The good news is that 88 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing.
The bad news? The annual Content Marketing Institute study also found 55 percent aren’t clear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like.
Brands are spending big on content marketing – at last count, nearly $44 billion. But if a majority of smart marketers who developed their content plan still aren’t seeing great success or don’t know what content resonates with their audiences, there’s a big problem.
Enter the content audit.
What is a Content Audit?
Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics, explains, “A content audit is a careful look at your website’s existing content in order to make sure that it’s doing what you want it to do – driving the right kind of traffic, containing the right keywords and improving conversions.”
Everett Sizemore, director of marketing at Inflow, notes that a content audit can help you determine which pages:
- Need to be updated, revised or deleted entirely.
- Should be consolidated because of overlapping topics.
- Rank for which keywords, and which pages should rank for keywords.
- Perform the best, so you can make a plan to leverage them.
Why a Content Audit Just Might Answer “What Should We Write Next?”
Beyond learning about website performance, a content audit can provide valuable insights about past content to help inform future content. Julia McCoy, author of “So You Think You Can Write?,” says “content auditing also allows you to revamp existing content to increase its search ranking or to develop content similar to previously successful pages. It’s one of the best ways to maintain the ongoing quality of your content.”
Those insights can be extremely helpful for marketers and writers who sometimes get stuck with writer’s block. Or, if your blog is in its proverbial teenage years and you already have a deep backlog of blog posts on key topics, a content audit can give you direction on holes you could fill or areas you could explore further.
Jordan Schneider, director of marketing at TechnologyAdvice, told us about how his team does an audit every six months to constantly evolve their content strategy. “Is this post doing what it’s supposed to do in the context of our content strategy? We consider the post’s traffic, shares, leads and revenue. We ask our sales team whether the post is useful for them,” he says.
Preparing for Your Content Audit
Be forewarned: doing a content audit right takes a lot of time and research. You’ll need to dig into many URLs and comb through spreadsheets. But as our team learned, it’s worth it.
- First, create a content inventory. Take stock of all available pages on your site.
- Next, begin assessing how your content is performing. Ask questions like: Does it support business goals? Are visitors using the content? Do pages have helpful titles, keywords, metadata, headings and image tags?
- Then, dig into the analytics to determine the success of each piece of content.By the way, if content isn’t performing or supporting goals, you have permission to delete it. Schneider’s tip: “Every time we delete a post, we learn lessons about which strategies work, and which kinds of posts we shouldn’t produce again in the future.”
- Lastly, use your findings to determine what topics and keywords your target audience is interested in. Conduct a gap analysis and identify opportunities to create new content to fill any identified holes.
If conducting a complete and comprehensive audit seems overwhelming, it’s OK to start small. Do a partial audit to discover several action items and quick wins to implement immediately. Then create an ongoing process for regular check-ins to see how all the rest of your content love is paying off.
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