If your role relies heavily on constantly creating content, it can be hard to step back and take a look at the bigger picture to see what’s working and what isn’t.
As we enter a brand new year, the winter months are the ideal time to perform a content audit for your brand as you will be able to assess which content has been most successful through the year and identify any patterns.
As marketers, we have to be able to know what to prioritise in order to make the best use of our time.
According to the 2016 Content Marketing Institute industry study, the most effective B2B marketers are more challenged by measuring content effectiveness (53%) than they are by producing engaging content (49%), making it more important than ever to produce content that is as relevant as possible for readers!
So we have the reasons why a health check may be the way forward for your business, but what exactly does it entail?
What Is a Content Audit?
Ignore all the unpleasant thoughts that the word ‘audit’ stirs for just a moment. A content audit is the process of taking all data produced from the content you have created, analysing it and looking for opportunities to improve on what is working and identify places where it isn’t.
The Goal of a Content Audit
A content audit serves many purposes; for example, it could become the foundation of your next content strategy. A content audit picks your content apart to determine trends through reader behaviour, in order to uncover which types of content are gaining the most traction, and which types are holding you back.
A content audit can also help marketers to better understand their readers and their preferences. Armed with this valuable data, content marketers can then begin to build a strategy that is more relevant to their readers, and increase the ROI from it.
The idea of a content health check may seem like a strenuous task to begin with, but asking yourself the below questions will help to define a vision for your audit, to determine whether or not your business is in desperate need of one.
How does my content shape up against my competitors’?
What do you do when your competitors are light years ahead in terms of content creation and engagement?
According to an industry survey conducted by Act-On, the #1 most challenging obstacle to data-driven marketing success is a lack of data quality and completeness. Time for some Competitive Intelligence.
Competitive Intelligence (CI) by definition, is the process of gathering actionable information on your business's competitive environment.
So how often are your competitors posting blog content? Which days provide them with the most engagement? Which social media platforms are working for them? And what can you learn from this valuable data? There are many tools available on the web to help gather this information and provide you with a snapshot of where you sit within the leader board.
BuzzSumo allows users to take a peek at their competitors’ most successful content, as well as content that is driving the most engagement within your industry. This kind of information can be invaluable when creating content calendars for the months ahead.
Below is an example of the kind of information that BuzzSumo can gather on successful content within the industry.
What’s more, looking at when your own content is at its most successful can help to shape content scheduling that drives the most traction.
Is my content providing real value to the reader?
Remember reading something online and thinking, “Wow, that’s a game changer”? Remember going on to immediately share it with your own audience? Ask yourself whether your content is generating that kind of urgency with your readers.
52% of marketers see content personalisation as critical to their digital strategies. However, when asked, the biggest challenges with personalisation are gaining insight quickly enough (40%), having enough data (39%) and inaccurate data (38%), which takes us back to point one!
In the long term, you can make it easy for readers to engage with your content with a few handy tools like ‘Click to Tweet’ on important statistics and ‘Pin it’ buttons on all images on any web page which can be added to your browser bar to send images direct to your Pinterest boards in a single click, as well as the usual sharing buttons at the top of your blog post (that’s right, the TOP of your blog post!).
Are readers staying until the very end (and looking for more)?
Bounce rate is an important metric to analyse in order to determine whether or not your content is providing enough interest for visitors to read right until the very last sentence.
According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, our average attention span is now eight seconds, which doesn’t leave us content marketers with much time to transfix readers with our copy! If that wasn’t enough, only 62% of people who click into an article end up reading past the headline – eek!
In order to find out what content is working for your business, you need to determine which amount of time spent reading your blog post shows effectiveness. A cool tip we read recently was from Outbrain, who advised that by adding one simple line of code to your Google Analytics script, you can trigger a notification in Google Analytics whenever a reader has spent over a certain amount of time reading a web page.
This can be an exceptional indicator of which content is working, and which isn’t.
In terms of formatting, try using Headline Analyser, a fantastic tool which conducts analyses on the length, word balance and sentiment of your headlines. Here’s how we eventually got to the headline you see at the top of this post:
Is my content generating leads?
Now there’s a question! If your content isn’t producing leads, then you need to delve into your analytics to determine why. 68% of marketing professionals today state feeling increasing pressure to show a return on their investment in marketing spend, making it even more important to see what’s working for your business.
Part of creating content that generates leads is producing content that answers questions, and giving the reader just enough information to make them want more. This can be anything from a piece that publicises a webinar, talks about your newsletters or even compels them to get in touch with you.
If your content is not converting, another thing to consider is whether or not your landing page call to actions are prominent enough. Font colour, button size, copy, design and placement can all impact the effectiveness of the desired response to your content. Why not try some tests to determine which are most successful with your audience?
Even if your content is performing how you would like it to, there is always room for improvement. By having a thorough understanding of how your content compares to your competitors’, and how your brand is perceived by online audiences, you can go on to create content that makes a real difference to your readers and, ultimately, your bottom line.
Want more inforamtion on how to future-proof your content marketing strategy for better lead generation? Get in touch.