As the world enters the third year of pandemic-influenced life, many organizations may have noticed significant changes in their customers’ preferences and behavior — indicating that it’s time to run a content audit.
After a few years of shopping online, engaging with more short-form video content, and fretting over everything from the economy to the social issues their favorite brands support, companies should expect the 2022 consumer to shop very differently from the 2019 or even 2020 consumer. According to Forrester’s 2022 Predictions, high consumer expectations for digital experiences in the wake of COVID-19 is one of the most critical business trends to watch this year.
This means that content and marketing strategies developed a few years ago may not be relevant to today’s consumer and should be re-evaluated to ensure the company is connecting with its customers in a meaningful and measurable way.
What is a content audit?
A content audit is a process of methodically taking inventory of all your digital content, analyzing data about features and engagement, and assessing the data to identify a go-forward approach to improve your organization’s content strategy.
While content audits are typically conducted to evaluate website content exclusively, companies will benefit from taking an omni-channel approach to ensure there is consistency across all phases of the customer journey.
Why do content audits matter?
Conducting a content audit will help marketers understand the breadth of a company’s owned content, where it appears, and how it performs. Organizations can use this information to close gaps to create more relevant and high-quality end-to-end customer experiences.
There are two kinds of content gaps. The first and most fundamental kind is a misalignment between the content, customer personas and the customer journey. This type of gap occurs when a company either does not have well-defined personas or hasn’t updated its audience research. We often see this in website content where a brand is attempting to appeal to two or more personas on a single page. For example, a consumer visits a hospital’s website to decide whether to make an appointment but is discouraged by content that’s overly clinical and appeals more to health care professionals. If your organization lacks well-defined personas and customer journeys, consider running persona research and customer journey workshops in tandem with the content audit to create a North Star for developing customer experience strategies.
The second kind of content gap is due to disparities in messaging and tone across channels. This problem often arises when omni-channel teams work in silos — perhaps with separate teams creating content for email, web and social media — and when a company fails to socialize a centralized customer experience vision cross-functionally throughout the organization.
Gaps in a company’s content strategy indicate inefficiencies in the overall customer experience. These inefficiencies often translate to issues with organic search visibility, engagement rates, conversion, low Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and customer loyalty. Running a content audit will help companies address these inefficiencies head on and ensure they’re doing everything they can to maximize customer lifetime value.
Kicking off tour content audit
The first phase in a content audit is to identify your goal for conducting an audit in the first place. Consider what pain points you’re hoping to address with this assessment. Is it SEO performance, redundancy, relevance to your core customer personas or something else? Defining a goal for the content audit will help you establish parameters for the content you’re inventorying and the KPIs you use to measure success.
Once you’ve identified your content audit goal, you’ll need to decide what kind of content to inventory, such as blog posts, product description, or loyalty messaging, and which channels to audit.
The last step before executing the audit is to create a list of the content variables you want to capture in the inventory. For example, a marketer looking to improve SEO performance may want to collect data like headline, content description, meta data, word count and keyword ranking. When you’re ready to perform the inventory, consider whether it makes sense to use a web scraping tool or if your site is small enough to justify a manual approach.
Translating content audit findings into actionable strategies
The second phase of the content audit is analyzing the data to assess how well the content supports your company’s goals and intended messaging. The objective is to socialize the content audit findings cross-functionally to gain alignment across the organization and improve consistency along all phases of the customer journey. Use data storytelling to bring your discoveries to life, share actionable insights and earn stakeholder buy-in on a go-forward approach.
Ideally, auditing content is a closed loop process. This means that a company should be continuously monitoring its content, customer feedback and content performance to optimize the customer experience. This approach helps organizations stay nimble, relevant and outpace the competition with better, more relevant marketing. Ultimately, treating content audits as a closed loop process will minimize the creation of new gaps. It will also continuously elevate the customer journey as customer behavior and preferences evolve.
Allison Roy is currently the Digital Marketing Manager of Content Strategy at Capgemini Americas. She leads a team of consultants who specialize in customer experience, storytelling, and omni-channel marketing strategies. She has over 10 years’ experience helping clients execute digital transformations, grow brand awareness, and drive new customer acquisition growth.