September 6, 2023 | Article | by Pete Larmey | Content
What is a Content Audit: The Complete Guide
According to HubSpot, 70% of companies use content marketing, and it’s easy to see why. Content marketing is a highly effective tool for attracting customers throughout the entire sales funnel, from initial awareness, through consideration, to the final decision.
But like most things, content is only effective when you do it right. That means:
- Having the right amount of content
- Having the right type of content
- Having content that sets you apart from your competitors
You might be great at producing three blog posts per week, but that doesn’t do a lot of good if your customers and prospects are mainly interested in more in-depth content, like white papers. Likewise, you might be the bee's knees when it comes to pushing out social posts (yay you!), but your competitors might be eating your lunch by producing bite-sized and informative video content that people love.
Either way, you might be losing out on the perfect prospects or not able to keep your current customers engaged. You may also be spending money and resources on producing content that’s not moving the needle for your organization.
That’s where a content audit comes in handy.
What is a content audit?
A content audit is an in-depth analysis of your content offerings. The auditor takes a close look at your website, social media feeds, and other marketing outlets (such as any email marketing campaigns you may be running or have recently run) and determines where your content excels, where it is lacking, and where there may be opportunities for improvement.
What type of research is done for a content audit?
An auditor typically looks at different criteria, including:
The types of content you’re producing. This includes white papers, blog posts, webinars, podcasts, videos, email campaigns, etc.
The volume and cadence of your content production. How many white papers have you published over the past few months? How many blogs do you publish per week? How often do you host webinars? More content typically means more visitors to your website and more chances to connect with customers as they move through the sales funnel.
Whether your content is targeted at the appropriate audiences. If your primary target audience is a healthcare CIO, but your marketing content is mainly targeting sales executives in consumer products industries–well, that’s a problem. That’s why a thorough content audit will not only show how much content you have but also what that content is about and who it’s targeting. Because while volume is great, if the message isn’t right, it’s just wasted words, images, and money.
Does a content audit include competitive research?
Not all content audits include competitive research, but many of them do. A content audit that includes findings from key competitors provides a valuable perspective on the rest of the market–and can give you ideas that will give you an advantage.
With a competitive component, you not only gain a better understanding of how much content other companies are publishing. You can also glean insights into:
Your position in comparison to smaller or larger competitors. This will help you chart your growth trajectory and reveal new opportunities for effective content.
Industry trends you weren’t aware of. These can include key topics that you need to be writing or speaking about.
New ways to reach your target audiences. For instance, you might discover that competitors seem to be gaining a lot of attention with their podcasts or newsletters, and may consider trying similar tactics.
What’s included in a content audit?
Most content audits follow a similar format that includes:
Goals and objectives. The goals and objectives of the content audit should reflect the goals you have for your content marketing program, but they should also stand on their own. For instance, one of the goals of the audit may be to look for gaps in your content coverage, while another goal might be to ensure that your content reflects certain top-line messages you want your audiences to consume.
Research criteria. It’s important that the audit includes the criteria that went into the research so you can understand where the audit’s findings and recommendations came from. What was the time window? What are the themes the auditor looked for? Which competitors did they research? What types of content did they focus on? All that is covered here.
Strengths and opportunities. At REQ, we don’t think there are weaknesses in your content program, only things that are particularly strong and areas for opportunity. Those are summarized here to give you a top-level overview before the audit heads into more in-depth findings.
Key findings. This is where you find out how many content pieces you have, whether they’re targeting the right audiences and delivering the right messages, if you’re following a good content cadence, and more. You’ll also receive specific recommendations on the next steps for your content program.
Competitive analysis. If your audit includes a competitive analysis, you’ll discover what your competition is doing well and how they stack up against you in terms of content delivery. You’ll also get recommendations on how to better position your content program for success against them.
Do you need a content audit?
If your organization is like most, you probably have some form of content marketing strategy in place. But there are certain times when it might be good to reassess that strategy and perform a content audit, specifically if:
- Your company has recently undergone a change in business strategy
- Your organization is entering a new market
- You’re taking over the marketing discipline from someone else
- You’re producing a lot of content, but aren’t sure if it’s the right content
- You’re not producing enough content
- Your leads are down or you’re not getting the right type of leads
- You’re interested in making sure that you’re being as efficient and targeted as possible
In other words, chances are good a content audit is right for you. It’s a great tool for assessing where your marketing program is right now and where it needs to go.
REQ has deep expertise in building content audits for our clients. Contact us today and let us create one for you so you can build a solid foundation for your content marketing program.