If you’re running a business, chances are you struggle with content. Social media content. Webpage content. Internal documentation. Product descriptions on your website. The first step when you’re having a hard time with content is to perform what is known as a content audit. A content audit is essentially just an inventory of what’s good, bad, and ugly about all your content.
What Do You Mean by Content?
A lot of clients ask us: “what exactly do you mean by content?” This is a fair question in an age where there are so many different forms of content. There lots of different definitions for this term in the world of digital marketing and UX. We like to think of content as “useful information that people will see.”
Of course, this begs the question: what people? Some people you might want to think about in relation to your content can include:
- Leads: You want to think about how people who aren’t already customers will encounter your content. What happens when someone lands on your website homepage for the first time? What happens when someone first follows you on Twitter? What will they see and do?
- Customers: Of course, you mustn’t neglect your customers, whether they be long-time or first-time. You don’t want to annoy your existing customers with content they already know about. And you want to provide them with incentives to keep engaging with you by providing them with content that other people won’t see.
- Internal stakeholders: Another important group of people to think about are people within your organization. These can include business partners, investors, board members, project managers, and contractors. These people work with you for a reason and you don’t want them to feel burdened by your content, especially if part of their job is to create it for you.
- Potential business partners: You might also want to consider potential clients, partners, and other external stakeholders. This is especially the case if you’re a Business-To-Business (B2B) organization. Some of these folks might be potential customers, but many of them might be potential partners that can help you leverage new content, such as through guest blog posts, retweets, and other forms of content curation.
How You Do a Content Audit
There are lots of different templates for performing a content audit, but we like this one by John McCrory:
Here we see all the elements of a good content audit:
- A basic inventory of all the content you have: You need to account for everything anyone will ever see. This can include: mission statements, social media updates, flyers, brochures, images, photos, logos, etc. You need to think broader than just what is on your website. Any content, any potentially useful information that people will see, should be inventoried.
- Attention to SEO: You need to think about how Google will see your content. This includes what keywords you use in your content, where you put them, and how often you use them.
- Attention to users: At the same time, you can’t sacrifice the content your users want just to improve your search rankings. You need to identify content that is highly searchable and usable for your customers.
- Content you want: The key to any content audit is to realize: you are not your customers. That section of the above infographic that says “Content the Client Wants” may seem rude, but it is actually an important reminder that your favorite content probably isn’t your customers’ favorite content. You have to think about what they want and need. You have to focus your audit on taking a hard look at how well you’re meeting your customers’ content needs.
What To Do After a Content Audit
After a content audit, you need to take a hard look at your findings and turn them into a content strategy, which will be the subject of a follow-up post. Essentially, a content strategy is just a plan for creating, maintaining, and delivering content for your business.
The most important thing to remember about a content audit is that it’s a powerful tool for thinking holistically about your content. If you’ve never inventoried all the content that you use to run your business, chances are there are sub-optimal pieces of content out there that are annoying leads, customers, and stakeholders.