How to Marie Kondo Your Content with a Condensed Content Audit
Performing a content audit is as important to your brand as spring cleaning your home (or as we call it these days: Marie Kondo-ing your home). Content audits ensure the success of your content marketing efforts. Without this key process, you’re essentially allowing your content to run amok and lead your audiences down bumpy broken paths on your channels.
Content creation is only a fraction of the work needed for a successful content marketing initiative. You already know you need a thorough content strategy, but the decisions you make in a content strategy need to come from somewhere. That somewhere is your content audit.
The annual content audit is a beast, and it’s not uncommon for small businesses to forgo it completely. The problem: you’re kicking off content strategies and creating new content without assessing previous content. You’re also not taking the time to learn from mistakes and acknowledge wins.
Don’t let the drudgery of a content audit keep you from completing it. Instead, tackle the project more frequently with a condensed content audit.
While a condensed content audit won’t completely take the place of the full audit, you will have a stronger understanding of what content is helping your brand and what content you can ditch. You will also be better set up for your full content audit come next year.
How to Marie Kondo Your Content with a Condensed Content Audit
What content sparks joy? Has certain content run its course? What content is buried in a cluttered digi-pile? It’s time to clean up your content and refocus your brand messaging. How else will you reach your goals?
Monthly tidy-up sessions (condensed content audits) can help you see what content is performing well and what’s just taking up space and deterring your audience. Set aside a few hours each month to dive into your condensed content audit with these 6 steps.
Select Your Goals and Metrics
Theoretically you could review your content from a dozen different angles. But you don’t have time to go full-blown murder scene investigator on this thing.
Get focused and choose three goals or metrics to base your audit on. For example, you can choose conversion rates, engagement, or referral traffic. Once you build this frame for your content audit, you will have an easier time staying focused and digging a little deeper into those metrics.
Take Inventory of Your Content
This is the least fun part, but if you do it right, you’ll thank yourself during the analysis phase. Comb through your content and create an inventory list with the name of each piece along with a hyperlink (you’re here to save time, make sure your links are live so you don’t waste precious seconds copying and pasting links into the search bar).
Your first organizational task will be to create separate lists for mobile and desktop content. Segmenting mobile and desktop metrics and organizing content into a tiered system will allow you to analyze the individual contribution of each item as well as how everything contributes holistically.
Then, document all content that was produced during the time period you’re reviewing. While you may not analyze all content in-depth, seeing the bigger picture will help you pinpoint holes in your strategy.
If see that a good chunk of your content is not aligned with the goals and metrics your auditing for, then you may need to return to square one and choose new goals. Document all observations, assertions and questions as you go. All the notes you take will come in handy when you get around the table with your content strategists.
Categorize Your Content
You now have a crisp inventory list that Marie Kondo would swoon over. Now it’s time to categorize your content based on type or “purpose”.
The most common categorization strategy is to use your current sitemap structure as a frame of reference. You can then further categorize content by primary pages, inner pages, product landing pages, blogs, etc. Once categorized, you can review the flow of your site and see where there may be roadblocks for users through their web experience.
You can also categorize content by product category. This a great option for companies with a full line of products and tons of content focus on each.
A third option is to categorize your list by type of content. Blogs would be separate from downloadables and landing pages, for example. Here you may see a lopsided focus on different types of content and how you may need to pivot your focus for the next round of content creation.
There’s no gold standard method for categorizing content. Choose whatever works best for you, based on your three goals and metrics. There’s likely a lot of content to review, so make it easy to understand your own organization process.
Add Additional Data
Once you’ve created a categorized list, extract any additional, relevant data that will provide context to each piece. Use crawling tools like those provided by Screaming Frog and SEMrush to crawl your pages and look for errors in URLs. You can also take advantage of Google Analytics, which will already have a running list of your URLs and page metrics.
You can also use these tools to flesh out each content piece’s profile with content-specific metrics. This will help you look for trends and gaps in your content when it comes time to evaluate content. Refer to your three goals to stay focused on data that applies to this audit round.
Once you’ve identified relevant data (like keyword rankings, traffic by channel, engagement, sessions, time on page) make sure to include this data in designated cells on your spreadsheet.
Evaluate and Score Your Content
Now that you have all of your data organized, categorized and fleshed out, it’s time to evaluate your findings. Look for trends and patterns related to your content.
- Are you noticing users lingering on product-related content and skipping over thought leadership content?
- Is short-form video dominating your engagement on social media?
- Are you receiving a lot of DMs about the ingredients in your products?
- Are users dropping off in-depth content toward the top of the page?
- Is there less engagement on one category of content than another?
These trends will inform your next round of content creation.
Apply What You Learned
After reviewing your content and identifying trends, you can then begin extracting key findings and applying them to your next content strategy. Here are a few common questions to consider for your next content strategy:
- Do you have a content curation plan? How can we apply it to our content strategy?
- What content can be repurposed or updated to meet new goals?
- Have we searched for the keywords we want to rank for?
- Where do we see gaps in our content?
- What types of content are users engaging with most?
- What tools or resources can we adopt to streamline content processes?
These questions will also help you to discern which topics should be discussed in the content strategy as well as which topics need to be turned into content for users.
You’ve Got This. We Believe In You.
Content audits are tedious business, but when you start seeing positive changes in user engagement and conversions, you’ll be happy you took the time to Marie Kondo your content.