The Order of Operations: Performing a Content Audit That Won’t Kill You

by Meagan S

Whether you’re taking over the job from another co-worker or just starting to rally behind the digital content bandwagon, the content you put out into the big wide world is the most important part of managing your marketing strategy.

In fact, every piece of writing you produce is carefully marketed to guarantee exposure, word of mouth, and the all powerful ‘sale.’ Using a myriad of sources, only the choicest selection of digital content goes live.

But when this content gets old, where does it go?

Unlike print, digital content doesn’t just ‘die.’ It doesn’t even recycle. Old content simply drifts around in cyberspace, waiting for its proverbial Godot.

Content audits were created to preserve, remind, and help sustain the content marketing system. In other words, they help businesses, freelancers, and content managers generate the biggest ripple with the most efficient number of stones.

Surfing back over what might seem like an endless sea of content can be less than riveting, but completing a thorough content audit can be as easy as 1-2-3 (or PEMDAS)!

The Order of Operations

PEMDAS, or punctuation, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction, is a part of everyone’s favorite formula: the order of operations. Although the rhetoric may be a less familiar to you than it was back in high school, the principles remain the same. By following a simple set of rules, you can cut down even large-scale equations with record speed and accuracy. Don’t worry; no actual math is used here.

Let’s eat your elephant one bite at a time, using the power of math!

P — Prepare For Battle

Before we go to war, let’s suit up with the armor we need. Set up a spreadsheet or other SEM software that can help track everything you need it to.

E — Evaluate Your Sources

No matter what industry you’re in, your business will rely on a specific set of channels in which to market its services. Which accounts do you already know you have? Who might have a list of all possible accounts created for the business? Nothing a quick email can’t fix.

M — Mind Your Data Points

If there’s one thing we know about spreadsheets, it’s that they only make sense when labeled. What information is most important to you about past content? Generally, you ought to record:

  • Titles
  • Dates Published
  • Keywords
  • Content Type
  • Topic
  • Word count

Ultimately, this is entirely up to you.

D — Do This Thing!

Auditing your content is probably the most laborious job to undertake, but there are a couple tricks to speed up the process.

  • Start by compiling a set of links. You can get to the other categories over time.
  • Use different spreadsheet pages for each content category.
  • There’s a reason multicolored text and cells exist. Use them.

Bit by bit, place each piece of content into the spreadsheet, taking note of the necessary data points.

A — Add It Up

Now you can do some real number crunching! Your content audit spreadsheet is invaluable when generating accurate numbers regarding amounts of content, word count, frequency, and other factors that help determine overall success. In addition, you’ll determine if you want to keep, remove, or recycle content based on its predecessors’ legacy.

S — Sustain The System

One of the most important keys of making the content audit successful is maintaining it over time. This means filling out your spreadsheets, adding your labels, and generally keeping a hawk-eyed glare on the process for the rest of your career.

Order Up!

Once your content has been captured, labeled, and otherwise squared away in whatever spreadsheet it needs to go, you’ve finally done it! You’ve successfully completed a content audit, and stayed alive and well throughout the whole process!

Completing a content audit is a huge accomplishment, especially for companies doing one for the first time. However, the buck doesn’t just stop here. And that’s where things get messy.

Save yourself the trouble with WriterAccess’ advanced program and managed services, specifically designed for the unique, the successful, and the bold (hint: that’s you). Get a handle on your content’s past for a future that looks ever brighter. Odds are, you’ll be so glad you did.

 

Writing for clients for over six years, Meagan S. is a proven professional with a strong educational background and an unmatched command of powerful, smooth-running prose. Her client-based writing strategy means that Meagan brings everything to the table, refusing to hold back or keep her best work to herself. Meagan is a serious writer with pieces that convert and call-to-action your audience for your optimal outcome. No matter the subject, Meagan can cover it. Meagan stays current with best SEO practices and keyword rankings, but most importantly realizes that the written word is made for people, not robots. Experience the personal touch that Meagan’s writing brings, with smooth-flowing and simply genuine prose that captures your vision perfectly.

 


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