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. If it’s too self-serving for a product or brand, people don’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 Similarly, if the message look and feel are outdated, out of touch, or just not relevant to contemporary needs, no one will engage with it.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 and product company wants their message to resonate with what people are thinking, feeling, and talking about.
Social media is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening now, particularly what your potential customers are 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 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 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.
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). But that’s not all – if you’re not also 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 you make 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 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.
Thinking about conducting a content audit? Reach out to LEWIS for support.