This is the perfect time to conduct a digital content audit - here's how

08 April 2020 | by Tom Kilburn

There’s a lot of digital content out there. Web pages. Blogs. Whitepapers. Ebooks. Videos. Interactive content. The list goes on. Within your own organisation, no matter how large or small you are, there’s undoubtedly a trove of sales and marketing content at your disposal – but is it being used, distributed, and hosted effectively? The reality is unfortunately – probably not!

According to Sirius Decisions, only 35% of content within an organisation is actively used, and mainly for two reasons. It’s either unfindable, or deemed unusable due to poor relevance or quality. And what’s more, according to a CMI study, 80% of B2B marketing assets aren’t used by salespeople, and again, that’s not because of a sales and marketing disconnect – it’s simply unfindable!

Now’s the perfect time to audit your digital content

With many organisations actively deciding to pause marketing campaigns and outbound initiatives in light of global events, now’s the perfect time to use that extra bit of free time you might have to conduct a digital content audit, and work out where your focus should lie once this blows over, and work finally goes back to normal.

What is a content audit

Conducting a successful content audit allows you to evaluate your digital content estate. It helps you to understand what content is available across your main site and any microsites or subdomains you might have, as well as any additional content across the web that positively promotes your site, for example on your Youtube channel. Once you know the extent of what’s available, you can then review your estate to understand what content is missing, what’s performing well (and likewise, poorly), and which content topics and individual pieces you should focus on to spend the least budget to get the best results.

What are the benefits of a content audit?

Ultimately, the key benefit of a content audit is that it lets you grasp what’s available, preventing you from stabbing in the dark, creating duplicate content, or repeating past mistakes. It also allows you to ensure your content is properly optimised for SEO, let’s you understand what content performs well, and allows you to use qualitative and quantitative analysis to plan your content strategy for the next months. And, it’s fun! You’ll discover hidden gems or past campaigns that you worked on years ago that you’ve completely forgotten about and make you go “Oh god. I remember that…”.

So – to recap, and because humans have short attention spans – here are the key benefits:

  • Extend the lifecycle of your (good) content
  • Increase agility of your content engine by repurposing existing to supplement new
  • Identify high-performance assets that can be optimised or used as a template for new content
  • Identify subject gaps in your content that you can plug with new content

How do you conduct a content audit?


Step 1: Compile a list of your digital content

To conduct a successful digital content audit, the first thing you need to do is compile a list of all of your digital assets. Normally, this looks like a spreadsheet list of all of your web pages, blog articles, subdomain pages, landing pages and microsites (if you’ve got them under control!), but also assets separate from your site, such as videos on your Youtube channel.

Fortunately, there are many tools available to help you conduct your digital content audit. Some, such as Screaming Frog, SEMRush or Hubspot have a cost associated, but you can workaround with free tools such as Google Analytics, and as long as your content has some traffic going to it, the crawler will pick it up.

Step 2: Structure and organise your content into categories

Breaking down your compiled content list into subcategories makes the following steps much more manageable. Decide on your categories based on what you’re trying to achieve, but here are some excellent ideas to start you off:

  • Content topic / product
  • Stage in funnel
  • Campaign
  • Date of publish
  • Target audience / persona
  • Content type (e.g. video, blog, ebook, etc.)
  • Gated / Non-gated
  • Performance (e.g. over a certain threshold, such as visits per month, clicks, conversions)

Based on your categorisation, you may only want to prioritise the audit of certain sections of your content estate. And, of course, you can always filter across multiple categories, such as “all highly-performing videos”, or “blogs targeting the retail sector”.

Step 3 – Perform your analysis

So, this is the part that needs the most investment. While compiling your list of content is a relatively quick process, to really perform a thorough audit you need to dive into content itself to analyse its value, whether it’s worth updating or repurposing, and if so, what needs to be done. Unfortunately, time has a degrading effect on content – whether it’s outdated information, aging creative, sub optimal UX or content that the brand’s left behind. It’s worth noting that you don’t actually update anything at this moment – that comes next.

Again, selecting what you should do to your content as part of the repurposing process is completely up to you, but here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Optimise on-page SEO such as title tags, links, image tags and keyword density
  • Consider your content UX, including ease-of-use, readability and CTA placement
  • Think about images and layout, and whether it still looks modern and on-brand
  • Update dated statistics, logos and product information
  • Retire poorly performing content and redirect traffic to more effective content
  • Consolidate old and unused microsites and subdomains
  • Explore your user journeys and think about customer touchpoints across the funnel

Step 4: Planning and execution!

Now for the good bit – putting in a timeline, and getting going!

It might go without saying, but start with your quick wins – low investment activities that have the highest impact. These may include optimising or A/B testing your high-performing content in an attempt to make it even better, or alternatively may mean starting to focus on content that aligns with a campaign you’re already running in tandem or that launches shortly.

Following your initial activity, planning a manageable timeline of content updates and enhancements means that your content is always being improved, rather than a quick boost of activity at the start followed by a dry spell. Making sure it’s manageable, and ramping up rather than down, is more productive and effective than getting out the gates at 1000mph, only to run out of steam after the first 100m.

Get started with your content audit!

And there you have it. You’re well on your way to content nirvana, and you’ve probably saved yourself a tidy sum that you can invest in bigger and better campaigns. Great content marketing always starts with great planning, and with the reality being that you’re probably not starting off at square 1, conducting your content audit now – when you’ve probably got a bit of time - allows you to effectively plan in your existing content into new activities in the future.

We’re offering a free consultation! If you want help setting up your content audit, including document templates and advice, just get in touch!


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