As a content lead, you care about the quality of content that your team is releasing to the wild. You likely spend a great deal of your time planning content strategy and brainstorming themes. You make sure that everyone knows their role in the orchestration of the content engine. But is auditing a part of your role? If you truly want to improve content performance, you may need to take a closer look at your content—and I don’t mean your assets.
Content you need to be auditing
When I was in your position, I always had a heavy hand in whitepapers and major assets. I did a thorough copy and design edit in multiple stages. I made sure that asset would be the best it could at engaging our target audience. Then after promotion, I reviewed the data to see how many likes, shares, click thrus and downloads we got. But you know what I didn’t do? I never audited all the content pieces and parts that surrounded that asset. And that was a big mistake.
It doesn’t matter how great your asset is, if the content used to promote it isn’t good, your asset will never reach its full potential. That’s where auditing needs to be a part of your weekly routine.
Here are the key content pieces you need to be auditing (in order of importance):
- Landing pages
- Social posts/Advertisements
Wait, the asset is the least important? Yup! It’s irrelevant until the roads leading to it are high enough quality to get people to that destination.
How to audit marketing content
Auditing is the practice of taking a small sample of the overall content and checking it thoroughly for mistakes. This does not mean you should put yourself in a review workflow for every piece of content. Instead, block a few hours in your calendar once a week to dedicate to auditing. Here is how to review each type of content.
Depending on the number of landing pages you have, try to look at 10-20%. If you have 40 landing pages, take a look at 8, if you have 100, take a look at 10.
- A hook in the first sentence
- 3-5 Clear reasons the reader will get value from the asset
- Working/correct form and links
Common mistake: Marketers often rush the landing pages. Sometimes a designer will create them when a colleague misses their deadline. This results in copying and pasting the intro or not clearly thinking about how to convince the reader to fill out the form. (Read article on how to fix these mistakes)
Select 3 different assets and look at the emails used to promote them. If you only send one email per asset than go broader with your sample size.
- A hook in the subject line (clear variation among multiple emails)
- A hook in the first sentence (often a stat or key finding from the asset)
- One clear value proposition in the body (which should be ≤4 sentences)
- Clear call to action (CTA)
- Working/correct links
Common mistake: Marketers often make emails too dense and don’t boil the content down to the key points that will get the recipient’s attention and make them take action. (Read article on how to fix these mistakes)
Select 3 different assets and look at the social posts and/or advertisements used to promote them. Be sure to look at posts across channels.
- A hook in the post (often a stat or key finding from the asset)
- Variation among posts
- An image that is relevant and interesting
- One clear value statement that explains why they should get the asset
- Working/correct links
Common mistake: This task is often passed on to a social media specialist who doesn’t have time to read the asset. Posts are therefore generic and centered only around the title. Additionally, the marketer may have a difficult time coming up with multiple hooks and value props. (Read article on how to fix these mistakes)
Select 3 different assets for each asset type (i.e., 3 whitepapers, 3 webinars, etc.). You may need to audit just one asset type per scheduled audit time.
- Topical fit for target audience
- Clear value for target audience
- Appropriate content for where the asset is intended in the customer journey (i.e., no features in an awareness asset)
- Easy to read/watch – not too dense, lots of white space and graphics
- Clear call to action (CTA) at the end that gives the audience a next step in their journey
- Working/correct links
Common mistake: With key assets, the issue is typically writing for the topic versus for providing value to the target audience. Another common issue is talking about features in thought leadership pieces. (Read article on how to fix these mistakes)
Make content auditing a habit
Make significant time for auditing when you start. You’ll need the time to review the content and find errors as well as time to fix those errors with team process and training. The good news is that the longer you audit, the less time you’ll need to spend on it. As content quality goes up, your reviews will be quicker. But don’t get complacent! As soon as you stop auditing, mistakes and bad habits will reappear. Need help auditing and fixing your content? I can help!