In today’s marketing landscape, everyone knows that content is key. Seth Godin famously said that “content marketing is the only marketing left,” and for good reason. We’re bombarded with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of advertisements every day and have done a great job of blocking out the noise. Ad blockers, mobile devices, and short attention spans have made traditional advertising and marketing more difficult, so more companies are turning to quality content.
But what does “quality content” actually look like? How do you know if you’re doing it right? Before building out a content marketing strategy, consider doing a content audit to see where your blog and website stands. These audits compare your content to competitors and help show you where to fill potential gaps. Let’s learn more about the key elements of a content audit.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit is a process of evaluating your current content against your marketing goals, any competitor analyses, and resources. Even if you can produce great content left and right, it’s important to take a step back and examine what content actually works and do more of that. Organized, valuable content will help optimize your website, provide value to your readers, and enhance your site’s user experience.
Ready to get started on your first content audit? Here are the elements to look at:
Audit Your Web Copy and Sales Messaging
There’s no denying that your company’s website is one of the most, if not the most, an important part of your marketing strategy. But even if you hire world-class designers and your site looks as polished as possible, your website content and sales messaging is going to make the difference between a potential customer and a sale.
When doing your content audit, dig deep into each of your core pages and ask yourself:
- Do I Have the Most Important Content Above the Fold? – Just like in traditional journalism, “above the fold” refers to the top part of your website’s home page that people can see without scrolling. This section of your site should have attention-grabbing headlines, compelling imagery, and informative copy. Don’t make your website visitors guess at what you do.
- Are My Core Services/Products Highlighted? – Your potential customers have countless options when choosing who they want to do business with, so make it easy for your brand to stand out by highlighting your core products and services. In today’s digital marketing age, we don’t have time to sift through a website to find what we’re looking for. Successful businesses make their unique value proposition known from the very first click.
- Did I Include Social Proof or Reviews? – One of the most powerful marketing techniques is social proof because it shows potential customers that not only can they trust you, but they can also trust their friends and peers. Reviews, testimonials, and integrations with social media are all ways to add this element to your content marketing. For example, Smile Direct Club, a leader in direct-to-consumer orthodontics, includes a section on their home page that highlights “What People Are Smiling About” that links to Smile Direct Club customers on social media.
In addition to the above considerations of your website copy, you should also make sure you have product or service descriptions where needed, resources for visitors that answer their questions, and compelling copy that drives action.
Audit Your Site Layout and Design
Next up on your content audit is your site layout and design. Your navigation and website layout should be intuitive and give your content a logical place to live. For example, if you want visitors to check out your blog, there should be a “Blog” tab right on the header that they don’t have to search for.
In addition, your navigation should never be too lengthy or complex. We like having the parent navigation, or the main nav at the top, a child navigation below that, and a grandchild navigation as the last option. This tiered structure is easy to follow and visitors know where to go to find what they want. Make sure you have the most important things featured first with clear, concise copy.
Audit Your Blog
Blogging is one of those marketing tactics that you might know is important, but you’re not sure how to approach it successfully. Not only does blogging help build your brand credibility and set you up as a thought leader in your space, but it can also help boost your website’s SEO because Google rewards valuable, well-written content.
When looking at your blog during your content audit, examine three things: your blog strategy, layout, and calls to action.
The most successful content marketing marries both SEO and content. Rather than just randomly assigning blog topics, do some research to see what people are searching for and how you can capitalize on that search volume.
For example, let’s pretend you own a cat food company. “Cat food” has about 74,000 Google searches a month. While you likely won’t rank for such a high volume search term, you can start to narrow it down and find the sweet spot of searches. “Organic cat food” has about 1,600 searches a month, “best organic dry cat food” has 90 searches a month, and “best food for your cat” has about 70 searches a month. That means that 70 people are typing in this long-tail keyword and with some quality blog content, you can rank in the top of the results and direct people to your cat food site.
Narrowing down these keywords is also one way to create a content cluster. Content clusters are a great way to organize your content and internally link to other pages, a valuable SEO tactic (read more about content clusters here).
Just like the rest of your website, your blog should be aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, and on-brand with the rest of your marketing materials. Because content marketing is a top of the funnel tactic, your blog is a big entry point and may be the first interaction someone new has with your brand.
Here at Power Digital, we’ve organized our blog into categories, including Content Marketing, PPC, SEO, and Social Media. This is just one way to organize your blog layout and depending on your industry, different structures might make sense. Either way, make it easy for visitors to find the content they’re looking for.
Calls to Action
Believe it or not, powerful content can actually convert, as long as you give it the chance. According to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads per dollar spent. But this is only possible when you have a clear call to action, or CTA, on your content pieces. This could be a “contact us” CTA or a form fill that captures email addresses within the blog to add to your newsletter.
Reporting on content marketing has always been the million-dollar question for marketers because content isn’t as black and white as paid campaigns. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the time. It just means that you and your marketing team should develop a series of metrics to test against to see if your content has been successful. You can find a lot of useful data, such as site traffic and assisted conversions, in Google Analytics. But, it all starts with a strong CTA.
Audit Your Competitors
The last element of a content audit is a competitor analysis. These analyses help you see what works, what others are doing, and some quick wins for your own company. Poke around some of your direct competitors’ blogs and see what they’re writing about, how their website looks, and what gaps there are to fill. Then, take that information back to your own content and do it better. This could mean writing a more in-depth blog post on a similar topic in the hopes of out-ranking them or covering a topic that you haven’t see covered by your competitors and doing it first. Learn from others to make your content even stronger.
When done successfully, content marketing can be extremely effective. To get started on your content marketing strategy (or give your existing strategy a revamp), perform a content audit to see what you’re doing well and where you can grow. Content audits include looking at your website copy and design, blog strategy, CTAs, and layout, and providing a benchmark against your competitors. All of this, combined with a powerful SEO-driven content strategy, will have your content performing now and in the future.