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4 steps and one spreadsheet to help with a content audit

by Nate Holmes, December 4, 2017

Content audit

When’s the last time you’ve taken a step back from the planning and creation of content to evaluate it?

It’s a healthy thing to do. A content audit is a systematic review of your content. This systematic review helps you organize, evaluate, and then refine your content.

In this post, we’ll walk through four major steps and share a spreadsheet to help you conduct a content audit to help inform your content strategy.

Step 1. Form a question

One of the most daunting aspects of starting a content audit is knowing where to start. There’s an endless amount of content and data available, and you have a limited amount of time.

While evaluating all of your content at once can be valuable, giving your content audit focus can make it more realistic to complete and gain actionable insights. You can then repeat the process for other groups of content.

So, we recommend starting your content audit by forming a question. What do you want to know?

Don’t be afraid to get specific with your question.

Compare these two questions: “How is our content performing?” and “What downloadable resources are buyers using?” Think about how you would approach answering these two questions. Which question provides more direction on what should be reviewed and evaluated?

The second question gives you what (downloadable resources) and who (buyers).

Here are some possible questions you can customize for your content audit:

  • What assets keep buyers in the marketing funnel?
  • What content is generating the most leads?
  • What content is our sales team sharing with buyers?
  • What content is out of date?
  • Which persona are we giving the most tailored content?

Step 2. Uncover your content

Now that you have a question you’d like to answer with your content audit, you can start to uncover all the relevant content.

Remember, a content audit is a systematic review of your content. Before you start evaluating your content and making decisions, you’ll want to organize all of your content and the data you’ll be evaluating.

Even if your content is in a central location, consider all the places data on your content is stored. For example, all of our downloadable content lives in our DAM system, and the DAM system gives us analytics on the content, but we have access to complementary data in HubSpot.

Below is a spreadsheet to help you uncover your content and centralize the information about it.

Content audit[Access spreadsheet]

Step 3. Evaluate your content’s performance

You’ve spent time uncovering all the content and data relevant to your question from step one. Now it’s time to evaluate your content’s performance. How does your content perform when it comes to its goal?

Depending on what you’re evaluating and through what lens, you might have some different criteria than what’s provided in the spreadsheet.

Here are some criteria you might use to evaluate your content:

  • Brand -  Review the writing style for voice, tone, and messaging. Review the visual expression for photography style, colors, and fonts.
  • Business value - How closely tied is the content to your business objectives?
  • Clarity - Does the writing and layout present the information clearly and concisely?
  • Findability - Are you getting the content in-front of your audience?
  • Information - As your industry and company evolves, is it reflected in your content? Review your content to identify what information is no longer accurate.
  • Utility - Does it provide value to the reader?

Your evaluation criteria and ratings should give you a clear direction on what content needs to be optimized, what needs to be archived/deleted, and what needs to be created.

If you’re working with a team on your content audit, it’s important that the criteria and rating scale are agreed upon before you start evaluating.

Step 4. Inform your team

Once you’ve completed your evaluation, it’s time to inform your team of the findings. Give the people who will be helping act on the results an opportunity to see the process and reasoning behind the changes.

Instead of just saying, “Hey, update this,” you can provide more guidance on what will help improve the content based on your findings and content strategy.

The best way to learn the contours of your content

Ernest Hemingway said, “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.”

While the attention to detail and organization required to conduct a content audit can be time consuming, that’s exactly why it’s the best way to learn the contours of your content. And that’s why it’s such a powerful exercise to improve your content.

Topics: Content, Content Audit

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