Why Audits are Crucial to Content Marketing and How to Create One

By Breanna Flynn

      Aug 4, 2020     Solutions    

There is a plethora of content today on the web. It almost seems impossible to index the content your company has created over the years -- but it isn’t.

Some people feel that their content is uncontrollable but it's a manageable undertaking. Content is owned media, which means your company determines who it can target, what it’s about, and how successful it can be.

A piece of content isn’t an isolated item. Instead, content is a thread of inter-connected posts and offerings that can communicate a variety of things for your business.

Why Content Audits are an Asset

The main purpose of a content audit is to identify and understand the content your business currently has in its back pocket. Audits allow existing content to be organized, categorized, and evaluated. 

Through utilizing an audit, content creators can align content to campaign goals and long term strategies. Audits will help you recognize what purpose each piece of content serves in your business model. The ability to easily identify content that is successful in building awareness vs. content that is strongly engaging your audience, for example, not only helps you understand what content is working best but which segments to focus on and improve.

Apart from identifying which content best serves your businesses’ goals, whether it's building awareness or driving conversions, audits also help to identify content opportunities. If your landscaping business is offering a “Lawncare 101 Guide”, there may be an opportunity to write a blog post about the best plant fertilizer on the market.
Let’s face it -- continually coming up with new content ideas is a difficult task. Sometimes our creative juices just cease to flow. By utilizing a content audit and knowing what content you’ve already created, you have a strong framework for brainstorming new ideas as well as repurposing and historically optimizing older successful pieces of content. Audits in the long run save content writers, editors, and strategists valuable time.
So, how do we set one up?

How to Organize Your Content Audit

A Content Audit needs to be well organized, easy to follow, and informative for all content creators and editors. If you’re not skilled in excel -- don’t worry, here are the categories you should include in your content audit to seamlessly link your content marketing plan to your long-term strategy: 

  1. Content Title
  2. Topic
  3. Buyer's Journey Stage
  4. Lifecycle Stage
  5. Content-Type
  6. Buyer Persona(s)
  7. Notes/Comments
  8. Author
  9. Link

The Buyer’s Journey Stage relates where a piece of content is within the attraction, consideration, or decision stages for a customer in the marketing funnel, relative to your business. If you had a tire company, for example, an article about different types of tires would be tailored for the awareness stage, whereas an article about your brand’s tires vs. your competitors’ would be tailored for the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.

Recommended Reading: Get to Know Your Customers Through Super Simple Buyer Personas

Lifecycle Stage may be sub-categorized into a Lead, Marketing Qualified Lead, Sales Qualified Lead, Subscriber, Customer, and Advocate -- just to name a few. Feel free to customize these sub-categories based on your business and its industry.

The idea of identifying ALL that good content you created in prior years does seem overwhelming, but browsing your files over time makes it more manageable. When trying to identify existing content, continually sort through your business marketing folder, file management system, or content management system (CMS). 
To get the most out of a content audit, you should consider pairing it with an event-based audit.

Pairing Content Calendars with Event-Based Audits

I know, we’re mentioning a different type of audits -- bare with us, there’s a good reason. Event-based audits are used to document upcoming events, activities, or projects which allow content tailored or related to that event to be timely published. This not only supports the event’s success but also strengthens your content.

The more actionable and relevant content is, the more successful it will be -- which is why we highly suggest pairing your content calendars with an event-based audit.

Event-based audits should include the following categories:

  1. Month / Work Week
  2. Event / Activity
  3. Topic
  4. Prospective Content Posts / Topics / Keywords
  5. Tie into Marketing Campaign (Offer)

Recommended Reading: Every Business Needs to Create Content & Start Acting Like a Media Company

Content Planning is Dynamic

Planning content creation and distribution will be a dynamic process as your business changes throughout the year. As a whole, content marketing is always developing as new search engine algorithms are implemented, and new strategies are developed.

Ensuring that your content is targeting the correct audience and serving the intended marketing funnel position is a great step toward creating a long-term content strategy.

If you’re struggling to get your content off the ground, reach out to a specialist that can help. MyArea Network has experts in content and digital marketing that are able to assist your business in auditing, strategy, and planning -- it's never too late to create confidence in your content!