Marketers constantly adjust to new content trends and try new tactics to increase the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives. But, new content is only one piece of the content marketing puzzle. The content you created in the past ago doesn’t disappear just because it’s no longer relevant or timely. In fact, out of date content can negatively impact several different aspects of your marketing program—and many marketers don’t even realize it.
Though plenty of marketers know how to create content, analyzing content is a different story. Believe it or not, 55% of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like (source). So, how can you determine which content has helped or hurt your strategy? The answer? Perform a content audit.
If you have yet to audit your existing content database, this blog post is for you. We’ll break down every aspect of a B2B content audit– what it is, why it’s important, and what steps you can take to make the process go smoothly. Let’s get into it!
What is a content audit?
A content audit is the process of analyzing your existing content with the intent of improving the overall quality of your entire marketing content library. While you can audit specific areas of your site, a complete content audit examines every type of content you’ve created – including blog posts, infographics, webinars, E-Books, whitepapers and more.
The primary purpose of a content audit is to determine which content you should keep, which you should revise or repurpose, and which you should remove from your site. But, a content audit can improve your strategy in several different ways – keep reading.
What are the benefits of a content audit?
There’s no way around it – content audits require a lot of time and energy. But, performing a content audit can yield many benefits to aid your content marketing efforts as you move forward. Here are some examples:
Improve poor content: Content published years ago often contain errors like broken links or outdated information– but most often, old content just doesn’t live up to your existing quality standards.
Boost search rankings: Google updates its algorithm for indexing web pages hundreds of times per year (source). So, the content you created years ago is likely misaligned with today’s SEO best practices. A content audit can expose outdated SEO practices and allow you to better optimize website content to rank higher within Google search results.
Generate ideas for future content: When you perform an audit, you learn what types of content have and have not been successful. So, content audits help you gain valuable insights into what direction you should take with future content.
If you’re ready to get started, you’ve come to the right place. Today we teach you the steps to achieve a complete content marketing makeover!
How to Perform a Content Audit
1. Create an inventory of your existing content.
Of course, the first step of a content audit is to locate and collect every piece of content your marketing team has ever produced. Think blog posts, videos, infographics, landing pages, E-Books, whitepapers and more.
If you only have a few dozen pages to collect, you can perform this process manually. But, if you’re collecting hundreds or thousands of assets, you may want to work from your website’s sitemap or use a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl your website. Tools like this allow you to collect and organize URLs in a more organized fashion.
2. Gather relevant performance metrics.
Before you can truly analyze your content, you must determine which data points you’ll use to evaluate your content inventory. These data points will help you assess your content’s effectiveness, and uncover important trends and commonalities between your best pieces of content. Common data points for content marketing include:
- Type of content (blog post, infographic, landing page, etc.)
- Word count
- Page visits
- Social shares
- Average time on page
- Bounce rate
If you are conducting a content audit mainly for SEO purposes, here are some more metrics you should consider:
- Target keyword
- Inbound links
- Meta description
- Image Alt tags
- Page headings
Keep in mind: you should only collect the data points you need to achieve the goals of your content audit. If you become too bogged down collecting data, you can make your content audit far more complicated than it needs to be.
3. Analyze and assign a score to each piece content.
Now that you’ve created a content inventory and determined which metrics to track, it’s finally time to take a deeper look at your content. Analyze your content and the data points you collected with the following questions in mind:
- Is the content’s quality up to your current publishing standards?
- Is the content still being engaged with?
- Does the content reflect your brand’s message and focus?
- Have there been any updates to the topic? How accurate is the content? Is it written with current best practices in mind?
- Is the content relevant to your current target audience?
- And is the content properly optimized for search engines?
If you want to be more precise with your content audit, we recommend grading your content according to the above criteria. For example, you can attribute a score from 1 to 10 based on the content’s quality, its engagement, and so on. These scores will come in handy during the next step of the process.
4. Determine and document all action items.
A content audit will only improve your marketing initiatives if you set clear action items for each piece of content you analyze. So, although this is the final step of your audit, it’s arguably the most important step.
In your content audit spreadsheet, assign each piece of content one of the following tags:
Keep: The content requires no changes and can be left as it is. If you implemented a scoring system for your audit, you’d ‘keep’ content that scored a 9 or 10 in all categories.
Revise: The content has several flaws but is still relevant and valuable. You will revise and update it so that it is high-quality, current and in line with SEO best practices.
Repurpose: As it stands, the content is no longer valuable – but it contains information that can be used in a future piece of content.
Remove: If the content offers no value and is negatively affecting impacting your strategy, remove it from your library entirely. Make sure you redirect the URLs of deleted content to other, high-quality content so that visitors don’t encounter dead pages or links.
Alongside the action items, include a comment section to explain any changes that must be made to each post. That way, you can return to the content audit later and quickly get to work on a specific piece of content.
A content audit is not a one-time fix. As your strategy changes, you will want to regularly revisit your content to assess performance and find areas of improvement.
The frequency of your content audits will depend on the size of your database and your specific content marketing goals. But, we recommend you perform an in-depth audit at least once a year.
Key Takeaways on B2B Content Audits
Effective content marketing relies on fresh ideas and forward-thinking strategies. But, marketers often forget the importance of looking back at the work they’ve already done. Remember, content audits serve a greater purpose beyond fixing past mistakes– they also help you discover insights that will guide your future content marketing decisions.
Content audits may seem like a lot of work – but once you see the results, you’ll be sure to make them a regular part of your content strategy.
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