The term “content audit” calls to mind having your website design analyzed and the content evaluated as to relevance, structure, SEO effectiveness, etc.

While this is a valuable activity, an organization-wide content audit can accomplish two important functions. One, this type of content audit could unearth mountains of content “gold” to continually fuel your website and content marketing plan.

And two, this content audit includes the tactical considerations of managing a content marketing strategy. Are the internal structures in place to support a successful initiative? Capacity issues such as time, budget, resources, distribution and measurement protocols need to be evaluated.

Before starting a content marketing initiative, you have to figure out what you already have and then determine what else you’ll need.

You Need Content

It’s a well-known fact that one of the biggest challenges for any content marketing effort is being able to provide enough high quality, fresh content. Even if you outsource the creation of some or all of your content, you still need to provide ideas and information from which the content assets will be created.

Mark Smiciklas of Intersection Consulting always includes an organization-wide content audit as part of designing a content marketing strategy with a client. He believes most companies have more than enough resources for content if they just knew where to look. Per Mark, “It’s looking inward first to see what’s available and getting creative that way. They might already be doing some of the things that are a key part of content marketing and just don’t realize it.”

The content audit involves scouring the organization for anything and everything that can be pulled into the content creation realm. For example:

  • Email communications can be harvested for content
  • Customer’s online questions provide subjects for blogs
  • Kind words or kudos can be turned into testimonials
  • Praise for the sales force or customer service is user generated content (UGC) 
  • Retired product/sales brochures contain a wealth of information
  • Annual Reports can provide company history and leadership bios
  • In-house training or product videos can be repackaged
  • Talk about the core strengths of your organization
  • Explain what sets your company apart from others in your industry
  • Interview employees / make your company more transparent
  • On-the-ground distribution people will have customer input and stories
  • Find people already blogging and turn them into “content ambassadors”
  • Corporate activities such as trade shows, awards dinners, and donation programs are tailor-made for image and video content

The bottom line: everything about your company can be turned into content.

You Need Infrastructure

The second part of the content audit is determining where the organization is positioned to be ready to launch a content marketing strategy. Mark warns: “A lot of organizations go straight to implementation, but it’s difficult to have a really effective tactical plan if you don’t know why you’re doing all those things in the first place.”

  • Are goals and measurement protocols in place so progress can be evaluated? 
  • Do you have the internal structure to actually create content? 
  • Do you have the bodies to fulfill production and execution demands? 
  • Do you have the budget to spend on a content marketing initiative? 

Looking at each of these areas, in depth, will reveal strengths and weaknesses so that strategy planning can take place for the necessary decisions to be made. Having the right person/persons with sufficient knowledge and sophistication to fulfill all levels of responsibilities is crucial. This could mean an in-house team, an outside consultant, or a combination of both, and your organization-wide content audit will help quantify exactly what is needed.

You Need Commitment

Commitment is definitely the biggest success factor. Content marketing is not a sprint; it’s not an exercise for a few weeks or months. It’s for the long haul, and everyone within the organization needs to realize that the content marketing initiative is an endeavor that needs to continue, even if results are not seen immediately.

Like many initiatives, it’s difficult to manage from the middle, so there needs to be a high level of commitment from the top down to implement a successful content marketing strategy. One of the best ways to get commitment for a content marketing strategy is to educate the C-suite leadership (CEO, CFO, CMO and CIO) to appreciate the value of an orchestrated content marketing strategy.

Critical areas of commitment include:

  • Learning about your target audiences/buyer personas
  • Understanding their information needs
  • Building production and management teams
  • Funding/budget
  • Measuring and evaluating the data for optimization

An organization-wide content audit will provide the basis for formulating a truly effective content marketing strategy. By identifying all your available resources and aligning those with needs, you can then determine what additional assets are required to fully manage your content marketing efforts.

Join the Conversation:

  • What areas in your content marketing strategy need “shoring up” to be more effective? 
  • How have you met the demands of needing continual content creation? 
  • What other factors could be included in an organization-wide content audit to benefit your content marketing efforts? 

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