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Your Content Has an Expiration Date: Why You Need an Audit

Your Content Has an Expiration Date: Why You Need an Audit

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We perform inventories and audits every day, whether we realize it or not. They’re critical to our daily lives because it’s impossible to know what you need if you don’t know what you already have.

You probably open your fridge before going to the grocery store — you’d end up with a lot of spoiled milk otherwise.

Inventories and audits are just as important for your content. They allow you to decrease duplicate content and efforts — content marketing’s equivalent of spoiled milk.

An inventory of your content helps you understand what you have, what you need, which goals you hope to accomplish, and how you’re going to reach those goals.

A content audit allows you to stop creating or promoting low-quality or low-interest content, spend more time on content that provides value, and fill in any gaps your inventory lacks.

Although a content audit can seem tedious, it’s one of the most valuable things you can do.

Your content marketing audit should answer these questions:

  • What awesome content currently exists?
  • What content is outdated and requires a follow-up piece or revision?
  • What common questions do our clients ask us? Is there anything that isn’t covered by existing content?
  • What content has the best engagement or traffic? Can we replicate this?
  • Can we use our existing content with any other marketing strategies?
  • Is the content consistent? Does it accomplish a specific goal?
  • Do we have a content marketing mission statement?
  • Who is currently creating our content, and who should be creating our content?
  • Where are we publishing our content, and who’s reading it?

Managing Content: It’s as Easy as Planning Your Household Menu

No one is intimidated by figuring out what’s for dinner on Thursday night — unless Thursday is Thanksgiving, and your in-laws are coming. The point is that content inventories and audits aren’t as natural as planning dinner, but the steps are basically the same:

  1. Open the fridge. Look at all your content. When you perform an inventory, don’t just look at what was published on your blog. Look for any content you’ve produced over the past year or two, including your newsletter, copy on your website, interviews, and videos. Include anything you’ve put out there for the world to see.

  2. Plan your menu. Creating an inventory of your content — much like measuring page traffic — is worthless if you don’t draw meaningful conclusions. Before you begin your audit, you should reevaluate old goals to ensure they’re consistent with your current business needs. If you don’t have any goals for your content, make them now.

  3. Create your shopping list. Identify trends in relevance, quality, and effectiveness. Ask yourself which items received the most traffic, which articles generated the most conversation, and which YouTube videos garnered the most views. Use this information to figure out what you’ve produced in the past that has contributed to (or failed to contribute to) accomplishing your goals and why.

  4. Get cooking. Once you’ve identified trends in your content and answered the questions above, the real fun begins in identifying the next steps. Find the holes in existing content, identify new purposes for old content, and develop a direction for new content. Then, decide how you will distribute both old and new content. 

Finally, don’t be discouraged if you discover you need to make a drastic change in your content strategy. You can always start with a clean slate by creating new content goals and a mission statement. It feels great to fill up a clean, empty fridge, right?

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About Kelsey Raymond

Kelsey is the CEO and co-founder of Influence & Co.

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