4 things to look for during a content audit

Heather Nolan
October 29, 2020
4 things to look for during a content audit

After months or years of publishing content regularly, your organization will accumulate a substantial archive. While this depth of content is incredibly valuable, not all posts are created equal. In fact, poorly written or formatted posts can hurt your organization more than help it. 

To address this problem, there’s no better solution than a content audit. The auditing process will help you identify top performing content, tweak outdated posts and remove content that might be undermining your goals. 

There are many ways to conduct a content audit, and your organization may develop a unique approach. Along the way, keep these four essential steps top of mind: 

Step 1: Update old content 

While many organizations strive to publish evergreen content, references to specific time periods still manage to creep in. Often, statistics and data fall quickly out of date as more recent figures emerge. 

As you examine old content, flag any posts that are significantly out of date. Once you have a shortlist, you can dive into refreshing any information that’s no longer timely. This can be as simple as finding a data point from the current year, or as significant as updating a post to reflect a change in policy.

Once you update past content, add a note to let readers know what changes you made. This transparency will be helpful for readers who discover the page from an existing citation that once referenced its old version.

MORE: How to create credible, relevant and personalized content for an engaged audience

Step 2: Unpublish irrelevant content 

All content strategies ebb and flow as times change. As your organization refines its mission and vision, some content may fall outside the boundaries of your brand.

Your content archive might contain a cluster of posts about a service that’s no longer offered. There is no benefit to keeping this content on your website; it won’t attract a relevant audience or help you rank for keywords.

But instead of fully deleting irrelevant content, simply unpublish it and store it as a draft. If your organization ever decides to embrace that topic again, you’ll be glad you won’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Step 3: Apply your style guide (including SEO)

As your content strategy evolves, your house style may shift considerably. A content audit presents a great opportunity to bring past content in line with your current style. 

There’s no reason to line edit each post; just focus on high-impact features such as headlines, introductions, and subheadings. This will bring continuity to your content archive and polish your overall brand. 

If your early posts don’t use SEO best practices, be sure to incorporate them at this stage as well. You never know when an overlooked post could begin to climb search rankings.

Step 4: Incorporate new calls to action

It’s important to review and remove any outdated calls to action. 

In their place, incorporate calls to action that your organization plans to use for years to come. Newsletters, social media channels, and donation buttons are all calls to action that are unlikely to change with time.

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Heather Nolan

Heather Nolan is a marketing specialist at Sidecar. A former journalist and social media manager, Heather lives in New Orleans with her husband, son, and grumpy rescue dog.

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