Why you need a content audit before starting inbound marketing. [Free template]

Ugh, why do I need a content audit? Can’t I just start writing? Here’s why it’s important plus a free content audit template to make it easier.

Written by Molly Johnston
Inbound marketing |   4 minute read

Content is the lifeblood of inbound marketing and I’m not just saying that because it’s what I do all day. It has such a big part to play in the methodology but are you getting the most from your existing content? 

content team inbound marketing doing content audit

Think of all those blog posts, whitepapers and press releases that are roaming free - probably outdated or irrelevant now. A content audit allows you to evaluate all of the content you have at your disposal. Here’s why that’s so important. 

Why do I need one?

Let's say you're us - Digital 22.

You conduct an audit and find you’ve got a lot of content for those looking to work with an agency. They're pretty clued up on inbound and know what they want, so flock towards your more decision-based pieces like case studies and pricing guides.

However, you’ve identified you’ve got nothing for the awareness stage. That’s for those individuals just discovering they have a problem which needs fixing. The main thing is, it helps you plug the important gaps in your content and stops you from creating repeat content - leaving you more opportunities to optimise instead.

(This is just an example, of course. We literally have a massive resource dedicated to just that).

Now you know where you need to put your focus in your next campaign. You’re not just writing in the dark for an audience who really doesn’t want you to tell them how great you are… again. 

It’s reported that a whopping 37% of content marketers never conduct a website content audit. That’s pretty scary considering all the benefits you can reap: 

  • Links can break, content can become irrelevant and not everything is evergreen. It happens. However, a content audit can make sure your SEO ego isn’t bruised and gives you an opportunity to amend. 
  • Bring to light gaps in your content that need filling. 
  • Writers change and tones can differ. An audit evaluates the quality of your existing content and ensures consistently strong pieces.
  • Helps you identify content pieces prime for repurposing, adding that extra value for your audience.  
  • Makes elevating your content easier, examining the top-performing pieces for you so you can go in making the necessary changes to maximise conversion rates. 

Our favourite part of conducting a content audit is finding hidden treasure. It might be an outdated blog post that still gets hits month on month or a whitepaper that could shape an entire campaign. 

As a company grows, it's easy to misplace these gems. With a content audit, you'll rediscover them and have the opportunity to repurpose your content - for maximum value with very little effort. 

Where do I start? 

An effective content audit is a time-consuming process. If you’re just getting into inbound marketing, take some time to familiarise yourself with personas and the buyer’s journey first. 

If you’re struggling to understand your visitors’ behaviour on your website or why your current marketing initiatives aren’t working, a content audit is easily one of the best things you can do for your business. 

Step one.

Everybody audits differently but compiling all your content is a good place to start. Go on the prowl for presentations, traverse the deep depths of your Google Drive and leave no content stone unturned. 

Step two. 

Using a spreadsheet or audit template (stay tuned), collate the content you’re auditing. Whether it’s blogs, webinars, website pages and anything in between - here’s what to ask yourself and include.

  • What persona would this appeal to?
  • At what stage in the buyer’s journey would this be useful? 
  • What can I use this content for?
  • Does the piece need optimising? 
  • Is the CTA relevant?
  • How will this piece be distributed and is it optimised for that?

Performing this audit will give you all the information you need to make the best use of your existing content and accelerate you toward the value that an inbound marketing strategy makes possible.

This gives you insight into changes that have the potential to improve your lead generation, sales and marketing. For example, you should have an idea of the topics your audience connects most with and which pieces are due an update. 

Step three.

Now you have a visual representation of all your content, you can identify gaps and highlight what types of content you need to create to fill them. This is where it’s worth getting your team involved, from social to sales, so you can get the best possible understanding of what your persona is looking for. 

To create a successful inbound strategy you have to provide content that’s helpful and relevant to your ideal buyer persona. If you plan on establishing a timeline for this audit, now would be the time to finalise that too. 

Tools of the trade. 

Here are some neat content audit tools you can use to make your content audit process a little bit easier.

  • Screaming Frog: A website crawler that collects URLs and audits them from an SEO perspective for you. Plus, the first 500 links are completely free.
  • SEMrush: By putting in your domain, you can select what parts you'd like to audit from your sitemap. You can use this information when developing strategy and identifying content that performs well.
  • Google Analytics: Okay, so it doesn’t give you all the things you need for a traditional audit but it provides some pretty good info that will help. It lets you know who’s visiting your website, giving you a rundown on their behaviours and patterns too. 

We know another important tool that can’t be understated - the help of an experienced marketing agency. A well-executed content audit can deliver big insights into your marketing strategy, so you can use our templates to get started.

Use our content audit template for insights with ease.

Here’s that template I was talking about. You can use this to collate your current available content, map it to the buyer’s journey and then visualise where the gaps are in your content strategy. Told you it was worth it.

Download it now and don’t hesitate to give us a shout if you need any assistance. 

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