Look at any brand today and you’ll probably see a steady output of digital content, from videos to websites to microsites to social media campaigns. At this point in the digital age, most companies have gotten the message: content is king and digital, social and mobile are the most popular parts of its kingdom.
Yet many brands feel so pressured to generate digital material that they fail to step back and assess the overall impact. While assets should ideally work together to promote one consistent brand presence, they often end up disconnected in both messaging and brand feel. The result is diluted brand potency.
Even marketers who consider themselves on top of their digital game can fall prey to this. Having a team of experienced writers, designers and strategists is great, but the fast-paced world of digital content creation means it’s easy to miss flaws like duplicate content or inconsistent terminology. The best way to ensure your brand’s content and messaging are on point: a content audit.
As processes go, this kind of audit might not feel as exciting as unleashing a hot new campaign — but it’s an integral process that will keep your digital presence fresh, dynamic and on message.
Whether you’re embarking on your first content audit or your hundredth, here are eight items that should be on every auditor’s checklist.
1. Ensure Your Brand’s Look & Feel Is Consistent Across All Channels & Assets
If you’re an experienced digital marketer, your business likely has a set of guidelines that define your brand voice and feel. While that’s a smart move, odds are that your digital assets were developed in different years by different people. That almost guarantees a certain amount of creative fragmentation when it comes to writing and imagery.
Look through your campaigns and platforms with fresh eyes to identify inconsistencies — then refine as needed to ensure they emanate one compelling brand perception.
2. Ensure All Messaging Is Aligned With Buyer Personas
No doubt you’re already working with an established idea of your audiences. Now is the time to look at your interest and attribute data, including popular search terms, and discover any new audiences yet to be addressed.
With those identified, go through all of your channels and align your content so that it’s relevant and engaging for the right audiences.
3. Check Analytics For Pages & Assets That Are (Or Aren’t) Delivering
If your site has been around for a while, there’s a good chance you have some underperforming pages and assets. Use your analytics to get some visibility into which pages are receiving the most (and the least) traffic.
That means looking for pages with both high page views and high bounce rates, then examining the content to see what’s causing this behavior. If the bounce rate is high or the time spent on the page is low, the content likely doesn’t meet your visitors’ needs. Conversely, if the traffic is low but time on page is high, the problem may not be with your content — it may simply be difficult to find.
4. Remove Outdated References
One of the keys to driving engagement is providing a steady stream of fresh, valuable content. Old content — such as references to past events, seasonal promotions, or even outdated services and messaging — makes your brand look stale. Clean up the content or toss it entirely.
5. Check For Repetition
This is another common issue that arises as a result of multiple content creators: accidental repetition.
Whether it’s an abundance of identical language or too many blog posts and white papers focusing on just one product, repetition can alienate customers and harm your SEO efforts. Make sure your assets promote your entire product line and that your messaging is expressed in fresh, original language across platforms.
6. Refine The Navigation
Approach your site from the perspective of a first-time visitor. What hierarchy is conveyed from the URL structure? Are pages labeled in the most useful and convenient way? Does your navigation make it easy for site visitors to find the most engaging and high-converting content?
Even the best-designed site in the world can turn into a labyrinth as more and more pages are added over time; restructure yours as necessary to make it inviting, clear and actionable.
7. Identify Opportunities For Linking Offline & Online Promotions
We live in a world where customers cross multiple marketing channels in the space of an hour.
To reinforce the feeling of a unified and seamless brand presence, link your print, social, mobile and digital campaigns with cross-channel marketing tactics. A print or TV ad might supply a Twitter hashtag or QR code to drive social media and mobile engagement, while online calls-to-action can direct viewers to offline events.
8. Upgrade Outdated Content Tools
The marketing landscape moves swiftly, but so does the world of technology. Today’s digital marketing tools can save time, drive ROI and provide a creative control that was unheard of just a few years ago. Evaluate the limitations of your current content tools and technologies, then put together a marketing wish list and find the right solution that can help your content shine.
When it come to building and maintaining your digital kingdom, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. Step back and assess the effectiveness of your content, both as individual assets and as part of your marketing ecosystem. Not only will you eradicate any weaknesses in your system – you’ll shape a more powerful and luminous brand experience across the entire marketing universe.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.