A Content Audit Template For All Digital Marketing Communications and Why You Should Use It.

If you search “content audit” most of the blog posts, articles, and templates, you find focus on auditing a website. This is valuable but in creating a broader digital marketing strategy a content audit of all digital marketing communications is necessary.

Rob Stokes in eMarketing defines a content audit as “an audit of all the existing content supplied by the brand.” This includes types of content on the website but also content created for and distributed through other digital marketing channels.

Why perform a content audit?

A content audit enables you to access each piece or type of content against the strategy of the brand, its target audience’s needs, and the fit with the channel. Website content audits focus on capturing every page. In this broader content audit you want an overview of the main types and channels of content looking for gaps in strategy.

Before performing a content audit, I recommend you first complete a customer journey map. Your digital marketing communications audit will be much more useful if you first understand your target audience’s digital buyer’s journey. I have written a separate post on how to map a buyer’s journey including a Customer Journey Map Template.

Why understand the buyer’s journey?

A customer journey map helps you understand how a prospective customer goes from awareness of a need to purchase your product or service. The path to purchase includes many pieces and types of communication and digital channels that influence decisions to proceed toward your product, service, organization, or toward a competitor or alternative.

People look for different content in each stage of a buyer’s journey. It begins with awareness and consideration and then purchase. The journey continues after purchase with loyalty and advocacy. Having a solid understanding of your target audience with a buyer persona can better prepare you to create a buyer journey map. I recommend Xtensio’s User Persona Template.

How to perform a content audit.

Search and discover what type of content your brand or your client’s brand currently has and what digital channels are used to distribute it. With an understanding of the customer’s path to purchase and/or target audiences’ path to use you can compare what you found in searching for brand content.

Examples of content to include in a content audit:
Websites Social media sites Ratings/reviews
Website pages Email newsletter Games
Articles Tools/Calculators Corp./employee blog
Podcasts Mobile apps Celebrity/influencer
Short/Long video Reports/guides Behind the scenes
Live video Case studies Q&A/FAQ
Demonstrations Testimonials Promotions

Organize with a content audit template.

Using the template below create a table or spreadsheet and list the channel, any significant content on the website and other channels like specific social media sites. Next, describe the content and content type. The categories of entertain, inspire, educate, and convince come from Dave Chaffey’s Content Marketing Matrix. Then indicate which stage that content may be viewed, listened to, or read during the buyer’s journey. Remember that one piece of content could be accessed in multiple stages.

(Click on image to download a PDF template)

Make content recommendations.

In the last two columns determine fit and make recommendations. Does the content fit the brand positioning and message? Does it fit what the audience is looking for? Does the type of content fit the platform? Determine if there are gaps in what the customer is looking for in each buyer’s journey stage and channel and what the brand is creating. There may be a mismatch in message or a missing channel in owned and paid media.

The goal of the content audit isn’t to detail every page and post. It serves a broader strategic purpose. The goal is to highlight existing content types and channels to evaluate appropriateness in supporting a current or new strategic direction and discover gaps in what is sought and what is provided. Then you can determine what content is on strategy, what needs to change, what needs to be removed, and what needs to be added to meet strategic objectives.

If you’re looking to focus on social media only, I have also created a focused audit process for this Social Media Audit Template.

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