Keywords and basic analytics information are just a few of the cogs in an audience building, prospect converting, business building content marketing machine. But even the most well planned and executed strategy will become outdated and less effective over time. An audit is an invaluable tool to help you figure out what is no longer working. But it can also help to generate new ideas, and to decide when it's time to move in a new direction.
How to Perform a Content Audit
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content audits are just good business:
Marketers are in the business of selling – products, services, ideas, brands. Content is an important tool for reaching customers and achieving business objectives. A content audit can help you understand which content prompts people to engage with your brand, which content leads them to buy or donate, which content keeps them loyal – in short, which content is performing well (and which isn’t).
The first step in performing an audit is to take an inventory of your content. (Pro tip: you don't have to perform a site wide audit every time. Pick a specific area of focus or one section of your sales funnel for example to see how the content is performing and whether it is converting and actually translating to sales or leads).
Create a Roadmap for Your Content Audit from Your Analytics Data
Analyzing your site's performance data over a specific period of time is a great way to weed out content that is under performing or has plateaued. Traffic patterns can also provide you with clues as to how your content can be improved or modified according to conversion rates (is the content getting eyeballs but not generating sales or newsletter sign ups?)
If you're starting from scratch, start by identifying a few key metrics to target in your audit, such as SEO rankings, conversion rates, where your traffic is coming from, or bounce rates (how long a prospect stays on the page before moving on). Having a clear goal in mind before beginning the audit will make it more successful.
Next, create your content inventory and catalog to check the performance and identify patterns using your analytics data.
Create an Action Plan
Depending on what you find during your audit, the next step will be to decide what to do with your existing and future content. In some cases, simple tweaks like updating keywords, improving meta descriptions, or including a stronger call to action can breathe new life into your content. Like any product, content often has a shelf life and needs regular review and tending to ensure that it continues to perform.