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What's a Content Audit? Why Do You Need One?

by Michael O'Mara, on Oct 4, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Think about your business’s traditional and digital content. Do you have a content plan in place? Do you have a schedule set up? Are you implementing basic or advanced content strategies? 

How do you organize all of your content? Do you have a system to keep track of content performance? Does the success and failure of content drive future initiatives and strategy optimization? 

If you aren’t organizing, analyzing, and optimizing your content, it’s time to start. The best way to do this is by performing routine content audits.

What is a content audit?

A content audit is gathering all of your content across your website, social media, and email campaigns into one place, and taking a holistic look at everything. The goal is to evaluate your content and decide whether it’s working, how you can update and optimize existing content to make it work better for you, and finding what gaps exist to inform the new content you should create next. It’s all about developing and managing an inventory of every piece of content on your website. A few examples of the content you need to gather and analyze include, but are not limited to:

  • Landing pages 
  • Blog posts 
  • Whitepapers 
  • Services or products 
  • Forms 
  • Lead Magnets 

The key difference between a quick checkup and a content audit is structure. Audits are exhaustive and time-consuming. But a little time investment and attention now will save you time and money and drive revenue in the future. Plus, if you identify any issues, you can solve them and increase customer engagement and communication clarity. 

Overall, you’ll discover patterns and areas for improvement in your content. An audit starts on a granular level and slowly but surely zooms out so that you and your team understand the full picture.

Why does my website need a content audit? 

Every website has areas of improvement. No website’s perfect, and neither are you. That’s why a content audit is so valuable. It’s not an excuse to constantly change what you do or how, but it is the perfect opportunity to catalog, categorize, and optimize. 

Here are a few reasons why your website needs a content audit sooner rather than later:

  • Has your website been around for a while now? It’s time to identify weaknesses and create strengths with a growth-driven approach to content and web design.

  • Does your team have a clear, documented content plan that they can communicate to each other and follow without issues? A content audit is a great tool to develop structure and purpose around your content.

  • Do you have an idea of what you’re creating next? Or are you simply posting for the sake of posting? A content audit is different from strategy, but it will inform a smarter, simpler way to strategize your content by uncovering patterns and gaps in your existing content. 

  • Content has value beyond a click. Are you and your team passionate about what you’re creating? Passion isn’t the entire piece of the puzzle, but it is a big component. A passionate team dedicated to trying new things and owning what they do can be the difference between effective and flat content. A content audit can energize your team and motivate them to try something new that provides direction.

What do you do with all that content audit information?

It can be overwhelming to discover areas of improvement in a content audit. But always think of the big picture: understanding the work you’ve completed and how it can be better is far more helpful than continuing to make the same mistakes that impact your bottom line and content performance. 

Data is your friend here. You’ll have a lot of important data to work with, and it can be confusing to differentiate correlations from causations. But, that’s getting a bit too in the weeds. Generally, start with these few questions once you’ve completed a content audit. And remember: your answers need to be backed up by meaningful data.

  • Is your content aligning with customer needs or wants? 
  • Does your content appeal to the buyer’s journey? 
  • Have you discovered any gaps in your buyer’s journey that can be addressed with new or adapted content?
  • How is your content performing? Is it attracting your target audience?

It’s easy to make decisions based on intuition. But intuition, as helpful as it can be, does not account for blind spots or bias. Everyone has them! While intuition can make you a powerful marketer and agile business person, it can leave you hanging if your decisions are not backed by data. Data informs your intuition and helps you make smarter decisions based on what your customers are already doing. 

Here’s a good problem to have: say you’ve excellent content, a lead magnet for example. This is your best work yet. But there’s a problem: for all the bells and whistles, the messaging is off. You can tell something is wrong, but that isn’t the complete picture. Setting up tracking and reporting systems validates your informed guess that yes, while the lead magnet looks and feels incredible, it’s speaking to the wrong audience and negatively impacting conversion rates. This means you need to work on building a meaningful reason to click as well as a compelling call to action to keep reading.

Sales, marketing, and customer service alignment is vital for the continued growth of B2B companies. A well-executed, replicable RevOps system can solve the challenge of consistent revenue. It’s an exciting, promising way to grow smarter instead of guessing and failing.

For more information about RevOps, aka Revenue Operations, check out this blog.

How to conduct a content audit

Let’s break down the content audit basics step by step.

1. Set your goals

What do you want to discover? Think about a handful of goals you want to achieve in a content audit. If you start to run your audit without goals in mind, you’ll soon find yourself casting a wide net without any idea what you’re catching. Stay focused. Stay committed. Set your goals and build a time budget around each goal. Once you reach your goals, you and your team will have a much easier time keeping records and strategizing.

2. Define content to audit

Do not audit all of your content at once. Set guidelines around which content is to be audited in each phase. A great way to do this is by investing in a helpful SaaS, like SEMRush or HubSpot, that can regularly track these pages for you and streamline some of the auditing processes. We use HubSpot and SEMRush for our own internal content audits, and we can’t recommend them enough.

3. Categorize and organize!

Categorizing the content you need to audit keeps your entire process and team organized. 

Here are a few categories you can adopt for a successful content audit:

  • Content-type
  • Content format
  • Publication date
  • Metadata 
  • Performance metrics

4. Analyze your data

Now that you have your goals, content, and categories set, it’s time to analyze. Analyzing your data helps you discover patterns and gaps in your content and content performance. Here a few questions you can ask yourself as you analyze:

  • What’s missing? Are there subjects you can include in your content for your audience and SEO? 

  • Is your overall content performing well? If it’s not, what does the data say and how can you use it to improve your content?

  • What specific pieces of content are doing really well? It’s easy to change for the sake of change. But if a piece of content is doing well already, the best course of action is to keep an eye on it,  keep it going, and use this information to create more content that is similar in topic or structure. 

  • Think about your older content. Maybe it’s time for a data-driven update!

5. Create action items

It’s time to clean everything up and build a game plan. Now that you have concrete data analysis for your content, you can make informed, data-driven decisions about what to do next. 

Generally, it’s smart to develop a replicable timeline for content audit action items. Content audits take time. So does implementing the meaningful changes you make because of a content audit. Give yourself the time you need to not only set action items but complete them.

Develop a content audit with Sauce Marketing

We know a content audit can be a hard task to accomplish, especially if you have an entire business to run. That’s what we’re here for. Sauce Marketing is a HubSpot Gold Certified Agency Partner. That means we’re experts at developing and tracking content auditing for your business using HubSpot’s powerful suite of tracking and reporting tools.

Schedule a call with a certified Growth Guide today to work with a partner on your very own content audit and grow your business.

Topics:StrategyDoInbound Marketing