A step-by-step guide to performing a content audit
Let’s say you’ve been publishing content consistently. However, the content doesn’t enhance your organic traffic nor improve social media engagement.
Then, it’s time to do a content audit.
An audit is a regular exercise every content creator should perform. It ensures the effectiveness of your content across marketing platforms.
But how do you perform a content audit? You’ll learn that in this article.
What is a content audit?
A content audit is a comprehensive analysis of your current content to determine whether it still aligns with your content marketing and business goals. This process helps you ensure you have content on your marketing platforms that delivers the best results.
With a content audit, you can also understand what’s working, what isn’t, and learn ways to improve your content strategy.You may also use it to find gaps in your content strategy or new opportunities to exploit.
Since ranking on Google takes time, adjusting freshly released content before it has had time to rank is not a good idea. So, it’s advisable to conduct content audits for pages that are over six months old. For efficiency’s sake, you may want this audit to cover your content on other marketing platforms as well.
Four steps to conducting a comprehensive content audit
Now that you know content audits are key to improving your content marketing strategy, let’s go back to our original question: how do you perform it? Here are the four steps you need to take:
1) Take inventory of your content
The first step of any successful content audit is to inventory what you have. That includes looking at your site’s blog posts, product descriptions, infographics, and any other content asset you published on other platforms. When you know what type of content you have, you’ll know what needs to be done to improve your content strategy.
Excel, Google Sheets, and Microsoft Access are examples of free spreadsheet and database tools you can use for your inventory.
Begin by defining your content categories or format. Look at your landing pages, blogs, articles, tutorials, and social media posts. Also, ensure you include backlinks data and SEO metrics in your sheet, if those apply.
For example, the following content list includes data such as type, category, backlinks, etc.
Aside from that, the following screenshot includes SEO metrics.
The more details you include about each content piece, the more in-depth your analysis will be.
2) Analyze content metrics
Content metrics help you determine your content quality and its performance. In essence, the data measures the success or failure of a campaign.
You metrics will vary from one type of content to the other.
For instance, your metrics for promotional emails could be clickthrough rates. For blog posts, they could be your traffic.
The table below shows the metrics for evaluating the effectiveness of various content types.
Yet, these various pieces of content might share key metrics. These metrics include the following.
Content engagement represents the number of times your content has been viewed, shared, or otherwise interacted with by users. Content engagement helps you understand what works best for your audience.
Social media metrics are types of engagement metrics. They measure engagement around your social media content. So, you’ll look at shares, comments, likes, retweets, and so on.
Lead generation metrics
These metrics tell you whether or not your content generates leads. They measure how many leads are generated from your content and how those leads convert into customers.
Lead generation metrics can determine how many people sign up for your newsletter, a product demo, or purchase a product.
SEO metrics show your content’s performance on search engines. They can help you understand how people find your site and what they’re looking for when they get there.
There are several types of SEO metrics. These include clickthrough rate, bounce rate, impressions, and organic traffic. You can also consider technical SEO metrics like broken links, pages with a 404 status code, redirects, etc.
Analyze your content metrics according to the benchmark you should have set prior to social media, email, eCommerce or SaaS content production.
You could base this figure on set industry benchmarks. For instance, for food and beverage companies, the Facebook engagement rate per post is 1.82%. In retail, it’s 1.37%.
You could also base your benchmark content metrics according to your historical data. So, for your social media content, use the platform’s in-built analytics to determine how much engagement your posts generated in the past. Then, set a higher benchmark based on that data. You can use Google Analytics or Google Search Console for your website content. Email marketing platforms like Moosend can give you the data you need for past email opens, clicks, among others.
If you see your existing content meets those set benchmarks, then take note of that type of effective content. If it doesn’t, include a note that says you’ll need to implement strategies to improve that content’s performance.
3) Evaluate existing content using other criteria
Evaluating your content also means determining whether it meets its goals and user needs. You’ll want to perform this assessment, especially for content that’s not working as it should.
Go back to your audience persona to make an accurate assessment. A user persona is a fictional character that represents your target audience. It can help you learn users’ goals, needs, pain points, motivations, and interests. You should have created your user persona before creating your content.
Here is an excellent example of this:
Now check your content that’s performing poorly. See if it addresses any pain point specified in your user persona. If it doesn’t, take note.
Evaluate the same content for the following criteria.
Content structure is how you arrange your content to make it easy for readers to understand and find what they want. How effectively did you organize your content. For example, are there clear headings so visitors can quickly scan the content? Is there enough white space? Does it flow?
Your content should be accurate and authoritative.
Duplicate content is when the same content appears on your website in multiple places. For example, the same article topic is posted on two different pages on your site.
This can cause problems with your search rankings and ultimately hurt your organic traffic, revenue, and reputation. Screaming Frog can help you with identifying duplicate content.
While checking for duplicate content, you can also scan your content for plagiarism. Tools like Grammarly and Copyscape can be very helpful here.
When was your content last updated? All content starts to ‘decay’ after posting, so it is important to refresh content you would like to rank for SEO, or to have evergreen value.
You can check your competitor’s content too. This can help you determine the content formats that work given a specific topic. Check the content structure, too. You’ll want to emulate these to improve your poorly-performing content.
You can also check the content your competitor already has but which you don’t have. If this is content that performs well, you’ll want to create something similar, too. Chances are, it will perform just as well on your marketing platforms. You can use generative AI to help you produce this engaging content. The tool can help you create on-brand content as well. Just insert the right prompts.
At the end of the content evaluation, you should have a clear understanding of where your content stands and what steps you can take to improve it.
4) Create an action plan
An action plan outlines the steps you will take to address the issues raised during your content audit process.
Creating an action plan is just as simple as putting everything you learned about your content strategy into writing. List down the content that needs to be updated, deleted, and created from scratch. Specify the duplicate content that needs to be deleted.
Here’s a great content audit spreadsheet showing you how to organize this.
You’ll also want to specify the deadline for each task. If you’re working with a team, identify in your content plan who should be in charge of what. This way, you’ll know whom to hold accountable if there are delays.
Finally, specify again what metrics you will use to assess the success of your audit efforts. So, the next time you perform a content audit, you have set benchmarks against which you’ll assess your existing content again.
Approach your content audit strategically
High-quality content can help you generate leads, increase brand awareness, and convert people into customers, among other things. The last thing you want is to have content that doesn’t serve its purpose.
That’s why a content audit is a critical part of any content strategy. But you need to approach your content audit strategically. In this article, you learned how to perform a content audit. Just follow these steps:
- Take inventory of your existing content
- Analyze content metrics
- Evaluate the content according to other criteria
- Create an action plan
With the proper audit, you can implement the necessary steps to improve your content. The result? Your content will yield the best results for you.
Good luck with your audit!
James Westfield is the Marketing Manager for Writer, an AI writing platform designed for teams. He has over 10 years of experience in the industry. When James isn’t in the office, you can find him on the golf course.