You’re creating regular content for your blog, white papers, guides and other downloads, but you’re still not getting the results you want. Does this sound like you? It might be time to take stock of your website and create a content inventory. The occasional audit is necessary in business for your tangible products, and you should be checking up on your intangibles too.
What is a Content Inventory?
Let’s start with the basics; a content inventory is simply a list of all of the content from your website – text, images, videos, audio files, PDFs, etc. Anything that’s out there on your site. Before beginning, define the scope of what you plan to review. Doing a full content inventory of your entire website can be overwhelming. Focus on a particular date range or type of material to narrow it down.
Another item to establish is why you’re conducting the audit. What are you hoping to find out? Two main umbrellas of why you might do a content inventory are one, for SEO purposes, or two to analyze your content marketing efforts. By clarifying your intentions, the whole process will be more efficient, and you’ll avoid any unnecessary data crunching.
A clear understanding of your goals for doing the inventory will reveal what information to collect for your list. If you’re working on SEO, you’ll want to gather keywords, meta descriptions, categories/tags, backlinks, etc. But if your aim is to improve your overall content marketing efforts you need to examine topics, length, keywords, design, and style.
Evaluating the Data
Once you’ve gathered all of the necessary information for your audit, it’s time to analyze your content inventory. Conducting an audit will help you to pinpoint what’s working and what needs improvement in your content marketing strategy. To evaluate your successes and failures look at metrics such as:
- Number of shares
- Number of backlinks
- Search engine rankings
- Internet traffic
- Bounce rate
Search for patterns in your highest performing pieces of content. This valuable information will show you any topical gaps that need to be filled thereby guiding you in the creation of future content. It will also uncover where updates could be made to improve already published assets.
Handling the Workload of a Content Audit
Tackling your content inventory doesn’t have to be a solitary play. Since much of the work involved is data entry or copy/pasting, consider involving other employees or outsourcing the busywork to a third party. Websites like UpWork give you access to independent professionals who will work with you remotely.
Software tools can do a lot of the basic work for you too. Google Analytics content reports are a useful and free place to start. A simple export will get all of your information over to Excel. After compiling all of your data go back through, add another column, and start analyzing what work needs to be done.
Upon the completion of your audit, you should have a list of links, keywords, titles, and notes on changes needed. If there’s a group of people working on the project, you’ll also want to delineate who is in charge of each task. The file should be easily accessible by everyone on your team. After taking care of any edits and updates use the information from your content inventory to fill in your editorial calendar.
Don’t Forget Your Offsite Content
Not all of your content marketing campaigns efforts live on your brand’s website. Don’t forget to review your offsite content like SlideShares, YouTube videos, podcasts, guest posts, and infographics. If you create images specifically for Facebook or Instagram, examine any engagement.
Outside of counting likes and comments, Google Analytics can help in reviewing offsite content too. Look at the Acquisition tab to see what or who is the source of your referrals. Another way to check up on clicks from social media is through the utilization of UTM parameters in your shared URLs. Doing so lets you see what specific pieces of content are sending the most traffic to your website.
Check Out the Competition
At this point in your auditing process, you may consider analyzing your competitors’ websites. Learning what does well on their site and comparing it to your content inventory will reveal where they’re outperforming your site. You won’t be able to complete a full audit because you can’t see their Google Analytics, but you can look at aspects like social shares and backlinks.
Setting the time aside to do a full content inventory is time-consuming and can take days, weeks, and even months, but the time invested allows you to make better-informed decisions when planning future content. To learn more about creating your content inventory and the specifics of instituting a content marketing plan download our eBook Fundamentals of a Strong Content Marketing Strategy.