Conducting a content audit is on the list of best practices for nearly every content marketer. Yet 37 percent of content marketers never complete a content audit.
A content audit helps you develop and navigate a content strategy. It enables you to allocate and analyze all of your existing content to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Most importantly, a content audit informs how you optimize both existing and future content.
The benefits span nearly every area of content marketing, from improved SEO to a better understanding of your content gaps. The ultimate benefit for many however, is in how an audit enables you to create a well thought-out, documented content strategy.
Only 46 percent of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. For those without one, planning a content strategy based on a content audit should be top priority.
Read on to learn how to use your content audit to develop a content strategy that works. This post shares an in-depth guide that also includes a helpful template.
Starting a Content Audit
- Make a list of content marketing goals and the information you need to achieve those goals.
- Develop a plan for extracting and compiling this information.
Having your goals and information sources in place helps you create a content strategy document more efficiently.
Next, track down and review your existing content. List each asset on a content inventory spreadsheet. Then add key terms to a keyword analysis spreadsheet. Use these two spreadsheets to create an insights document that will be the basis of your content strategy.
Update Your Content Strategy Document
If you already have a written content marketing strategy, this part is easy. Just use it as a template and update it with the new data from the audit. If you don’t have one, start by asking questions to inform your strategy.
Questions to Ask When Developing Your Content Strategy
Use your content audit to answer these questions — they will inform your content marketing strategy:
- Which parts of your site generate the most traffic and which pages convert the most users?
- Are there pages or posts within your site that bounce users away? Why?
- Which content can be optimized to improve its ranking?
- Are there pages that could be consolidated to minimize overlap?
- Which pages lack relevancy and could be removed from the site altogether?
- Which posts and pages rank best and engage users the most?
- Which pages and posts on your site “should” be ranking, but aren’t?
- Are there gaps within your content strategy you can fill with new content?
- Can you identify and prioritize the content assets of a new client or campaign?
- Which pain points within your site, content, and UX can you quickly fix?
After using your content audit to answer these questions, it’s time to write the content strategy.
What Should a Content Strategy Look Like?
A content strategy document combines a broad overview of your goals with detailed tactics. It starts with a general overview of the content audit, along with key points. This summary should include statistics about how much content was audited, the number of pages to be changed, and the metrics you focused on.
From there, you'll need to establish the following:
- The plan for your content for the next three months
- Changes you’re making based on the content audit
- Tests you’ll run based on information gathered in the audit
- How you’ll determine the success or failure of these tests
Then you can dive into detailed tactics and strategies. This is where your keyword research spreadsheet comes back into the picture. It reveals the content gaps and keyword mishaps you can begin to fix and assign as action items within your content strategy.
Clearly communicate which changes are the priority and why so that everyone knows next steps and expectations.
Curata’s Content Strategy: What We’ve Learned
Curata recently conducted a content audit. We’ve updated our content strategy based on the insights we discovered. Here are some of the takeaways we’ve integrated into our content strategy:
Traffic and Conversions
We found that on our site, pages with the most traffic were mostly “ultimate list” blog posts. The exceptions included evergreen content such as a white paper template blog post, editorial calendar blog post, and a social media guest post by Neal Schaffer.
Other than the guest post, all high-traffic posts have been re-published multiple times and promoted heavily. Our next steps are to track the success of these posts to see how they perform compared to other current posts that could turn evergreen.
We are also examining the promotion strategy for these posts to see if it had an impact. For example, since traffic for the Neal Schaffer blog post is coming from Google organically, we plan on looking more deeply into how it was promoted. We’ll use a three-month period as a benchmark and compare content velocity.
Ranking Optimization Opportunities
We found 147 blog posts without keywords that are ripe for optimization.
We identified pages with high time on page and high views as prime opportunities for repurposing content. Those with high time on page and low views are excellent targets for additional promotion.
Most Proven Topics By:
- Social media platform
- Web content
- Editorial Calendar
- Successful content marketer
2) Leads Touched
- Social media variations
- Content marketing tool
- Content marketing platform
3) Pipeline Touched
- Social media variations
- Content marketing tool
Our strategy also includes a section on page authority outliers as well as tests, new content ideas, and strategy recommendations.
Continue to update your strategy document as you get results from the new tactics you’re implementing. If you don’t already have one, a documented content strategy such as The Content Marketing Pyramid will be useful for your content audit.
Conduct another audit in six months to a year and repeat the process. Regardless of how you go about it, remember that content audits done right will significantly change your approach to content strategies and teams.
As the results from your data come in, you'll need to have actionable insights ready to adopt. This eBook, The Future of Content Marketing offers insights and examples of excellence. Start using it today!
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