An effective content audit will accelerate your inbound marketing results by identifying existing content gems and aligning them to both personas and buying stages.
An inbound content audit differs from a website content audit in that its aim is to identify existing pieces of content that can occupy positions in the inbound lead generation methodology. You are looking for resources that can be used to help attract, convert, close and delight prospects, ideally in their current form or with minimal effort.
The objective therefore of your content audit is to, once content has been compiled, identify how each piece fits within your inbound strategy, i.e: which persona will it appeal to and at what buying stage? What form should the content take and what will it link to, both up and down the funnel?
Here's how to go about it:
Start by compiling your content
Although various methods for performing content audits may differ dramatically, on this point all agree - compile your content before you try to audit it. How do you compile content? Go hunting. Where potentially valuable content is to be found and what form it takes will differ for every organisation.
Have an open mind and look in every corner of your organisation for articles, press releases, whitepapers, presentations, templates and tools that might be adapted to the inbound cause. Look on shared servers, in shared storage (like Dropbox and Google drive), and in knowledge management tools if you have them. Email sales people and get them to send you presentations they have developed and given at customer meetings. Review your website for content that could be used more effectively.
Then audit it
Using a spreadsheet, or our simple B2B content audit template, note down the current name of each piece of content you are auditing. Then, for each, decide the following and note down the results:
Persona - Ask yourself which persona this content would appeal to. Be honest. Don’t crowbar it into an attractive persona, just put down the right one. You can create new personas on the fly if required
Buying stage - At which stage of the buying process will this content appeal to the persona you identify previously? Again, be honest, no point lying to yourself about this. You can use any model of the buying process you like - we keep it simple using: awareness, consideration and decision
Use - Will you use this content? If the persona isn't an attractive one or the content is just plain rubbish, don't feel forced to use it. It makes sense to record content that you will not use for later, or for others who may pick up where you leave off
Refresh - Can this content be used in its current form or do you need to schedule time and resources to update it?
Distribution - How and where will this content be distributed? For example will this content form a blog post, a download on a landing page, a Slideshare or something else? You can enter working titles here if you wish and feel free to enter more than one distribution method - although if you do, you'll almost certainly need to answer 'yes' in the Refresh column in order to adapt the content to different channels.
Links to - What other content does this content, when distributed, link to - both up and down the funnel. i.e. what will drive traffic to this content (social, search, blogs?) and where will it, hopefully drive traffic too (web page, content offer, online tool?). Many of these may be new resources that you need to plan to create, but they could also be other existing assets identified by the audit too.
Performing this audit will give you all the information you need to make best use of your existing content and fast track your way toward the compounding returns that an inbound marketing strategy makes possible.