Nobody likes an audit. An audit usually means an official inspection of some sort. There’s no nice word for it – Google offers up the following: examine, check (over), scrutinise, vet, investigate, test, monitor, probe… See what I mean? There’s no way of fluffing it up. It is what it is. But, a content audit doesn’t need to bring about feelings of dread.
A content audit isn’t something you HAVE to do – although we’d strongly recommend it. It involves conducting a review of your existing content to help you streamline your website and improve your overall content marketing strategy.
The Content Marketing Institute says:
“It gives you a high-level view of your content so that you can organise it, manage it effectively and efficiently, keep it current, and make informed decisions about what kinds of new content will probably perform well.”
In this age of content saturation, then, we’d argue that not completing a content audit is like committing content marketing suicide. Fair enough if you’re only just starting to produce content, but if you’ve got a fair amount of content in your ‘locker’, you need make sure that everything is present and correct.
Imagine this: a prospect lands on an old piece of content, which is littered with errors, lacking in visuals and doesn’t take them through to other areas of your website. The prospect is left less than impressed and clicks out of your website before learning any more about your brand. What a waste of an opportunity. Sure, it might not be representative of your content now – but how are they meant to know that?
And why would you start from scratch producing new content when refreshing or repurposing existing content could save you time and stress?
Getting down it
First things first, you’ve got to determine where you’re going – are you going to be carrying out a refresh, a redesign, a migration, or an overhaul? This will help give your audit structure in terms of what to look for and bring some consistency to the process – an audit without direction is of no use to anyone.
What you look for during your audit will depend on your business goals, your audience needs and tasks, and your content systems and technical constraints. Typically, though, you will need to be on the lookout for the following:
- Relevant, high-performing content to repurpose
- Outdated content to refresh
- Irrelevant or time-sensitive content to kill
- Gaps to fill
More specifically, inconsistencies/errors in the following:
- Calls to action
- Click-to-tweet messages
- Text filled with jargon and otherwise tough to read
- Links and duplicate content
- Headings, subheadings, titles, and captions
- Publication dates
- Author names
- Scroll length
- Break points
- Load times
Like we say, though, it really does depend on your content strategy. If you decide that every piece of content needs to have visuals or GIFs embedded in it, then that will be one of the things to assess.
If you can make quick fixes along the way, do it. It’ll make life easier when you sit down to do the bulk of the work.
Be under no illusions here, a content audit takes a significant amount of time to conduct – especially if your intent on righting the wrongs and identifying gaps and opportunities for ‘spin-off’ content.
If you think you’re not going to be able to find the time to carry out a thorough audit of your content, don’t just press ahead with the execution of your new content strategy regardless – have somebody do it on your behalf.
Here at Q, we carry out a content audits – as well as competitor analysis and a resource audits – as part of our ‘Strategy & Planning Process’. To find out more about the services we offer, click here.