook here.
Find your content levels
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.
Identify your content gaps
Next 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 and that your messaging is consistent.
Here is an additional step you can add on for more information around your content. Looking at page rank, keywords, meta descriptions, inbound links, word count, etc. can all be tracked here to guage improvement as you tweak each post. You can get some external help here. There’s a lot of software out there to help here if you have the budget (although some, like Google, are free). A few to look at:
Keep in mind that SEO software is only effective if you’re using it as a tool to support your content marketing goals. Also remember that analysis paralysis is a real thing when you’re combing through so much data. This is why our Content Audit Workbook is a little more simple. I find it to be less intimidating and an excellent toe-dip into getting a handle on your content.
A content audit can be a truly effective tool to use in your content strategy planning. Once completed you can add to it so that you’re able to see a breakdown, downloads, conversion rates, etc. at a glance.