4 Best Practices to Conduct a Content Audit Without the Hassle
By Rose de Fremery on June 3, 2019
You've created and pioneered a bold content strategy, and you're justifiably proud of it. But to maximize its value over time, attracting and converting even more traffic even as search becomes more competitive, you must continually optimize your content and update your digital content strategy. This means that, eventually, the time will come when you must conduct a content audit.
Most marketers dread performing content audits because they're enormously time-consuming and it's easy to get lost in the weeds, fumbling for the right analytics and KPIs. Awash in a sea of seemingly disconnected and arcane details, it's hard to see the big picture and uncover the insights that matter. But conducting a content audit doesn't have to be so burdensome. Here's how you can streamline the process, moving your strategy forward with less frustration in less time.
Why You Need to Conduct a Content Audit
A content audit is an essential tool for evaluating and improving upon your content strategy. It helps you figure out whether your content is still relevant from the customer's perspective, addressing their evolving needs and pain points. A content audit will highlight whether your content remains accurate and consistent and, crucially, whether your existing software—whether that's the CMS you use for publishing content or the digital asset manager (DAM) that houses your content assets—is up to the challenge of delivering it as you continue to scale for growth.
A thorough audit can also uncover hidden opportunities to advance your brand. You may spot new keywords to target or understand how social media outreach is helping audiences engage with your content. A content audit can be incredibly valuable from an SEO perspective because it can highlight which pieces of content don't have optimized meta tags, lack focus keywords, or have a low keyword density. This can help boost your SEO ranking and increase your content ROI.
A content audit can also identify efficiencies, helping your team avoid wasting significant time, energy, and money recreating content assets that another region or team has already produced. You can then invest the time and resources that you've saved into exciting, innovative initiatives that further enhance the effectiveness of your content strategy. Although a content audit may seem laborious on the surface, it can actually produce compound benefits for your marketing team.
Image attribution: Startup Stock Photos
How Can You Make Your Content Audit Less of a Burden?
Finding the time to perform a content audit can be challenging. Marketers may feel like they're in between a rock and a hard place, not wanting to press pause on their current content production schedule for fear of losing momentum. The marketing team may well let out a pronounced and sustained groan at the mere mention of the words 'content audit.' Executive leadership may question the value of an audit given its lack of obvious immediate return. These obstacles can prevent marketers from pressing forward and completing a content audit even when they know it will benefit their brand in the long run.
Even the most innovative marketer who's fully bought into the argument for conducting a content marketing audit may still have understandable reservations about going through with it because, until recently, the process has been so arduous. This form of due diligence often involves tabulating long, detailed audits by hand, combing through archives of past published content, and tracking historic content on separate spreadsheets. As a result, the traditional content audit process tends to create information silos, is inherently error-prone since it is not automated, and it doesn't allow the full team to easily access a complete view of the content and how it is performing.
It's also not particularly fun, making the marketer feel like they're about as far away as they could possibly be from the inspiring insights that will enable them to pursue bold, innovative content strategy enhancements for their brand. For those marketers who have quietly muttered, "There has to be a better way," while toiling through the tedious steps of a content audit, there's good news. With some smart technology integration and thoughtful best practices in hand, you can now conduct a content marketing audit with greater efficiency and ease.
Four Ways to Streamline Your Content Marketing Audit
So how can you have the best of both worlds, streamlining the audit process so you can regularly take inventory and optimize your website without sinking too much of your team's time and resources into an exhaustive process? Here are four ways to remove the drudgery from a content marketing audit so that you can more easily reap its many benefits.
- Identify your main goal. If a content audit seems overwhelming to even contemplate, setting one overarching goal can help you focus your efforts. This can be related to immediate pain points you are experiencing. If you want to get rid of redundant, outdated, or trivial content, then you will want to organize your content audit with that chief goal in mind. This way, you can make your content audit work for you instead of the other way around.
- Automate your content consolidation. By having the right content marketing software integrated with your CMS, for example via a WordPress plugin, you can simplify what would otherwise be a daunting manual process. Integration with tools like Skyword360's Content Import feature automates locating, gathering, and viewing all of your existing CMS content in one location.With technology storing and managing all of your past content for you, the task of evaluating it becomes that much simpler. What would've taken hours before by hand can now be completed more thoroughly and in a much shorter period of time.
- Consider a condensed content audit. To capitalize on the insights you would gain from a content audit throughout the year, you may want to consider performing a condensed content audit on a more frequent basis. As the Content Marketing Institute notes, a condensed content audit is not designed to take the place of a full content audit. However, it does offer you a quick option for honing in on your most important goals and determining how best to achieve them.
- Create a repeatable process. You're probably going to get groans of resistance when the topic of a content audit comes up every year, but they'll be less intense if everyone can use a straightforward framework and tools with which they're already familiar. As much as you can, set clear and consistent KPIs and employ re-usable templates to minimize the level of make-work for everyone involved.
Image attribution: Arnel Hasanovic
With a streamlined content audit process in place, it becomes simpler to optimize your past content, identify strengths and weaknesses in your existing content strategy, optimize your content for better SEO performance, and identify content that should be updated or repurposed for future campaigns. When your marketing team arrives at these insights more quickly and with less difficulty, it can adapt to changes in the marketplace with greater agility and even secure an enviable competitive advantage for your brand.
Yes, the words 'content audit' still cause many marketers to break out into a sweat, and yes, you still have to do one. However, you don't have to resign yourself and your team to countless hours of spreadsheet-induced tedium. By adopting best practices and taking advantage of the timely consolidation that smart software integration makes possible, you can be well on your way to enjoying the benefits of a content audit with less angst. Then you can turn your attention to a far more captivating question: How will you use the insights you've gained from your content audit to move your content strategy forward?
Skyword360's content delivery options make it simple to integrate content creation with your content management system. To see how our WordPress plugin allows you to create an end-to-end content delivery solution for your website, learn more.
Featured image attribution: Francesca Tirico