Last month’s newsletter focused on the importance of making content creation an integral part of your firm’s growth strategy. This month, we dive in deeper to content creation including exploring the value of the right content, reviewing the basics of a content audit, and outlining next steps to make the most of your content marketing efforts.
We all know that in today’s search environment, content is king. Strong content is what attracts visitors to your social media channels, keeps them coming back to your website, and ultimately helps land new clients and engagements. Writing good content; content that resonates with your audience and ultimately leads to new business, can be time-consuming. However, implementing a content strategy is more than consistently creating tons of new content. It’s about creating the right content – content that generates engagement, educates your audience, positions your firm appropriately, and nurtures prospects throughout the buying cycle.
Content creation takes time and can lead to considerable frustration when the effort dedicated does not achieve the level of desired engagement. Your firm may produce content consistently, but if you're not doing regular content audits, you're missing a valuable step in your content creation and curation process. A content audit is a powerful tool that helps maximize your content's performance.
A content audit is a method of evaluating and analyzing your existing content to determine what's working, what needs improvement, and what is not working. Every firm's content audit will be a bit different in terms of goals, metrics, and conclusions. At their core, all content audits involve an honest look at your content to find areas of strength and weakness to ultimately enhance your ongoing strategy.
Done correctly, routine content audits offer many benefits. First, you'll be able to hone in on the content that's moving you toward your goals while weeding out content that is under-performing. It will also allow you to find ways to recycle existing pieces, lightening your load a bit and reducing the need to write new content. Finally, digging into your past content's metrics should offer key insights to focus your content marketing strategy going forward.
The following four steps will get you started on implementing a basic content audit. You will find that as you make content audits routine, they will become more strategic and focused. Like so many other things in marketing, start with the basics and build from there. There is plenty of time to add complexity. What's most important is to get started.
Every business will have different goals for their content marketing strategy. If you have not set goals for your content marketing, start here – set goals. If your goals are not specific and measurable, add metrics. Beginning with your goals will help identify which key metrics and KPIs to examine most closely. For example:
When it comes to content, nothing else matters without goals and metrics.
Next, you should use an online tool or a spreadsheet to compile an inventory of the content you want to audit. Gather page titles, URLs, publish dates, word-counts, and other information. Then, add categorical information like type, user journey stage, format, etc. Finally, include key metrics such as user sessions, time-on-page, bounce rate, backlinks, shares, keyword rankings, and more.
Having the content list and associated metrics assembled and organized will make it possible to analyze the information and identify trends. For SEO, look at keyword rankings over time as well as organic traffic, dwell time, backlinks, etc. For audience engagement, you'll want to evaluate social shares, comments, mentions, and similar. For conversion rates, look at behavior and sales metrics like time-on-site, session duration, page views, leads, and ROI. Your specific KPIs are directly correlated to your firm's unique content strategy. Look for trends by comparing the data by time period (month over month, quarter over quarter, year over year).
Once you crunch the numbers, it is easier to decide which content to keep, which to retool, and which to eliminate. Don’t hesitate to retool existing content by reusing (reposting), refreshing (updating), restructuring (presenting it in a different format), adding new images and videos, updating details, adding commentary, or enhancing calls-to-action. Once you have a handle on the best-performing content to support your goals, you can plan your new content creation and curation strategy. The result is to streamline existing content and improve new content development going forward.
Performing detailed, routine content audits properly will take your content marketing to the next level. Ready to get started for yourself? We encourage you to dive right in and see what the numbers tell you. We also suggest you consider setting aside a budget for content audits. Paying for tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider or SEMrush, for example, will make collecting, categorizing, and analyzing your data easier, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of pages rather than dozens. These are just two examples of many effective pieces of content audit software available today.
Most of all, it's important not to wait. The sooner you audit your content and make decisions about the content, the sooner you'll start moving the needle toward your goals.
Interested in learning more or wondering where to start? Give us a call at 713-520-5532. We’d love to help!