The Anti-Hero: Auditing Content for Impact

Part of our Hero's Journey Mentor Series designed to help marketers make their customers the heroes of their brand storytelling.

Missed our introduction to The Anti-Hero? Read it here.

In my past article about the anti-hero’s approach to content marketing, I talked about how marketing succeeds when it convinces the target audience to make a purchase. Basic, but not easy. One successful way to achieve this goal is authentic storytelling about the brand and its industry, otherwise known as content marketing. This story will appeal to the right audience at the right time, giving them the emotional connection and trust needed to make a buying decision. While everyone in marketing is doing a good job of talking about how important content is, a lot of companies are also still creating content on a reactionary basis. When a marketer needs to step up and make a brand relatable using applied content strategy that might break tradition, these anti-heroes need to start with a content audit. We’ve learned these applied steps help inspire new direction by the end of the content audit process.

1. Determine Why You Need Content

The ultimate reason any marketer or business needs content is to convince target audiences along the sales funnel. Some content may be designed to make a firm sales proposition, while other content might reinforce a brand’s position as industry experts. Before setting in to do the few hours work of reviewing and analyzing a brand’s content, it’s important to know what your goals are. An audit with the goal of providing content that drives organic search ranking will lead to different findings and recommendations than one that wants to increase audience engagement, or one that wants to deepen brand authority. Setting these parameters before the audit leads to innovation that achieves marketing goals later down the line. 

2. Gather and Evaluate Content

You can’t audit content without having it all in one place first. Gathering your content for the audit isn’t about looking at every webpage, blog, or social media post the brand has ever created. In fact, that might be unnecessary. The goal is to gather a representation of all the content in enough volume to give you data that can inform your strategy. This includes choosing pieces from each stage of your marketing funnel, and of each type you produce (blog, video, ebook, etc). However, don’t just audit the content you already know is high-performing or stands out in your memory. It might help to choose a range of dates (like the last quarter or last year) and survey performance of content during that time.

You might wonder, what should you even be measuring? Hard metrics like keyword ranking, session duration, social media engagement, and number of leads are some of the basic metrics that often get prioritized during audits. That is because these numbers show how easy it is for audiences to find your content, and how people behave when they find it. At Metonymy we rely on Google Analytics and free SEO audit tools for this stage of the process. 

In addition to the hard facts, it’s important to just give your content a read or view. Does it make sense? Are you saying something unique in each piece? Is anything out of date? Ask critical questions about the quality and purpose of content, especially the pieces or pages you find are lower-performing than you hoped.

3. Make Notes for Next Steps

Now that you know how your content across the funnel has been performing, it’s time to think about what comes next. The first thing you might focus on is what to change or improve if certain ideas haven’t been driving traffic or conversions the way you wanted. But there’s also going to be content that has performed well, and that information should also drive strategy. If one blog topic or webinar has been highly trafficked, consider how you can repurpose that idea and speak to your audience on it further. Maybe you can add more detail or talk in a practical way about something you discussed at a high level in the past. It may be the case that combining a few low-traffic pieces into one page will lead to more traffic overall. All these options should be considered and those that are implemented must be audited in turn to measure their success.

Content marketing anti heroes rely on the content audit to support their recommendations for changes to strategy that might otherwise seem radical. When the goal is to relate to the audience, if content isn’t doing that, the issue needs to be addressed. Even a piece that makes the perfect appeal at one point in time will become outdated without attention. Schedule recurring audits of content to make sure your content is actually speaking to audiences and achieving results, not just checking off a box on the marketing checklist without driving business goals.

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