You need a moist, smooth content audit

WE Communications Blog: Transformative Storytelling

— Shaan Khan 

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, there are over 59 million words in the English language. And to no one’s surprise, there are words that people don’t like all that much. Here at WE, an internal poll revealed that “moist” and “smooth” are two of our least favorites (I admit they make me cringe after saying them a few times over). Here are a few more that often get under people’s skin:

  • Plethora
  • Nosh
  • Literally
  • Listicle
  • Utilize
  • Guru

Sadly, some people would add “audit” to that list. I get it—it’s a dry word that reminds people of things they’d rather forget about, like taxes and corporate malfeasance.

But as a content marketer, I’d like to offer a different perspective. You should love the word “audit” and here’s why:

A content audit is the foundation for creating great content

Whether your business is refreshing its website, or creating new content to support marketing programs, it’s critical to actually know what content you’ve already got and how good it is. Sounds obvious, right?

The thing is, you really have no idea what you’ve got, or how good it is, without a content audit. And it isn’t anything to be afraid of. A content audit is the process of identifying and cataloging every piece of content you’ve created for your business—what it is, where it’s kept, who owns it—and then conducting a qualitative analysis to determining how effectively your content is meeting your business and communications goals. The qualitative analysis is especially important because:

  • It shows the depth of research you’ve conducted into your business’ website;
  • It brings research and content marketing expertise together to expose any blind spots within your business’ content marketing/strategy.
  • And together with the quantitative analysis, it lays the foundation for your content marketing and strategy.

So simple, so important.

Nevertheless, we still see clients big and small balk at the idea of conducting a content audit, usually for one of two reasons: time and expense. However, the long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term costs: Audits can take time and cost money, especially if your company has a robust website with a lot of content that has been created over time and by various contributors. But knowing what content you want to keep, repurpose or archive makes future content production more efficient and effective, saving you time and money. Think of the content audit as an investment that delivers increasingly valuable dividends for your business over the long-term.

Here are a few actual examples of insights clients have been surprised by after completing a content audit:

  • Content addressing a certain customer need in the buyer doesn’t exist on the website
  • Content exists, but no longer maps to the overall business strategy.
  • Redundant content created due to a lack of visibility on existing assets.
  • Missed opportunities to repurpose popular content for added business value
  • Dated content that is actually detrimental to the business

Not having these insights would lead to inevitable headaches: time wasted on developing ineffective content; misalignment between the content strategy and business goals; lost business opportunities and ultimately a poor customer experience.

The good news? It’s not too late to get started. And when you’re ready to, contact us. We do content audits (as well as full-blown web and content strategies) for clients of all sizes and industries and we’d love to talk to you. Moist and smooth optional, of course.

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Shaan Khan
Content Marketing Manager