Many clients that I work with have the problem of having too much content and not really knowing what to do with it. A content audit is a good place to start. But when you have an overwhelming amount of content, plus lots of badly filed drafts, past posts and newsletter copy, it can probably seem overwhelming.
So in this blog, I’m going to cover how to do a content audit.
Why you need to do a content audit
Having too much content on your website can be confusing. Your business has probably changed and evolved over the years so the kind of things you talked about when you first started out is not the same message you want to make right now.
It may not even be the same audience you are talking to, either. Plus, if you’re doing the content job right, you’ll be testing, tweaking and drilling down into the things that work. That means by its very nature, your content needs to change, too.
But having too much content or an established business is not the only reason you would need a content audit.
Off the top of my head I can think of:
- Having a re-brand
- Pivoting the business
- Being a brand new business (say wha’? Yep, I’ll come to this later)
- Run out of ideas of what you want to say
- Having no content strategy (winging it is not a strategy)
- Or your current content isn’t converting into actual sales.
Any of these is a perfectly valid reason to do a content audit. And I would recommend looking at your content on a regular basis. Once a quarter maybe.
Ready to get going? Here is how to do a content audit.
1. Start with the content you already have
It might seem obvious but looking at what you already have is the starting point. You’ll want to look at any blog, audio or video content you have, plus your website pages. If you use landing pages, have multiple lead magnets, or sales pages, make sure you don’t forget about these.
Basically, you want to run a search on any URL from your website and analyse it.
2. Break it into three categories
- Content that works
- Content that doesn’t
- And content that sort of does
Content that works means that it’s doing its job of bringing in paying customers. Whether that’s product pages, sales pages, or a blog. You can track the traffic coming to your website. And you can track conversions from that page to your marketing newsletter, purchase, or a sales call – depending on your business model.
Content that doesn’t work, well it doesn’t do the above. No one is clicking on or reading that content. I’m going to say something here that many people don’t like hearing – you need to remove this content from your website. No one reads it, no one is going to read it. It’s doing your website more harm than good.
If you struggle to identify content that needs to be deleted, you should consider getting something external to do this for you because they will not have the emotional attachment that you have to it. They’ll take a more pragmatic approach to what is or is not working.
Then there is the content that sort of works. This content looks like the pages that get organic search traffic but no one really converts. What you have here is work. Your job is to make this content either perform or go off into the ‘doesn’t work’ pile. Which is why I recommend doing a regular content audit so that you don’t forget about this content.
If you do this process well, you should have a selection of high-performing content on your website that works for you and your customer. Without the distracting clutter.
Although do remember that if you delete a URL, you need to adjust any links that go to it. And you may want to make a note of the kinds of content that didn’t work so well so that you don’t create the same thing again.
3. Look at your social media profiles
Once you’ve got your website content sorted, you’ll want to look at the content you deliver on your social media profiles. Start with the platform that is performing best for you.
Generally, it’s the platform where you get the most engagement but you want to check through click-through rates to your website to make sure the engagement is driving traffic or sales.
You don’t necessarily need to analyse everything you’ve ever put out on social media but instead ask yourself some pointed questions like:
- Why did this post perform well?
- What do my top-performing posts have in common?
- What did I do differently on this post where people commented?
And so on. Again, you need to be clear on what insights you need to analyse. It’s all well and good saying this video got outrageous reach but if no one bothered to click on your profile, follow you or even go to your website, was it really that good in the first place?
Whereas looking at the posts that had lots of clicks to your website may have had a smaller reach, those are the best performers in the long term. Do more of them.
4. Check out your analytics
Now, you can’t do either of the above without looking at and analysing your data. A fully comprehensive content audit will also take into account the SEO and any PPC activities you have going on.
I’ve known people who have ranked on the first page of Google for content but it not be attracting the right kind of audience. While it was great it brought in big chunks of organic traffic, it wasn’t bringing in clients. It’s better to have quality traffic than quantity traffic.
Again, make sure the analytics that you measure are the ones that lead to your goals.
5. Competitor check-in
Wait – a competitor analysis but this is my audit?
And that’s absolutely right. But if you know what your competitors and peers are saying then you can start to identify some content gaps to fill with things that they are not saying or going deep enough about.
Remember not to compare yourself to whatever it is that your competitor is doing. This is more of a ‘seeing what else is out there’ exercise than measuring yourself against another business – which is never healthy.
Just go and look at what others are saying who come up in your SEO targets. See what your competitors are putting out. Is there something you can do differently, or better?
See it as a reference point to analyse where you are going.
What to do with this content audit
Firstly, don’t get overwhelmed. You can’t make all the changes you want or need to at once. It’s more important that you take some action as a result of all your research than you feel it’s all too much and never look at it again.
When you have everything in front of you, you can start to make some content decisions based on what is best for your business. You might want to tackle some glaring SEO gaps first. Or you may want to create a whole new content strategy.
It really all depends on factors such as how much time you have, what is working for you right now, how many new customers you want or need. This is where I can’t give generic advice because what you do with a content audit is so very much down to each individual business.
But do SOMETHING with it.