Brittney Joyce is the content marketing lead at Shoobx, where she works on all things marketing- and writing-related. Prior to joining Shoobx, Brittney ran her own content marketing business and also worked as a legal analyst at a financial litigation firm. You can follow her on Twitter @bpjoyce91.
Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where my content is? You’ve got a blog where you regularly publish thoughtful, quality content, and as a content marketer this is probably a core component of your work. Blogging really harkens to the roots of content marketing (and for fond memories of the birth of the movement, you should revisit the River Pools story), but a “set it and forget” approach to blogging isn’t going to get you far. To leverage your blog to its full potential for your content marketing strategy, doing a content audit can yield valuable insights and give you the opportunity to ensure your blog content remains a fresh and powerful part of your content marketing strategy. This is a high-level overview to get you started if you’re thinking about taking the plunge and doing your own content audit. In the great tradition of spring cleaning, I encourage you to read this post, roll up your sleeves, and dive in.
Identify the “why.”
A content audit for the sake of doing a content audit is not a good use of your time. Your audit will yield insights into the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy, but what specifically are you interested in? Determining what kind of content is most effective? Identifying gaps in your current content collection? Reevaluating whether your content still serves your company’s business objectives and speaks to your core audiences? Nailing down the “why” before you get started will serve as a guiding light throughout your process.
Get organized and index your blog content.
Create a spreadsheet to log of all your company’s blog posts and the accompanying notes as you review each one. If you have a lot of blog posts, pulling together all of their information can be a time-consuming process, and you may want to look into using an SEO crawling tool to catalogue the URLs (although note that many of the more robust options aren’t free). In addition to post URLs, your content index should include:
Traffic stats (page visits, bounce rate, average time on page, and any other stats of interest)
Number of social shares
Number of comments
Last update (or date of publication)
Your content audit goals will ultimately inform the criteria with which you’re going to evaluate your blog content, but as a baseline, the following fields are helpful to include for any strategic review, and are separated out from the fields in the previous section because they require more qualitative assessment. For most of these, you can rate them with a 1-5 grading scale:
Adherence to brand voice: Your blog evolves over time and may have multiple authors and styles. Does your content adhere to the current iteration of your company’s brand voice, as determined by style guidelines, brand architecture, or company values?
Readability: Is your blog post a massive wall of text, or do you have regular subheadings? Are your sentences long and complex, or direct and reader-friendly? Does the title clearly indicate what the content is about? Is the writing level suitable for your target audience?
Accuracy: Is your blog post content still accurate, or is it out-of-date? Does it provide helpful information to your reader or is it misleading?
Knowledge level: Is subject matter expertise required to understand your blog content, or could a lay person understand it? Does the knowledge level align with your target audience?
CTA: Does your blog post have a clear, actionable CTA? Is it missing a CTA entirely? Is the next step championed by your CTA the strongest option for your readers?
Business objective: What business objective for your company does this blog post serve? Is it educational content, information about your product, or something else? Pre-determine different categories of business objectives and assign one to each blog post as you evaluate.
Analyze your results.
Take a look at your blog content evaluation. Tabulating your ratings and sorting by the others stats that you gathered can tell you a lot about what content is really working for you, and what has room for improvement. You’ll notice that there are probably some quick wins (like adding or updating CTAs) and some that will require more work, like filling any obvious gaps in your content or updating previous posts to better serve your current business objectives and reflect your brand voice.
Make a plan and update your blog!
If you identified a lot of changes to be made, implementing them may feel overwhelming. Create a schedule to update the backlog of blog posts, and try to create a balance between the fast changes and the strategically important ones to stay motivated. And congratulations — it’s not even summer, and you’re well on your way to a powerfully updated blog. Happy auditing!