March 1, 2018
As Dale Carnegie famously said in How to Win Friends and Influence People, "it's not about you." The same can be said for content in your digital marketing efforts. If your strategy is too self-serving for a product or brand, your target audience won’t respond well. Similarly, if the message look and feel are outdated, out of touch, or just not relevant to contemporary needs, no one will engage with it. So, whether they know it or not, every brand wants their message to resonate with what their audience is thinking, feeling, and talking about.
Why is conducting a social media content audit so important? Social media is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening now, particularly what your target audience is thinking and what your competitors are saying. If you employ social listening to gauge which topics are relevant and what messages are resonating, you can take those critical learnings back to your content plan and integrate them within your social media profiles via an audit.
A content audit is a key component in content strategy, which is a precursor to content marketing. The goal of a content audit is to help provide an analysis of all of the content on your website and additional properties affiliated with your organization, like microsites and even your social channels.
When you perform a content audit, not only will you look for how well each piece is performing, you’ll also learn to understand whether your content marketing is in alignment with your personas, marketing funnel, and overall business goals. Other objectives should be to take the time to scope out what’s being said by competitors, how they position and frame certain topics, and whether they’re getting more engagement or traffic on their content than yours.
Content audits aren’t just for those moments when you’re bringing on a new content strategist or agency. Even if you’re a well-oiled content marketing machine, it’s worth checking in to see what’s performing well, what content should be optimized, and what’s missing so you can schedule it for production in the coming months, quarter, or year.
As you plan future campaigns, keep in mind your content should also align with your SEO strategy. Use tools, like Google AdWord’s Keyword Planner, to conduct keyword research on each piece of content you plan to release. Discover what consumers are looking for and how often, in their search engines, and base your on-page content on your results.
Before you begin, connect with your team to decide what questions you want answered in this audit. Additionally, vocalize the business goals you hope to achieve with your content moving forward. Understanding your questions and goals before diving into any analysis will help you create an audit template to guide your process.
To conduct a content audit, you need a few key components. First, you’ll need a sitemap so you can understand where all your content lives. Next, you’ll need access to your marketing funnel and persona descriptions so that you can decide whether each piece of content maps to an ideal customer or a particular stage of their customer journey (from awareness to post-sales).
To conduct a social media content audit, you’ll need access to your brand’s social media profiles and the tools used to analyze key metrics. If your brand doesn’t have a third-party posting platform that measures your target metrics, tap into the analytics platforms within each of your social media platforms. Yes, you’ll have to exercise your excel skills to organize your analytics, but this is still an accurate way of measuring results. As you review your social media analytics, be sure to work with your team to identify the metrics that are most important to your team, such as engagement rate or new follower counts. Another important aspect of your social profiles to consider is who is currently connected to your social networks? Do your followers match your buyer personas? Are you working with relevant influencers to reach a greater audience? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you’ll need to shift your strategy to attract relevant followers to your social accounts. But that’s not all – if you’re not currently including social listening in your content audit, then you’re missing out on some key benefits.
Social listening is the process of monitoring conversations on digital spaces to understand and surface what people are saying about brands, products, services, related topics, and industry pain points. If you listen long enough, it can also be used to deliver feedback that could help an organization differentiate from competitors, to improve an image, or to produce content that is timely and topical.
When you leverage a social listening service, you can tap into what both the industry has to say in the social sphere (these are your main competitors) as well as perceived thought leaders and influencers within the space. Understanding what they’re saying, how they’re phrasing it, and to whom they address when they speak will help guide and shape the new content campaigns you craft moving forward, the old content you need to refresh, the way you frame issues and have conversations on social media, and even the headlines and URLs you use moving forward. This is important, since “it’s not about you”.
You should consider using social auditing and monitoring after your content audit is complete as well as to inform the stories you tell on social and in your editorial calendar to stay relevant, topical, fresh, and to insert your perspective into the Share of Voice (SOV) around you.
Lastly, know your audit is never complete. Revisit your content audit template on a quarterly basis to consistently monitor your content performance and, most importantly, your growth. Part of auditing your content includes reviewing your social media strategy. Again, work off your social media audit template to review all of your social profiles as well as your competitors’ social media presence. Be consistent in your audits to ensure your social media efforts have a targeted approach, rather than posting just for the sake of posting.
What happens after you’ve finished auditing your content strategy and social accounts? It’s time to move on to a website content audit. But don’t worry, we’ll cover this topic in a future blog.
Thinking about conducting a content, social media or website audit? Or all of the above? Check out our content marketing services and don’t hesitate to reach out.