An indisputable reality and limitless opportunity
The ubiquitous, proverbial phase content is king has been uttered by writers and marketers alike, saturating every corner of the brand-conscious web. As simple as the saying goes, its profundity never ceases. Organizations that are shifting a segment of their marketing operations to the web are not to underestimate the power of online content. And for those companies revamping current attempts at strengthening their space in the minds of online users, they would agree that conducting an internal assessment of past inventory and current content assets is an appropriate place to start.
Historical assets = marketing map for the future
Why is conducting a content audit important, or even beneficial? Companies over their lifespan produce a plethora of marketing materials, that when revisited, can be used as inspiration to generate new ideas and sharpen dull campaigns, affected by a fresh interaction with brand guidelines and previous conceptual implementations. Today, brands create digital marketing collaterals, articles, blogs, research publications, and other written assets serving as expressions of a brand’s voice that is produced for the purpose of offering value and maintaining organizational relevance. You’ll find that your organization may have created maps, infographics, images, and videos that support the text that surrounds them. By gathering the aforementioned assets we can have a closer peek into your organization’s history, culture, and goals and can use those assets for the development of future content on blogs, websites, applications, and more.
Collection before progression
Of course, not all content is created for the same purpose or audience, let alone are demonstrative of consistency or equal quality. To collect and revisit content assets is a holistic, cost-effective method of determining what has and hasn’t been done in the past while guiding us to what we can do now, within brand guidelines, in the hopes of improvement. From there a structured process is set in place, using the past to inform, adjunctly to other necessary organizational exercises, what content strategy is best to help you achieve your marketing goals.
After collecting all available assets, our first step in the content audit process is to simply categorize content by two asset types: text and visual. Assets vary, where applicable, in length, complexity, creativity, order and number of conceptual appearance, amongst numerous measurable qualities. Although assets can exist separately, they are implemented cohesively. From there we add the next layer of categorization: platform. Was this content used in-house, between team members, or externally as collaterals for a previous website or a press release for an older product or service? Recognizing the audience it was circulated for and the environments it lived in are important designations to make before potentially repurposing previous assets.
Understanding the purpose of previous content and concepts acts as a cross-reference to what your marketing campaigns are communicating now and whether you continue to exist within the character of your brand or begin to show signs of deviation, or perhaps evolution. With all creation and delivery of content, the question must be asked: what is the purpose of this content? Is it to inform or entertain? Is it to encourage a user to take a specific action or simply act as a one-way experience? It’s the question that should be asked at every stage of a content life cycle and should be asked within, at every point of content creation. When digging up old content, this question should be your first.
What a marketing team may decide to implement in regards to content is a reflection of the quality of the audit process undertaken and the residual new lens and outlook given from the newfound historical perspective of the brand and voice. There is an external context to what decisions you make take, such as changes in industry direction, social media trends, popular culture, and other influential factors. What remains of course is the inherent uniqueness of your brand and its tools of the past in communicating its value to its customers (now users). After completing a content audit, you’ve effectively reacquainted yourself with past successes and mistakes. To benefit from them, you must curate content that takes into consideration what works for your brand in concert with modern best practices for digital mediums that reward consistency, authenticity, and digestible progress; arguably timeless bylaws of both branding and marketing.