When was the last time you took inventory of your non-profit's content? There's a lot of it, right? Absolutely! You post on social media, send email, publish newsletters, send press releases and so much more. Chances are you're swimming in a sea of content. To assess what's working in your content and make decisions for planning one thing you can do is audit your non-profit's content.
In this post, we're breaking down the process for doing a DIY content audit and how to make the most of your findings.
What's a Content Audit?
Let's start with the basics. A content audit is a review of your organization's content to assess things like tone, style, voice, and so on. Most of all, it's an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of your content against the goals you set for it. After all, you're not in the business of create content for content's sake. Or, at least you shouldn't be!
Ultimately, content audits are an opportunity to get a bird's eye view of what's going on with your content so that you can make better decisions about your content moving forward.
Set a Goal for Your Content Audit
Let's face it -- no process is ever successful if you don't set a goal from the outset. A content audit is no different. It's unlikely that you're doing a content audit because you've got nothing better to do. You probably want to get something out of this exercise. What is that thing?
Here are a few examples of goals I've seen for content audits.
>> To identify which kinds of content are getting the best audience engagement
>> To assess our content's conversion rates
>> To assess our content's strengths and weakness for future content planning
What goal will you set for your content audit?
Start by Gathering Your Content
This can be a very involved step. If you have a content bank this part will be a little easier because you've already got your content in one place. If you don't have a content bank, this is your chance to start putting one together.
If this is your first content audit, please know that you DO NOT have to round up all of your content from all time. You may want to pick the last one to three months worth of content. I find that tends to be much more manageable. You can also choose to audit your content on specific channels (like Facebook only) to narrow the scope of your audit even further.
No matter which route you decide to go, here's what you'll want to do.
>> Decide the time frame for your content audit
>> Decide which communications channels you'll include in your audit
>> Get the content from the relevant channels and put it into some kind of content bank or document
Review and Score Your Content
You've done the labor intensive step of gathering all your content. Gold star! Our next step is to review and score all of this content. I like to do this in a spreadsheet so that I get an quick overview of my notes from the audit, plus you can sort your results when you're done.
Here are the column headers I use for the content audit:
>> Content Title (AKA what is it?)
>> Link to the content (if relevant)
>> Content type (Blog post, social media post, etc)
>> Audience (Who is the content for)
>> Tone and style
>> Relevant metrics (This will depend on the channel)
>> Effectiveness score (There's not magic formula this. I recommend assigning a letter or number grade based on the metrics and other data points you looked at for your spreadsheet)
Again, this is a step that can take a bit of time depending on how much content you've decided to review in your audit. Grab a coffee and put on some mellow background music to make the process more enjoyable.
Identify Insights You'll Integrate into Your Content Moving Forward
You've arrived at the last step in our content audit -- harvesting insights. Congratulations! You may have learned a lot doing the review and scoring of all your content in the last step. To maximize our efforts what we really want to do is take what we've learned and put them into actionable insights that we'll use moving forward.
How do you gather insights from your content audit? Let me count the ways! You'll likely find that there are a lot of insights to get from your audit. But the best insights will be related to the goal you set at the beginning of the audit.
Let's say the goal for my content audit is this -- to identify which kinds of content are getting the best audience engagement.
When I look through my reviewing and scoring spreadsheet, here's what I'm going to look for:
>> Average engagement rates with content
>> Content that over-performed the average engagement rate
>> Content that under-performed the average engagement rate
>> Types of content that garners the best engagement
You may be able to thing of a few other data points to look at in addition to what I've listed. But at the very least, these four points that I've listed will help us get the best information about the kinds of content our audience is engaging with. From this point, I will come up with some bullet-point takeaways that I want to incorporate into my future content plans, such as my next 90-day content plan.
I hope this overview of the content audit process is helpful for you. For many organizations a process like this will seem like a "nice to do but not mission critical" activity, but I want to challenge you on that. Your content and communications planning is really only as effective as your insights from past content, and a content audit will help you get those insights.
If you have questions about doing a content audit, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.
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