Ask someone to perform a content audit, and it sounds pretty straightforward. Sit down to actually perform a content audit, and you’ll find yourself in a circle of hell that Dante dared not speak of.
I exaggerate. But barely.
You’ll be challenged by a number of beasts during your journey through Content Audit Hell, which always begins in the Valley of Inventory. The first beast you’ll meet, fittingly, has no specific name. We’ll call him “Ambiguity.”
This beast exists merely to waylay your content inventory by posing questions with answers such as, “It depends.” He reminds you that “content” is actually a pretty vague term when you really think about it, and he leaves you muddling through puzzles like: What am I even looking for? What’s considered “content”? How in the world do I classify it all? Is there some sort of Dewey Decimal System for blog posts, or am I just improvising here?
Should you manage to gather your wits and slay Ambiguity (more on this later), you’ll immediately be challenged by a slow but massive beast named “Tedium.”
This relentless monster taunts you with images of bright, sunny days—just like the ones you’re missing as you slave at your computer—and ceaseless reminders of the creativity and career fulfillment you experienced a long, long time ago, before this content inventory/audit began.
To vanquish Tedium, you must sift and catalog every single piece of content your company has created. Every. Single. Piece.
Your battle with Tedium will be so epic that, once it’s over, you’ll probably think your journey is complete. Not so fast.
You may have completed your content inventory, but the audit has just begun.
Now it’s time to do a qualitative analysis of your brand’s content to identify thematic gaps, performance, what buyer personas you’re serving, and what content should be archived or removed entirely. Here you’ll encounter a beast named “Overload.”
This monster’s job is to overwhelm you with an enormous amount of data. You won’t escape him unless you can remain calm and clear-headed enough to organize and analyze the data he’s presenting—a monumental feat for a mere mortal.
But let’s say you master the data, escape Content Audit Hell, and return to the world you once knew.
There still remains a final beast lurking in the shadows: “The Forgotten.”
Now what makes this beast especially frightening, besides the fact that his name begins with “The,” is that he’s very stealthy. The Forgotten stalks you for weeks or even months after your content audit, surfacing bits and pieces of content you’ve neglected to include. Most often, he uses your colleagues and bosses as messengers for his shrill battle cry: “I thought you said we audited everything.”
Listen, folks. I feel for you. It’s not a journey for the faint-hearted. Now, I can’t fight your battles for you, but what I can do is make sure you’re equipped.
Your Weapon of Choice
Feast your weary eyes on Kapost’s free (FREE!) content auditing tool, which automates and organizes some MAJOR portions of the content inventory and audit process, cutting the process down from weeks to potentially just a few hours.
This tool will:
- Run an automated audit of your website to pull together a complete list of content pieces on your site (every page on your site and any files attached to those pages) to automatically pull and include basic information about each content piece, including:
- Content type
- Any social shares on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube
- Suggest additional information you should fill in, including personas, buying stages, and themes
- Crunch the numbers to show you how your content has performed and where there might be gaps in how you’re targeting personas and buying stages
- Cut down on human error and missed content
…I guess this post didn’t reach you in time.
If it makes you feel any better, your next content audit is probably just around the corner. Yay?