Producing content is easy. Producing good content is harder and maintaining that high standard is difficult over a long period of time.

According to IDG only 31% of technology marketers say their content approach is very or extremely successful. Does that mean 69% of marketers believe their content is only moderately successful, or worse, not successful?

Arguably, achieving success with content marketing is looking more difficult than ever. Most B2B markets have been flooded with content over the past decade, making it harder to stand out.

Add to this that buying teams and journeys are more complex and have grown in size, attention spans are dropping and production expectations are higher and it may seem as if you have a mountain to climb to achieve your KPIs. 

Yet there is an abundance of marketing technologies and automation to make life easier, offering personalised content at scale, reduced production times and more detailed insights into your target audience and their content preferences. 

So, taking this all into consideration, how do you make sure new content is up to standard? And, how do you evaluate the value of old content that may or may not still be relevant?  

It all starts with a content audit. 

(Search Engine Journal, 2018)

Why should you audit your content?

The goal of an audit is to take a step back and ensure that your content is aligned to both your marketing goals and your customer/business needs.

An effective audit will assess the coverage and quality of your current and historical content assets.

(Note: When we discuss content, we’re referring mainly to assets: documents, blogs, social feeds, videos, podcasts, infographics, webinars, brochures, technical manuals, games, app, etc. rather than the copy on your website - although an audit can apply to both.)

Essentially, the overall objective of an audit is to understand and analyse your existing content, how you can re-purpose it to align with your new strategy and what gaps need filling.

Audit Insight from the Gurus.

What to consider when starting a content audit.

- Look at ideas, not just assets. Auditing existing content isn’t just about finding what’s reusable. It will unearth past ideas, focus, frequency, quality and inconsistencies.

- Have your organisation and goals changed? If they haven’t then you can do a lot with what you already have. If it has shifted focus, then so should your content.

- Look beyond traditional content. You may well think content means formats such as articles, blog posts, white papers, infographics, videos and e-books – and it does. Yet does whatever you want to produce fit the needs of your audience? 

We have to recognise that behaviour of people that make up B2B buying teams is evolving and different types of content is being consumed in this buying journey. For example, 70% of B2B buyers are now watching video along their buying journey.

- Consider other collateral. Have you got presentations from events? Brochures, how-to guides around products or internal documents? Just because the way we consume content is evolving doesn't mean we need to leave behind collateral that is relevant and useful forgotten in a lonely corner of your internal server.

Is an audit right for you?

Our friends at Collective Content recently advised us that every brand should audit content and do so on a regular basis – ideally once a year. The reason is simple: your historical content holds tremendous value and is probably contributing as much or even more towards lead generation than your new content.

That’s what content marketing specialists HubSpot found in 2015 when they reviewed and analysed their content. They found that 92% of leads and 76% of traffic came from assets more than 30 days old.

An audit may initially seem daunting, but agencies and content specialists can make the job easier. We believe there is huge value in taking a step back and assessing the content that’s already available to you before you start producing another ten whitepapers. After all, you wouldn’t do the weekly shop without first checking the fridge…