The Content Audit:

Your Secret Weapon for Increasing Content ROI

Buyers have an insatiable appetite for thought leadership and educational assets that can help them make more efficient buying decisions. Yet most organizations don’t have the staff, budget or library of content required to meet these demands.

of B2B organizations have done a thorough content audit and identified gaps.

Enter the content audit.

Content audits are extensive; they require a lot of time, attention and effort. But the reality is, content audits are extremely valuable. They can provide you with a comprehensive view of your content marketing arsenal, as well as the topics/solutions you address, the buyer personas you speak to and the buyer’s journey phases they align with.

Few organizations are truly harnessing the power of content audits. Only 48% of B2B organizations have done a thorough content audit and identified gaps, and a mere 19% say conducting content audits was a priority for next year.

Audits take time, but they provide a lot of insights to help you get the most value out of your content marketing investments. And if you make auditing an integral part of your job as a marketer, you’ll save more time and manpower in the long run.

This checklist will serve as your step-by-step guide for streamlining the auditing process, and empower you to uncover valuable insights and maximize content ROI.

Update and Categorize Your Asset Inventory

To get the most value out of your content audit, you need to make sure all of your assets are listed, and easy to find and filter. This is an asset inventory, and it is foundational to a successful audit.

The breadth and depth of your inventory will vary depending on the size of your company. For instance, if you’re part of a start-up, you can probably list all of your content assets relatively easily. If you’re part of a Fortune 50 enterprise, however, we recommend conducting individual audits for different divisions, solution areas or geographies. The process will also be less daunting if you split the process up over time. Reviewing 10 to 20 assets a week, for example, is not as challenging (or mind-numbing) as trying to go through hundreds of assets in one shot.

The DIY trend is sweeping the content marketing world! Learn how to go through the auditing process and find the right content to repurpose by watching our on-demand webinar.

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After you build your final asset list (or you may call it an inventory or library), the fun can begin. Label your assets to ensure you and your marketing peers can easily navigate through the final list. To conduct a standard DIY content audit, use the following criteria:

  • Persona alignment
  • Buyer’s journey alignment
  • Content format
  • Date created
  • URL
  • Repurposing potential
  • Age & vulnerability to aging
  • Product/solution mentions
  • “Problem” assets (we’ll dive deeper into this later)

With this process, you can get a more granular view of your content library and what you have in stock.

Look for Red Flags

During the auditing process, you will discover resources that have major issues. Flag content in your audit if it falls into one or more of these buckets:

The content is old: Trends shift and new rules and regulations are constantly emerging, so once content exceeds the 24- to 36-month mark, you should revisit the asset and make sure there aren’t any elements that need to be updated. But remember: If you’re writing about, say, financial services or another industry where laws are rapidly shifting, an asset’s susceptibility to aging may be far greater.

The content is broken: You don’t want to promote a piece of content that people can’t access. Make sure all direct download links, video URLs and landing pages are accurate and working.

The content is just plain bad: There will be moments when a stellar content idea falls flat during the execution. The design may look amateurish or the copy may be riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. Flag assets that have quality issues. If the topic is worth revisiting, consider making the investment in necessary improvements.

Assess the Situation

Once you flag content that should not be used, take a step back from your audit and mull things over. See if there are any clear patterns that can guide your future content investments. There are several questions you should ask during this stage:

  • Do you have too much product- or brand-focused content?
  • Do you have an oversaturation of specific content formats, such as webinars or white papers?
  • Do you have too much content addressing particular buyer stages?
  • Do you have an abundance of assets for one persona and not enough for others?

Refresh, Repurpose, Repeat

Many marketers fear that when they conduct an audit, they’ll uncover a lot of lousy content, wasted time and wasted energy. In actuality, after you categorize your content and align it to specific personas, buyer’s stages and solution areas, you will find that you have a lot of content to work with.

If you ask the right questions, you can better grasp which content you can use as-is, what needs a design or copy refresh and what can be repurposed in a new content format.

You just need to answer some important questions to ensure you’re repurposing the right content:

  • Is all of the information in this piece still relevant?
  • Are there any design or branding elements that need to be updated?
  • Does the content cite any outdated research or data?
  • Do the key points and messaging elements still align with your target buyer?
  • Does this content format still align with the preferences of your target buyer, or is there another format that will resonate better?

If you address these questions early in the process, you can better grasp which content you can use as-is, what needs a design or copy refresh, and what can be repurposed in a new content format. As a result, you can manage your time and allocate your budget more effectively, and of course, rally the right troops!

Audit Early and Often

After you complete your initial content audit, it’s up to you and your team to maintain progress and keep information up to date. Establish a schedule for adding new content to your spreadsheet and categorizing each asset. This will help you ensure that all content is accounted for and readily available for future use. Even better: It makes all future audits less daunting and time-intensive.


Need help diving into the auditing process? Download this template and get started!

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Marketers sometimes freeze when they hear the word “audit,” fearing that their months (or years) of hard work are being scrutinized. But as content marketing budgets increase, B2B firms need to ensure they’re spending their time and money wisely.

The auditing process can help you and your team members gain a comprehensive view of your marketing arsenal — the resources you have, the formats you’ve used, the topics you’ve touched on and the buyers you’ve spoken to. More importantly, a content audit can help you make more educated decisions about which assets should be retired, which can be reused or repurposed, and where to invest in creating new content.

Keep in mind that to be successful, audits need to play an integral role in your process as a marketer. The more consistent you are, the better your long-term results will be.

About Content4Demand

Content4Demand guides B2B firms across verticals from concept to contract by tying their unique selling propositions to topics, titles and formats that are compelling, relevant and engaging to target buyers. Content4Demand provides a variety of turnkey services, such as persona development; content strategy and frameworks; content audits and gap analyses; content messaging, creation and repurposing services; and nurture and campaign support. Content4Demand is a division of G3 Communications, a B2B firm specializing in e-media and custom content solutions.