A content audit is like taking your car in for service. It ensures all parts are working properly, replaces old or damaged parts, and tests your engine performance.
Neither your car nor your content engine is perfect from Day 1. Your job is to constantly fine-tune the engines that drive you and your business.
At Column, we begin every client engagement with a content audit to understand what’s working for your business and recommend how you could improve.
Why bother with a content audit anyway?
A content audit helps you find improvement areas in your content marketing performance.
Without regular content audits, you’re risking a lot of problems, such as:
- Wasted resources: When you don’t know what’s working, you may spend money on staff, tools, and content marketing agencies only to get middling results.
- Missed opportunities: Content marketing isn’t perfect, but it could always improve. A content audit helps you spot ways to optimize your content strategy and score easy wins.
- Lower search ranking: Poorly performing content leaves you at the bottom of search engine rankings. If you’re not investing in new content creation and optimization, you’ll likely remain there.
- Poor user experience: Whether it’s the format, channel, or frequency, poorly crafted or published content can harm the user experience on your website, social media accounts, and third-party websites.
- Low credibility: Content is your edge — and poor content cuts your credibility. Keyword-stuffed articles, AI-generated text, heavily gated assets, spotty social media content, poorly formatted posts, and data-thin articles are all credibility cancers.
A content audit helps you save money, hire the right resources, double down on winning formats and channels, boost existing content, improve the user experience, and strengthen your brand.
Who can benefit from a content inventory audit?
Anybody implementing a content-led growth strategy must take regular stock of their content inventory. This can include SaaS startups, small businesses, and enterprise companies.
The person responsible for content audits may vary according to company, industry, and stage — typically someone on the marketing, revenue (GTM), or communications team. Website traffic and leads may be a core part of their KPIs.
For Series A or B SaaS startups, we usually work with the company’s SEO specialist, content marketer, or marketing leader. For pre-seed companies, this is usually the marketing lead.
For professional service businesses (e.g., IT, finance, or management consulting), we typically work with the marketing head or director to perform a thorough content audit as part of our initial onboarding and ongoing engagement.
How content audits work at Column
We divide our content auditing process into three phases:
- Initial content audit
- Onboarding content audit
- Ongoing content audits
#1 Initial content audit
The initial audit happens before we start working together. It helps us understand whether you’re creating enough of the right content.
During the initial content audit, we assess your visible content efforts across search, social, and email marketing.
The process helps us glean your target audience, content cadence, content type, and content quality.
We can spot optimization opportunities (such as adding internal links, removing duplicate content, or improving your website content), which we share with you during the strategy call.
We might bring up ways to add more backlinks to a blog post, improve SEO performance with rich snippets and infographics, or improve content quality with updated statistics.
#2 Onboarding content audit
The next type of content audit process happens after we’ve onboarded you before we begin creating content.
The onboarding content audit helps us understand your content performance at a deeper level to inform content strategy going forward.
During this audit, we look at publicly inaccessible data, including:
- Traffic data for organic and paid search
- Social media audience engagement stats
- Usage metrics for sales enablement content
- PR mentions around thought leadership content
After the audit, we report on where you could improve and highlight potential roadblocks you might be facing.
This report is bundled with your content strategy document and discussed on the pre-production call.
#3 Ongoing content audits
We perform ongoing content audits to ensure our efforts are helping you meet your KPIs.
For these ongoing content audits, we look at specific metrics related to your retainer, such as search engine traffic, social media engagement, signups, demos, or PR mentions.
We report on:
- What’s working (so we can double down on it)
- What’s not working (so we can optimize or archive the content piece), and
- What else we can do (new content ideas based on any content gap we find)
These ongoing audits are more informal and are brought up with you or your designated content owner during our check-in calls.
Which content audit tool do we use?
Our tech stack depends on what we’re auditing and how deep the content audit must be. We use different tools for SEO, social media, sales enablement, and PR content audits.
SEO content audits
For SEO, we might use SEMrush or Ahrefs for search engine traffic and keyword analysis. We pair this with Screaming Frog for technical SEO analysis.
The results of the website content audit go into a Google Sheet we use internally.
During onboarding, we access your Google Analytics dashboard and Google Search Console to understand your traffic and referrer stats.
Finally, we generate ongoing SEO content reports to understand what’s working, spot opportunities for search engine optimization, and tie content marketing back to revenue.
These reports help us refresh old content, ideate evergreen content to close content gaps, improve your landing page or blog post copy, and boost overall SEO performance.
Social media content audits
For social media, we scan your content, formatting, and links on any channel we spot your presence on. We note how engaged people are, how many shares you’re getting, and what your audience size is like.
During the onboarding stage, we might request access to your social media analytics through Meta’s Business Manager or LinkedIn’s Admin dashboard.
We may carry out a more thorough social media competitive analysis using RivalIQ or use Sprout Social to understand how your audience feels about you online.
Sales enablement content audits
For revenue teams, we scan sales enablement content to determine usability, readability, and accessibility. In other words:
- Is the information comprehensive and compelling enough?
- Is the content easy to read and sufficiently fluff-free?
- Can your prospects access your content freely?
For deeper analysis, we may request access to, or reports from, your CRM or digital content management platform.
This helps us understand your audience breakdown and how many people (both staff and prospects) use your sales enablement assets.
PR and thought leadership content audits
For PR content efforts, we first assess your brand mentions and press releases.
For ongoing PR audits around new reports and thought leadership, we use Google Alerts and Google News to track media mentions.
Do a content audit today
A content audit is more than just poking around Google Analytics or Google Search Console every once in a while.
Content audits bring visibility and help tie your content strategy back to revenue.
Without this visibility, you could damage the user experience, waste time and resources, and potentially harm your brand.
A content audit template paired with the right tools can help you or your content strategist create relevant action items to improve content performance.
At Column, we perform a content audit to help you understand what you’re doing right and where you could improve.
Learn more about how we approach onboarding at Column.