If you’ve ever been responsible for assessing your website’s content, you’re most likely familiar with two of the most tedious and mind-numbing tasks for content marketers: content audits and inventories.
Maybe you’ve done both individually—content auditing for qualitative analysis and content inventorying for quantitative analysis—or conducted audits and inventories together for a more comprehensive assessment of your content’s performance. Either way, you now have a lot of data and insight that can help you make strategic decisions to improve your overall content strategy, information architecture or website redesign.
But you may be tempted to throw in the towel at this point. You’ve already spent days and/or weeks gathering all that data—what more can be done?! The answer: a lot. It’s time to look at everything you gathered about your current content to uncover clues as to how you can make your content strategy even better.
Depending on the depth of your content inventory, you could be looking at bounce rates, page views, conversion or unique visitors in your analysis. It may seem like an overwhelming amount of data, but interpreting it strategically may help you identify some content outliers that could inspire a new angle in your content strategy. For example, which types of pages or blogs perform best in terms of visitors, bounce rate and conversion? What types of content live on those pages? Look for performance trends in your top-performing pages to see if you can emulate characteristics of those pages on different areas of your website.
Additionally, if you uncover a page or blog post with unexpectedly high performance metrics, consider how you could capitalize on that performance on social media and in your newsletters.
Social shares are another data area to consider including in your content inventory. If your business gets a lot of traffic from social media channels, you may also want to look at social shares, like the number of tweets, likes, +1s, LinkedIn shares, etc., to see which content resonates with your audiences on social media. Use this data to inspire more engaging content.
The analytics you gathered from your content inventory can be telling in regards to content performance. But the other part of your assessment, the content audit, will help you evaluate quality and how your content stands up against your company’s “brand guidelines, style guides, and voice and tone.”
Examine each piece of content as an outsider, someone who has never heard of your product or service and resembles your target persona. Then evaluate the quality of each page in the following areas:
Also, look at your content and evaluate where each piece falls in the marketing funnel to make sure you’re using the right content for new customers, lead nurturing and conversion opportunities.
Now that you have a solid grasp on your own content performance and quality, it’s time to flip the switch and take a look at your competitors’ content. A competitive content analysis will help you understand where you competitors are focusing their content efforts so you can identify holes in their content strategy and opportunities for your own. Audit and evaluate their content quality with questions like:
Use your competitive analysis to make strategic decisions about your content strategy and new content you plan to create.
You’re probably eager to put this content audit business to bed once and for all. But resist the urge because content marketing, SEO and buyer personas are constantly evolving and, eventually, you’re going to have to audit all of your content again to keep up.
The good news is most of the tedious work is behind you and you already have a process in place for audits and inventorying. Continue adding blog and web content to your audit spreadsheets as new pieces are created, and make reporting and analytics a regular part of your content development strategy. This step will help ensure you have the data you need down the road.
Has content auditing helped you overhaul your content strategy? Share your tips and best practices in the comments below!
Jennifer King is a Brand Journalist with Kuno Creative, where she applies her unique skills as a journalist to develop engaging content for B2B clients. Her work has appeared in authoritative online publications such as Lifehacker, Forbes and Great Place to Work. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google Plus.Zach Klein