You wouldn’t run out and buy tons of new furniture without first reviewing what pieces you already own, right? Yet many companies follow that exact same route when it comes to adding new content to their sites. They fail to take stock of what they already have, missing the vital step of a content audit.
Content will always be the driving force of your website, as visitors are always looking for information that solves their problems and meets their needs. Whether it’s switching software providers, buying a new home or finding senior care, visitors are searching for content that is relevant, compelling and easy to find. A content audit focused on these five categories can help ensure your content meets all the above criteria.
Choosing an accurate name for your content may seem painfully simple¸ but it’s definitely worth mentioning due to its extreme importance. Names mean things, and the more obviously you can point that out, the better off you’ll be with search engines and visitors alike. Now’s not the time to be obtuse or overly clever, but simple and straight to the point.
Whether you’re naming a Best Practice Guide, Template or Quiz, make sure the name reflects what visitors will find. Accurate naming of content also makes it much easier to accurately classify it.
A solid content marketing plan, and alluring website, typically features a variety of different content types. Reviewing what types you already have can help you assess where your site may be lacking. Common content types include e-books, whitepapers, infographics, webinars and demos.
- E-books: Longer and more in-depth than a blog, but shorter than a whitepaper, e-books generally feature 6 to 12 pages of text and images using a conversational tone geared toward the B2C market.
- Whitepapers: With a formal tone and text-heavy, data-oriented content, whitepapers usually contain 20 to 30 pages of deep knowledge geared toward the B2B market.
- Infographic: Great for statistics, timelines and other content that can be expressed with images, infographics are typically visually oriented and highly shareable.
- Webinars: These online seminars provide a live or almost-live experience of listening to the expertise or input from the featured speakers or hosts.
- Demos: With the option of being live or recorded, demos offer a demonstration of the product while showcasing its features and benefits.
Buyer Persona/Lifecycle Targeted
Having a variety of content types is good, especially if you’re in tune with your different types of buyer personas who may be interested in those various content types. Mapping out your buyer personas allow you to cater to each type of customers.
Your overall aim is to speak to each persona’s pain points and challenges as they make their way through the buyer’s journey. To most effectively achieve this, you first have to understand who these buyers are and what their journey looks like.
Personas need to provide a rundown on your ideal buyers, with information that includes:
- Demographic and background information, such as their job, family life, household income, company size, industry and overall budget
- Behavioral information, such as challenges, pain points, role in purchasing, issues that weigh heavily on their mind, and the type of content they typically consume
A 20-something with a limited budget is going to be far less interested in reading a whitepaper about your clothing line, although that whitepaper may appeal to the fashion buyer at a major department store.
Truly understanding your buyer personas can provide insights to your sales department, as well. Sales representatives can more accurately assess each lead to ensure it’s an ideal fit with one of your personas. Not all leads are worth pursuing, and those that don’t mesh with your personas may be far less inclined to buy.
Understanding the buying cycle can add another layer of accuracy when it comes to targeting each stage with specific content. The typical customer buying cycle consists of five stages:
- Awareness: Consumers identify their needs, realizing your offerings can potentially meet those needs
- Consideration: Consumers evaluate how your offerings meet their needs, particularly when compared to other companies
- Preference/Intent: Consumers’ emotional and logical sway toward one of the solutions, ultimately resulting in a purchasing decision
- Purchase: Action of buying from you
- Repurchase: Logical and emotional process that can result in repeat business
Different content types align with each stage of the buying cycle:
- Awareness: Being found by search engines is key for the awareness stage, with a focus on search engine marketing that can include SEO and PPC
- Consideration: Keyword-tailored landing pages are vital here, as are comparison charts and other infographics that showcase how you stand out from your competition
- Preference/Intent: Product descriptions, branding and other website content help influence consumer decisions at this point
- Purchase: Perfect time for discounts and coupon offers, with pre-sales emails, social media or PPC ad text
- Repurchase: Social media, emails and personal outreach help you remain in contact with customers so they’re inclined to come back for more
Reviewing your content with keywords in mind is another helpful strategy. You want to determine if your content is focused on any particular keywords, or if you overall keyword strategy is being effectively implemented across the board.
While keywords should not be the sole driver of your content, you definitely want to be mindful of your keyword strategy when updating existing or developing new content.
Checking in on the status and location of your content can help you verify it’s easy to find, properly categorized and still relevant to your visitors. Is the content currently live? When was it last updated? What’s the physical location of the file?
Including these five categories in your next content audit not only ensures your audit will be thorough, but it will also be extremely enlightening. You’ll have a solid idea of your content’s strengths, weaknesses and where it can be fortified to bring even more customers your way.