How much time do you invest into getting your content right?
Hopefully, your answer would be ‘a lot’. Because good content is an incredibly powerful marketing tool for businesses of any size – whether it’s for SEO or for supporting marketing campaigns (email newsletters, custom outreach and more).
For example, businesses publishing at least 16 blog posts every month secure close to 3.5 times the amount of organic traffic of those that don’t. And effective content marketing earns six times as many conversions as alternative methods.
But, sadly, it’s easy for businesses to produce content that’s low on value and high on thinly-veiled sales pitches. Your blog posts, articles, podcasts, white papers, and videos might all fly under target clients’ radar, putting your time, money, and hard work to waste. This is why any B2B brand business looking to make (or widen) its impact on the market must conduct a content audit.
What is a content audit and why does it matter?
A content audit is an in-depth assessment of your current content, aiming to maximize its quality. And not just one type, such as blogs or videos — everything.
Your content library reflects your business. It helps communicate your products, services, and mission to clients. If a single piece doesn’t feel true to your brand or fails to align with your standards, it has to be changed or jettisoned altogether.
So, the core goal of a content audit is really getting a handle on your content inventory and identifying:
- Content you can keep in its current form
- Content you need to revise or place elsewhere
- Content you should get rid of
This process presents a valuable opportunity to consider how your existing content targets your clients and how it meets their needs. People or companies purchasing your products and services are likely to have (many) other options besides your brand. Your content must engage them, maintain their interest, and persuade them to stay loyal.
Leaving your content unchecked for years is a huge mistake. You may have dozens of old blog posts or articles which no longer contain relevant or correct information. Your videos might be peppered with material modern viewers will question.
Another benefit is improving your content’s optimization to align with current search engines. You may have fallen into the trap of cramming keywords into your articles years earlier or overlooked alt tags on images, meta descriptions and other relevant topics/terms.
Addressing issues like these can help boost your search rankings (by attracting backlinks and providing more valuable information for your audience) and create greater consistency across your content library.
How to get your B2B content audit right
So, we know what a content audit is and why it’s important.
Now, let’s tackle the how.
Here are the main steps every business should take when auditing your B2B content.
1. Develop an inventory of your existing content
Starting your first content audit can be daunting. But don’t let that put you off: take it step-by-step.
And what’s the all-important first step? Building an inventory of your current content. You may want to use a tool designed for this very purpose, such as those offered by Screaming Frog or SEMRush (reference their site audit tool). One of these tools will allow you to leverage a crawler to capture the major pages on your website. This is helpful for getting an inventory of your blog posts and other key pillar content pages. This action also allows you to understand how Google and other search engines view the pages on your website.
The overall objective here is to collate a comprehensive list of URLs into a single excel workbook or Google Sheet to start your audit. This creates a solid framework and allows you to segment your URLs based on their site directories and types. When developing an inventory of your website content, make sure you capture key data elements for each url such as title tag, meta description, major headings, backlinks, social shares and more.
In addition to capturing the pieces of content on your website, you’ll also want to create a list of every other type of content you have on-hand. For this portion of the content audit, you’ll have to go beyond the pages on your website. In this part of content auditing, you want to get a list of assets such as videos, presentations, ebooks, white papers, infographics and checklists. Typically, these types of assets will be gated on your website or used within other stages of the customer lifecycle (such as within sales calls or live presentations). When developing this part of the audit spreadsheet, you want to capture the content type (categories such as video, presentation, ebook, white paper, checklist, infographic can be used), title and file format (.pdf, .doc, .mp4, etc.). Although these types of content aren’t necessarily driving your search traffic, they help to improve conversion rates and add value for your website visitors.
After you have a list of urls and other pieces of content, it’s time to categorize the results. Here’s a list of key categories to use within your spreadsheet:
- Buyer’s Journey stage (Awareness, Consideration, Decision)
- Content type (pillar content/guides, industry insights, case studies/best practices, industry trends)
- Content format (blog post, landing page/pillar page, ebook, video, white paper, infographic)
- Number of words
- Date of publication or last modification
2. Choose the content marketing metrics to assess
Next, take the time to consider how you’ll measure your content. Your choice of metrics determines what type of data you’ll gather, such as:
- Average time users spent on the page
- Bounce rates
- Social shares
- Word count
- Volume of inbound links
- Conversion rates
Make sure you spend time discussing metrics with key decision-makers in your business. Don’t leap into using the first options you come across.
You should create a spreadsheet containing these metrics and their respective data for each URL. In cases where the content type isn’t a website page, then you wouldn’t have certain data available (bounce rates, etc.). At the end of the day, this part of the audit will allow you to gain an at-a-glance set of insights into your existing content’s impact and value once the audit’s complete.
3. Evaluate the results
Pulling data on your content is just the beginning. Next, it’s time to analyze it and identify which subsequent steps you’ll take to either improve your existing assets or develop new content.
One effective technique to keep your analysis organized for quick reference? Assign a score to each piece of content based on specific criteria.
For example, a blog post which achieved little to no engagement, weak social shares, had a high bounce rate, and even provoked harsh criticism from a reader would be assigned a 1/10.
On the other hand, a white paper which increased traffic, generated leads in your target B2B audience, and secured higher conversions could be worthy of a 10/10.
With your scoring system in place, it’s time to define your actions. What will you do for each URL or other piece of content based on its score?
Create a column specifically for this in your master spreadsheet and make a note of the most effective action.
You could use the following terms:
Any content which earns a high score, offers readers real value, keeps visitors on the page, and secures conversions is a keeper.
Poor-scoring content with little to no engagement should be removed from your site. You could either create fresh content for the URL from scratch or scrub the page entirely. It’s your call. Just study the metrics and consider how it affects clients’ decision to convert or stay loyal.
One or more pages could contain similar content in slightly different ways. Combine them into one long-form piece packed with value.
Some content might be shared on social media and make interesting points, but is a little outdated or flat. You want to keep it, but need to revitalize and modernize it for stronger engagement. This action is right for content that’s relevant to your target clients but fails to meet your standards of quality or voice. You should be able to improve its performance and impact on readers with a little work. Only the core message may remain the same, while everything else is enhanced. In this scenario, it’s also common to add other assets to a piece of content to make it more rich. For example, you could add short videos or images to an existing blog post. Or, you could elect to build a custom illustration to support content illustrated in a white paper. Whatever the case, the purpose of this category is to signify content which is valuable but requires some additional support.
4. Benchmark your results against the content marketing of your competitors
After you’ve completed the content inventory for your current content and have provided a score for each piece, it’s time to turn your focus towards the competition. By analyzing the high-quality content of your competitors, you can establish a benchmark for your own material. At the end of the day, you’ll need to outpace the competition by improving your word count, including relevant terms and enriching text with pieces of content like video, podcasts or infographics. Use a competitive analysis to help you establish priorities with your own organization’s content. Identify gaps among your competition or identify ways you can improve upon what already exists.
In order to capture the data needed from competitors, you can use the same tools you implemented for your own content audit process (referenced in step #1 above). Once again, use Screaming Frog or SEMRush to view the key landing pages of competitors. Capture the same data points that you noted for your own site – url, title tag, content type, etc. Furthermore, check out the other content available on your competitors’ websites. In this case, it’s a very manual process. Navigate competitors’ websites to search for any CTAs (calls-to-action) and determine the type of content offered.
After curating the data on competitors, utilize a very similar scoring system for each piece of content or url. Now, with competitors, you won’t have the insight from Google Analytics or conversions. However, SEO tools like SEMRush do provide quite a bit of data for specific urls of the competition. You can get an estimated amount of traffic, word count and other data to make an assessment of your own.
5. Establish priorities for adjusting your content and creating new material
Once you’ve provided a score for your content and have also analyzed the content of your major competitors, it’s time to determine priorities. By asking yourself the questions below, you can start to create a list of actions and revitalize your content marketing strategy.
- Where are the biggest opportunities to improve existing content?
- Where are the biggest gaps in our own content compared to the competition?
- What areas of our B2B buying cycle require enhanced content? Or, where are existing bottlenecks within the sales process?
- What content can be adjusted in-house versus outsourcing to a copywriter or other content producer?
- What types of content will have the biggest impact on our business?
Conducting a content audit can be a time-consuming, complex process. But it’s essential to ensure your B2B content resonates with clients, engages them, leads them to convert or keeps them loyal.
Not sure if you’re making the most of your content opportunities? Looking to build a content marketing strategy that achieves real results? Just get in touch with our expert team!
Written by Tristan Pelligrino
Tristan Pelligrino is the Co-Founder of Motion. He’s a serial entrepreneur who started his career as a consultant with large IT companies such as PwC, IBM and Oracle. After getting his MBA, he started and grew one of the fastest video production companies in the country – which was listed on the Inc. 5000. Tristan now enjoys leading the content marketing strategies of some of the most innovative B2B technology companies in the country. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook.