Have you ever wondered, has all this time we’ve spent blogging, writing white papers and creating videos and infographics paid off?

If you can’t answer that question, you’re not alone.

Content Marketing has quickly gained popularity in recent years, as more organizations are starting to see its value. From day-to-day social media content to more complex evergreen content, marketers are using content to build brand awareness, engage their target audiences and nurture relationships.

But the problem with content marketing is that many organizations are still not sure if they’re doing it right. In fact, only 30% of B2B marketers feel their organizations are effective at content marketing.*

So, what’s the best way to assess if your content marketing is working and discover new ways to improve? The answer is simple: Start with the cornerstone of any successful content strategy – a Content Audit.

Here’s how to get started:

Before you set forth on your journey, make sure you understand your content marketing purpose and key KPIs. Who is the audience you are trying to reach? What is your desired outcome? Remember that you may have multiple audiences and objectives may vary by audience.

Next, create a content inventory. Record all your content in a spreadsheet or document by page title or URL. Include details such as content type and who’s responsible for creating, approving and publishing each piece.

Once you’ve created an inventory, it’s time to start the Content Audit. The goal is to assess each piece of content in terms of quality, customer experience, performance, and how well it aligns with your objectives. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What subjects and topics does the content address?
    Your content should help establish you as an expert on an underserved topic. If your subject matter is too broad, try to find a new angle that hasn’t been done before.
  2. Who is the audience I’m trying to reach?
    Make sure you segment and truly understand your target audience’s wants and needs. To be truly relevant, you need to focus on a very specific reader.
  3. Why should my audience care?
    No matter how much content you create, it won’t matter unless it compels your audience to act. Your content must be relevant, compelling and different.
  4. Is my content different from my competition?
    Spend some time on competitor sites to understand what’s already out there. Then think about how your brand’s unique vision can provide a perspective that your readers can’t get anywhere else.
  5. Does it support both user and business goals?
    In other words, is there a good balance of self-serving (“all about us”) content and relevant, value-add content that my audiences will find useful?
  6. Does the content have a consistent voice? Is the proper tone used for each of my audiences?
    As a brand, your voice should be consistent from piece to piece. And while your tone may vary slightly depending on who you’re talking to, it should still sound like your brand.
  7. Are my audiences finding and using the content? Does the content assist in the conversion of leads and sales opportunities?
    Consider metrics such as page visits, bounce rate, average time on page, number of social shares and conversion data to evaluate content performance.
  8. Are basic SEO elements in place?
    Review the page’s title, keywords, metadata, headings and image tags. Are you using target keywords and optimizing your headlines?

As you’re assessing your content based on the above questions, you’ll start to uncover gaps and trends that will help you augment your content strategy going forward.

You’ll find that some insights will be easy, “no-brainer” fixes. For example, you might see that engagement is higher when you use video in your social posts, and decide to focus more of your future content efforts on video production.

Other times, you’ll have to dig deeper to determine how to change your approach going forward. For example, you may uncover that your latest white paper isn’t generating any clicks from your emails or landing pages. It could be that your call to action is weak. Or perhaps you’re reaching the wrong people, and/or focusing on a topic that isn’t unique or different from your competitors.

The Content Audit process may seem overwhelming at first. But if you’re tracking your metrics and asking yourself the right questions, you’re already on the right track to a smarter, more measurable content marketing strategy.  And if you find you need some expert help, contact Responsory. We’ve helped dozens of organizations make informed marketing decisions, grow their brand and improve their ROI.

*Content Marketing Institute, 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America