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3 Steps to Content Auditing

You know you’re producing great content that people need. It’s well written, of value and topical. But why isn’t it doing what it should? Are your staff constantly dealing with customer queries when the information they need is on your website? Have you launched an amazing offer that just isn’t flying the way it should? What’s going on?

It could be that although your content is amazing, it’s not resonating with the right people in the right way. Here’s where a content audit can shed valuable light, giving you the facts and figures you need to make changes that help make your content work harder.

Thorough, purposeful analysis and strategy are key to unlocking the power of your content.

It’s often worth carrying out a thorough audit of a specific area or type of content first before you jump on in and analyse everything. That way, you can make adjustments and test your changes before you go further.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but here are The Team’s three steps to auditing your content:

1. Discover 

This can be the most labour-intensive part of the audit, but it’s time well spent to start to get a central view of the scale of your content. To make sure it is doing what you want it to, there are lots of things you need to know, first of which is: who is your audience and what do you want them to do?

Of course, there’s no single audience. Try breaking them down into personas: this is where you use segmentation to define their personas, their needs and their journey.

Next, what’s your content right now? Many audits focus on campaigns and websites only, analysing well-established statistics such as users, clicks and bounce rates. But don’t forget your brochures, magazines, exhibition materials, leave-behinds – and your social media channels.

It’s natural to want to use the same content through multiple channels. But the way it’s written should be adapted and optimised to the channel, audience and desired outcome.

2. Define

Now comes the fun part: the audit itself. There are many ways to do this but a great starting point is the good, old-fashioned Excel spreadsheet. You can start with one content area or channel and a specific time period, and then create a document that you’ll populate with at-a-glance information on the channel, author(s), content type, goal, length, number of social shares, and outcome. You can add more information if you want to, including the time spent to create the content.

If you’re looking at online only, there are specialist automated tools to help you gather up all your URLs and measure engagement too.

For printed media, it’s the same process, but it’s going to take a bit longer and you’ll need to define your objectives and metrics slightly differently.

The way your content has been created is a key factor. Often it has been developed and adapted in silos across an organisation, which means that different styles and tones can emerge. Content can risk losing cohesion in terms of brand, tone of voice and purpose.

It’s natural to want to use the same content through multiple channels. But the way it’s written should be adapted and optimised to the channel, audience and desired outcome.

3. Design

Once you’ve created your spreadsheet, you’ll quickly start to see all your content information and patterns will emerge on what’s working well for you, what isn’t and why. It’s time to score your content.

Set up a scorecard (it doesn’t need to be complicated) to consider the following factors and mark each piece of content against these. We’d suggest keeping it as simple as marks out of 10:

• Signposting
• Format
• Clarity
• Tone of voice
• Audience-optimised
• Clear objective
• Clear call to action
• Shareability
• Brand.

A content audit can shed valuable light, giving you the facts and figures you need to make changes that help make your content work harder.

You’re looking at a range of factors to help populate your scorecard. Is the information easy to find? Are the headlines and intros enticing – do they make people want to know what comes next? This is not the same as SEO, by the way: good SEO will help people find your content but it can’t make them read it or react in the way that you want them to.

Does the content align with your tone of voice and brand? Copy that’s been written by multiple sources can be prone to slipping away from your carefully constructed brand and tone guidelines. Check that any calls to action are clear, logical and easy to follow.

Do you simply have too much of it? Rationalising and repurposing can actually strengthen your messages through simplification.

Hero, Hub and Help is a useful content marketing strategy that can be applied to content auditing too. Hero content is the big-picture splash, designed to grab attention. It’s supported by the hub – regular, useful content that’s designed to get people coming back regularly for more Help is the ‘how do I?’, in other words, answers to the most frequent searches.

Thorough, purposeful analysis and strategy are key to unlocking the power of your content. Don’t forget that you don’t have to audit everything all in one go. Why not pick a recent campaign or blog and give it a go? The results might surprise you.

 

Like to know more about what we do?

We create compelling content and award-winning campaigns that will make your brand unforgettable, irresistible and effective. From content audits, to copywriting, and the application of behavioural science, we can get your brand into the hands, heads and hearts of your audiences, to change beliefs, behaviours – and the bottom line. If you’d like to know more, get in contact or have a look at our case studies >

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