Content is being created and consumed at breakneck speeds and there are no signs of it slowing down.

There is no question about it…smart marketers understand the power of a content audit. In fact, content audits are essential because targeted content is now strategically tied to revenue growth.

Did you know that per dollar spent, content mar­keting generates approximately 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing?  That’s a pretty compelling ROI! 

According to Smart Insights, the following infographic shows how much content is being created every 60 seconds.  The numbers are mind-boggling and growing exponentially year over year!  It’s no wonder so many marketers are having trouble rising above the clutter.

content stats - 2017

Let’s first define what a content audit is and why is it has become such a business imperative…

A content audit is essentially an inventory and performance evaluation of your content assets on your website.  Based on your business, these could include the following types of content:

  • White Papers
  • Case Studies
  • Presentations / Slideshare
  • Ebooks
  • Video
  • Blogs and Guest Posts
  • Infographics
  • Articles
  • Interactive Content
  • Customized Collateral
  • Press Releases

The bottom line is these are key assets that affect your customer’s journey and experience with your brand.  

The key benefits of a content audit include the following:
  • Uncovers gaps and opportunities to better meet your prospect’s and customer’s needs.
  • Creates a tangible yet fluid inventory of your content.
  • Sets a baseline for constant improvement.
  • Improves the customer experience and the bottom-line.
  • Helps with your site’s search engine optimization efforts.
  • Helps prioritize the impact of the content based on your customer’s evolving needs.  Relevance is everything!
 It’s critical because, in today’s business environment, content has an impact on revenue.  Below are some very telling statistics from Ion Interactive’s latest compilation of studies:
  • 63% of consumers say they have engaged with disappointing brand content.
  • 79% of people scan content rather than reading word by word
  • 83% of B2B marketers use content marketing for lead generation.
  • Yet 68% of B2B companies are still struggling with lead generation.
  • 78% of consumers will trust your brand if you create more customized content.

Clearly, we still have some work to do.  The question you need to ask yourself is if your content is effective in achieving your organization’sweb analytics goals?  Have you established KPIs and a content strategy that are in sync with your business objectives?

First, decide what you are going to measure in terms of content.  Metrics could include buyers stage, traffic, leads, page length, word count, topic, content type, comments, social shares, and mobile-friendliness to name a few.

Here are 5 simple steps to follow and some helpful content audit tools to consider…
Step 1:  Gather Information

At this stage, you are just gathering data so you can create an inventory of your content.  Use a crawling tool like Screaming Frog to identify all of the content URLs on your website.  There are also some excellent SEO site audit tools like MySiteAuditor  or  SEO Site Checkup that will do the trick.

At this point, you are just gathering raw data.

Step 2:  Organize Your Data on a Spreadsheet

Create a spreadsheet with your results.  Don’t reinvent the wheel…there are several content audit templates already out there.  From this, you can create your inventory of current content from your URLs. 

Content Company has some very effective tools you should explore to help you get your inventory organized.

Note:  If you haven’t done so already, create buyer personas that reflect your ideal customers.  HubSpot recently did a great post on creating a very detailed and actionable persona.  I would advise downloading their template…It’s a very good tool!

Step 3:  Evaluate Your Content’s Performance

When it comes to evaluating content performance, there is no better tool in my mind than Google Analytics.  You can do a deep dive across metrics for each content page URL.  You can then compare performance against the KPIs that you previously established in your content strategy.

This is both an art and a science, particularly in terms of qualitative factors like relevance.

Step 4:  Identify the Content Gaps

I recommend doing customer journey mapping at this point in the process so you can better identify any content gaps.  By doing customer journey mapping, you can analyze your strengths and weaknesses by types of customers and what state of the buying cycle they are in.

Once the gaps are identified, you can effectively develop a content strategy to optimize your efforts.  I recommend scoring your content so you immediate can focus on the top priorities.

Step 5:  Rinse & Repeat Quarterly

Once you have gone through this type of exercise, you have a living document that becomes your content strategy roadmap.  You will have a clear understanding what content can be repurposed, what needs to be archived or just removed.

The net result is getting your team focused around evolving customer needs and producing content that solves their needs and messaging that resonates with them.

In closing, I can’t overemphasize the importance of a thorough content audit.  Your customers and future customers will thank you for focusing on customized content that brings them real value.

In turn, you have a hyper customer-centric approach to content strategy that will deliver more customers and at an improved ROI.

How often is your organization doing content audits?  Please share some of your experiences in the comments section.