When was the last time you performed an audit on your content?
(I’ll pause while you think back…)
Stumped? Yah, that’s a typical response we often get when we ask our clients when the last time they performed a content audit was. You know, that deer in headlights look? Or, we often hear, “Wait, is that something we should be doing?”
(The answer is yes, by the way.)
Most content has a shelf life. Your products and services change, which means your data sheets, videos, and sales decks may change. Your company may enter a new market or start serving a new audience, which means your white papers and industry reports may change. You may identify a new trend, product hack, or best practice methodology in which your thought leadership blog posts, infographics, guides, webinars, and eBooks may need tweaking. You receive an awesome customer testimonial or help your customers achieve really amazing results, thus your case studies and testimonial videos may need updating. Are you catching my drift here?
Content should be ever-evolving; it’s not a “set it and forget it” type of thing.
Whether you’ve never performed a content audit, or if it’s just been a while, let’s take a look at why it matters, how to do a content audit, and how often you should audit.
Why it matters
- Your inbound marketing campaigns are driven by content. Let’s face it, in order to generate new leads into your database, your marketing campaigns are driven by having content to share. Download this white paper, view this case study, watch this webinar…whatever your call-to-action is, you need relevant, timely, interesting content to generate interest and get new names to market to!
- Your outbound marketing campaigns are supported by content. But, let’s not forget about your outbound marketing campaigns as well. Especially for those of you doing Account-Based Marketing (ABM) – or Account Based Everything, or some hybrid inbound/outbound approach – you will need content to support your outbound sales plays. This could be even as deep as customizing content for a specific target account in your ABM strategy.
- Your sales are supported and enhanced by content. In order for sales to generate revenue, marketing needs to provide relevant, timely, and interesting content in order to attract the right buyers and help progress the lead or account through the buyer journey to become a customer, and enable the sales team (and don’t forget about up-sell and cross-sell opportunities too). Disclaimer: This doesn’t mean the sales team is off the hook! On the contrary, we recommend Sales be part of the content conversation and write content, too!
- Your brand reputation depends on content. Think about it – if your content is out-dated and stale, what will your customers and potential customers think about your product or service? People don’t want to invest in old products and services that aren’t updated; they want not only the here and now, but the future. People want to invest in companies who are introducing best practices, being an industry leader, and developing life-changing, business-evolving products and services. And really, who wants to be the old, fuddy-duddy grandpa trying to play catch up?
How to perform a content audit
Okay! Now that you’re on board with performing the content audit, let’s take a look at how to actually do it:
Create a content library. Whether it’s a simple spreadsheet tracker, or you use a content management platform, keeping a library, or inventory, of your content is a great place to start to see what content you even have to use! Some items you may want to include in your library is:
- Content Type (white paper, data sheet, infographic, webinar, etc)
- Content Name
- Content Owner (who is leading this content creation)
- Internal Resources (who may support/provide the data or information in this piece of content)
- Active/Creation Date
- Last Revision Date
- Last Revision Notes (what was updated)
- Last Revision Author (who last updated this piece of content)
- Audience Target
- Content Use Case (how/where this piece of content should be used)
- Link to Content – External (on your site, landing page, etc)
- Link to Content – Internal (your internal file storage or content management platform)
- Content Promotion (where the content is being promoted)
- Persona (see content map on the next point)
- Buyer Stage (see content map on the next point)
- Industry (see content map on the next point)
Create a content map. Great job! You’ve got your content outlined. Now, if you have buyer personas created, it’s time to align your existing content to your personas. Don’t have any personas built yet? No worries! Check out our recommendations on creating buyer personas here and here when you’re ready. If you don’t have the personas yet, you can still align the content to what buyer stage the piece of content is intended for. I’ve seen clients match up their content to stages such as Early Stage, Mid Stage, Late Stage type of content, by industry, etc. Basically, the goal here is to map your content to ensure you have the right content, for the right people, and the right stage.
Perform a gap analysis. Now that you’ve identified what content you have and have mapped it, it’ll be fairly easy to see where your content gaps are. What content is missing from each persona? Industry? Buyer stage? Etc?
Create a content strategy. Here is where many teams get overwhelmed – they know they where they need content, but aren’t sure where to start on creating new content. Here are some quick-start tips:
- Repurpose content whenever possible. Content creation doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch! Re-purpose whenever possible. My philosophy has always been, if you can’t re-purpose the piece of content in 7 different ways, it may not be worth creating in the first place. Of course, there are always exceptions to that rule…but you get the idea. For example, a webinar can also become a written case study (hint: get the audio transcribed and start with that!, a blog post, a short video teaser, social media posts, an infographic, eBook, cheat sheet, tips sheet, you name it! The possibilities are endless. Don’t make content creation hard…you can do it!. And if you can’t or your resources are short, or maybe you just need some fresh ideas, let us know and we’ll give you a hand!
- Refresh outdated content. Again, keep your content up to date, relevant, and interesting! If you’ve identified “stale” areas in your content, create a plan to make some simple updates so the feel fresh again.
- Engage other company departments to write content. Marketing isn’t the only department that should be responsible for writing content (sorry to burst your bubble, Marketing; I still love you). Collaborate with different departments to help with content creation. For example, Sales can help write content, and after all, they should be highly in-tune with what your prospective clients are looking for and what brought that person over the edge to become a customer! Customer Success or Account Management teams are great for gaining insights into customers that may make a great case study, results achieved, who may be great to feature on a webinar, etc. Product specialists or industry experts are great for writing technical content pieces and thought leadership articles. Also, you can even run a poll in your company to see who is interested in becoming a thought leader and growing their online brand through creating content for the company…you’d be surprised at how motivated some people are to “get published” or “get featured” as an expert.
- Get creative. Don’t forget to have fun! Creating content can be a lot of fun. No idea is a bad idea to throw out on the table for consideration.
Implement a content audit schedule. Remember, content is an ever-evolving asset for the company. Be sure to set up a recurring schedule to go through this content audit exercise in order to stay on top of your content and not let it become an overwhelming exercise. So, how often should you do it?
How often should you audit?
This really depends on your company and type of business. But, at a minimum, I’d recommend going through a content audit at least twice per year. That should be fairly manageable, even for a small marketing team. If you are able to, a quarterly schedule is recommended. This way, you can plan a quarter at a time and always be looking forward to the next immediate 3-month future, which is tangible and achievable.
High five…you’re on your way to creating some killer content that will attract your ideal buyer and move them along to becoming one of your favorite customers. See, that wasn’t so painful, was it?!
Meet Joy Martinez
Joy Martinez is a Sr. Marketing Consultant at LeadMD, a Marketo Certified Solutions Architect, and a five-time Marketo Certified Expert. She’s also a business owner and former podcast host! With almost 15 years of experience in marketing, marketing automation and digital marketing, Joy enjoys transforming marketing from good to great and playing a key role in driving organizational success with marketing automation. She’s worked in all kinds of industries from food & beverage (broker and manufacturer), financial services, information security, transportation, and has consulted in dozens of other industries.