article | July 12, 2017
Your 5-Step Guide To Conducting a Content Audit
You have to conduct a content audit. A content audit is an inventory of your current content and an assessment of how it aligns with your buying process by persona.
The overall goal of the audit is often simple: Gauge the effectiveness of your content marketing mix. The process, however, can be rather complex.
That’s why we’re providing a step-by-step playbook on how to run your content audit for optimal results.
Here’s what you need to know.
Here’s your step-by-step playbook for identifying your most profitable content. What tools do you need to get started?
There are three major components to your content audit:
If you don’t have these tools at the ready, don’t let it paralyze you. It’s best to start with what you have and the get the audit process rolling.
To do so, begin by taking an inventory of your content. While this is happening, start identifying and fleshing out your buyer personas. Then, roll in the buying process map and micro-questions as phase two of the audit.
This may sound more difficult than it is.
While you’re developing your inventory and personas, you’ll begin to have a clear overview of your content. This will shed light on the business case of why this audit will be helpful, and why you’ll need the map and micro-questions to complete it.
Now that you have a grasp of the tools, you must understand who will be responsible for the audit.
Who should conduct your content audit?
Your marketing team will lead this process. Specifically, if you have a content marketing team, they will take the reigns.
In addition, the following company teams will provide insights for the audit:
With your tools and teams prepared, you’re ready to dig into the content audit. What steps do you need to follow?
There are five crucial steps to conducting a content audit. They are as follows.
Step 1: Collect an inventory of your content.
Create a content audit spreadsheet that includes an inventory of every piece of content.
Step 2: Identify what you’re going to measure.
Build out a framework for what you are going to measure. Customize this framework to your organization’s priorities.
To do this, break down your buying process map across stages. If you can’t identify specific stages yet, start with simple categories like early, mid, and late.
Figure out how you’re going to track your content along these stages. Then, identify the parameters for how you’re going to evaluate the performance of that content.
Step 3: Categorize and score your content
Sit down with your inventory spreadsheet. Tag each piece of content by identifying where it fits into the buying process, which persona (if any) it was created for, and what type of content it is. (Ex: podcast, white paper, blog post.)
Then, you begin the most important and time-consuming part: assigning each piece of content an effectiveness score.
Before you begin scoring, it’s important to stay organized by entering your categories into your spreadsheet.
These categories should be as objective as possible. You don’t want one that asks, “Is this good content?” Then, you can just answer “Yes” and call it a day. Instead, you need very specific categories whose values can amount to a thorough effectiveness score.
For example, you might choose to score your content on a scale of 1-3 based on the following categories:
The piece scores a 3 if the title gets reader’s attention, selects a specific audience, delivers a complete message, and and draws the reader into the content.
The piece scores a 1 if the title fails to get the reader’s attention, doesn’t select the audience, doesn’t deliver a message, and doesn’t draw the reader in.
The piece scores a 3 if it was created in the past 90 days. The piece scores a 1 if it was created more than 180 days ago.
How effectively does the piece fit to a specific buyer persona, stage of the buying process, or client solution?
Finally, add up the scores of each category to find the effectiveness score of each piece of content.
Now, it’s time to take action with your recorded findings.
Step 4: Tie your findings to an overall marketing strategy
To be blunt, the content audit is worthless if it doesn’t feed into a specific strategy of execution.
For example, is your audit being used for an inbound marketing strategy, specific campaigns, or sales enablement?
Clearly identify this core strategy, relate your results to its performance, and you’ve completed your content audit.
However, there is a fifth and final step that could make or break the future of your marketing efforts.
Step 5: Use the audit to inform your future content production
When done correctly, your content audit can be used a tool for managing content.
If you’re using a content management system, you can import your spreadsheet directly into the platform. From there, you can manage authors, subject experts, sources, and posting frequency.
Perhaps most importantly, using your spreadsheet, you can also see where the gaps are that need to be filled in.
For example, you can evaluate your content based on these categories and scores:
—Availability of a certain type of content
—Place within the buying process
Conducting a content audit can seem overwhelming. However, it’s important to realize that you never have to start from scratch.
Even if nothing is published yet, chances are you have content that can be polished for distribution, or ideas that can be refined for execution.
Whether you’re looking at a massive body of work or a new content operation, it’s okay to start simply.
Just identify your content, understand your framework, and get as specific as possible with your micro-questions. In the end, your marketing strategy—and your buyer experience—will be the better for it.
One more thing: We’ve created an easy Content Audit Template to help organize the audit process. Use the template to visually pinpoint any gaps and score the content you already have.
A recent podcast by Ellucian’s VP of Solution Marketing, Emily Rakowski provides a valuable demonstration on how to execute Content Marketing to Generate Revenue.
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