By John Doe December 11 2017

What Is A Content Audit? And Do You Need One?

Content audits are becoming more popular nowadays. Some see it as a buzzword, but it’s something that is highly recommended for many businesses that have content as a core part of their strategy.

But what exactly is a content audit, how do you go through one, and is it right for your business? Read on for more information, and make the decision yourself.

What is a content audit?

A content audit is the process of reviewing and analyzing every piece of content you’ve created. This should be in terms of quality, performance, and with an eye on your overall business objectives. It’s not just about external content either. You may produce content for your salespeople to use in their pitches – these are also included.

What should a content audit achieve?

A good content audit will allow you to see how well you are meeting your business objectives, and where any gaps are. For example, there may be a specific part of your target market that you just aren’t producing enough content for. Once you have recognized this, it can be added into your plan so you can serve those people better.

Alternatively, you may not be attracting the right type of people for your solution, in which case you need to think of a new content strategy.

You should also have a good idea of what does and doesn’t work. A thorough audit will look at all of the relevant metrics for each piece of content – such as views, likes, shares, click-throughs, and engagement. You will then know which topics to focus on going forward, and perhaps which topics should be avoided.

How is a content audit performed?

There are several steps to a good content audit. Below is a common structure, although some businesses will tweak according to their needs.

  1. Create a detailed list of your content. Although this is time-consuming, it’s important to have an exhaustive list, although you may want to set a cut-off date. Something older than four or five years may not be relevant, so not worth focusing your energy on. Make sure you have things like the title, date, and topic clearly set out. This will also be a useful way to see how well you’ve been labeling and archiving your content – if you are really struggling to get this list together, it shows this hasn’t been done very well.
  1. Map out exactly who in your target audience each piece is aimed towards, and what the end goal was. One piece may have been created with a view to encouraging transactions, whereas another may have been created to persuade people to follow you on social media channels. You should also detail how optimized each piece is for search engines – what were the primary keywords?
  1. Match all of your content with different business functions. For example, an FAQ piece may be aligned to your customer service department, whereas a press release would align to your PR strategy. Ideally, you will have quality content that goes across all of your various functions, ensuring there is something for everyone.
  1. Research the level of success each piece has had. In general, this should be backed up by numbers. How many views and shares has each piece had? How has it impacted website conversions – have people gone on from that page to make a purchase or subscribe to your content? However, you should also feel free to include some descriptive measures of quality as well. Perhaps you received a really positive piece of feedback from somebody that’s right in your target market. This is good to jot down as anecdotal evidence.
  1. Check the layout and user journey on your website. How easy is it for people to find the information they need? It’s important to be completely honest with yourself here.

At the end of your audit, you should know exactly where your weak spots are. What content is missing and what can be done to boost the quality and reach? These will make up the recommendations that follow at the end of every content audit. You can also make a decision in terms of what to keep and what to discard.

Do you need a content audit?

This is the question many businesses will be asking themselves, as it does take up a fair chunk of resources. Ultimately, it brings many benefits, some of which are described below. If any of these are things you’re looking for, then a content audit is worth doing.

Increased efficiency

One thing which content creators – and businesses in general – hate, is waste. Content that goes unused is a major problem, and an audit is a great opportunity to stop this from happening.

By working out what you should be focusing your resources on, you will make the workflow for content creators more efficient. They can spend their time being laser-focused on the areas your audit has flagged up.

You may also discover that the vast majority of the content being produced is good, but isn’t being acted upon. Perhaps the user journey on your website isn’t good enough, or your internal salespeople don’t know where to find it. An audit will help you recognize and act on this. In the scenarios mentioned above, you may have to redesign your website and simplify your internal storage process.

Cost savings

This is closely linked to the above. Many businesses pay for fresh content to be created, when in actual fact they can repurpose existing content. Perhaps you wrote something two years ago, which with a few minor revisions, can be used for something relevant and current. The problem is, you’ve probably forgotten about that initial piece of content! An audit will resurface existing assets, and in the process save you the costs associated with always creating things from scratch.

You may also find that you come up with new ways to repurpose content. For example, you may have done a podcast last year which was an hour long. Why not use the transcript to create a simple top tips blog – essentially using the key takeaways from your podcast and turning it into a five-minute read.

Improved SEO

The world of SEO is constantly changing, with new rules being added. Content audits help you identify these. Once implemented, you may see a big increase in web traffic, which can lead to more conversions.

For example, there has been a big push on using Latent Semantic Indexing keywords – otherwise known as LSI keywords. This is because search engines don’t just scan for primary keywords anymore; they also look at related words and concepts. This gives them a better picture of what a piece of content is really about.

A content audit will show you which pieces need a better range of LSI keywords, and also give you an idea of what to do for future content.

Armed with this knowledge about what a content audit is, you should now have a better idea of whether to proceed with one. Generally, if content is a key strategic driver for you, then it is definitely worth the effort. The benefits outweigh the costs, and you will end up with a highly focused strategy that delivers more profits.