How to Perform a Content Audit

⋅ August 8, 2013 ⋅ Content Strategy

Paula Land (founder and principal content strategist at Strategic Content) covered a lot of material in her webinar “How to Perform a Content Audit”. Here’s a video recording of the session, and a few key takeaway points.

Why should I perform a content audit?

  • More often than not, people don’t always know how much content they have, or how effective it is, so it’s important to form a baseline for web projects. If you don’t know where you are, how do you know where to go?
  • A content audit uncovers patterns in content to inspire future content strategy.
  • A content audit is used to better understand content lifecycle and workflows.
  • Content audits are important for CMS implementation and/or migration.

What do I need to audit?

  • Start with an inventory.
  • To perform the audit, know what you want to learn, think of your audience, deadlines, timelines, and limitations.
  • Set up audit templates to be specific to your audit goals.
  • Spreadsheets are ideal for tracking.
  • Templates should include inventory data, business requirements, analytics, and brand guidelines.
  • Establish goals and guidelines before doing any audit or strategy.
  • Content audits should include brand voice and tone, editorial quality, content effectiveness, and the competition.

What should I be gathering information on?

  • Content relevance is not just about what is said, but where it’s said and to whom.
  • You should be looking at editorial quality, brand and voice, content effectiveness, and your competition.
  • Most websites serve multiple audiences. See how well the content speaks to all of your personas.
  • Assess your brand message and voice through: terminology, tone/voice, and customer feedback.
  • You can use analytics data, site metrics, and search data to evaluate content performance.
  • Judge content performance based on business goals, personas, KPIs, and search rankings.
  • Look at your competitors. Consider what makes them unique.
  • What are your competitors doing? Observe their audiences, and size up the quantity and quality of their content.

How should I present my findings?

  • Develop a compelling story to present your audit findings.
  • Finalise your content audit and establish strategy by stating your goals and how they have been met.
  • Choose the data you want to share carefully. Remember, you need to create a compelling case to back up the change you are trying to drive.
  • Start with good news, and follow up with some issues that you may have eked out of the content.
  • Consider your audience when presenting audit findings. Who are they, and what do they need to hear from you?

Paula’s point on gearing your insights towards certain business goals was an important one. After all, a content audit is there to help paint a clearer picture of what content exists right now so that you can plan your future content strategy more effectively.

 Focus on striking the balance between:

  • talking about what the stakeholders/decision makers want to hear i.e. What’s working now?
  • and shedding light on problems so that tough decisions can be made i.e. What needs to be improved, and how can this be done?

Know what kind of information you want to present at the end of your audit, and have an idea of what kind of positive change you want to help make as a result of your content auditing efforts.

What was actually said

To see more of what Paula covered, have a look at the slides below.