“We need more content.” – CMOs
Whether it’s a thought leadership piece, an industry research report or a fun-read eBook, creating new content is becoming a central objective for the average SMB’s marketing strategy. And yet only 44% of B2B content marketers have a documented strategy.
That leads us to a question – how can a business know what type of content they need to develop if they don’t have an end goal in mind? The smart-aleck answer? Luck.
Content strategies aren’t developed overnight, but there is a first step that can put companies on the right track towards identifying what’s needed in their content library: a comprehensive content audit.
Depending on the size of your library, it can take between two to four hours to complete. But at the end of it, you’ll know:
- The types of content your library has (and needs)
- The funnel stages of your content (and the gaps you need to fill)
- The intended audience segments (and the personas you need to speak to)
Step 1: Collect All Your Content
This can be a more difficult task than you think, especially for small businesses that haven’t yet needed to establish organized filing systems. The truth is, content pieces can be scattered all over a company’s website, cloud storage systems, servers, old laptop and desktop computers, flash drives and even floppy disks (that content is likely dated, just saying).
Step 2: Create an Excel Spreadsheet for Your Content Audit
After you’ve dug through the attic of your hard drive, we recommend creating an Excel spreadsheet and posting file destinations to each content piece. Be sure to include the following columns so you can easily categorize your content:
- Funnel Stage: Identify if the content piece is strong for a nurture or prospecting campaign by identifying if it fits into one of the five funnel stages. At Market. Eat. Sleep., we use the following:
- Loosen Status Quo
- Commit to Change
- Evaluate Solutions
- Commit to Solution
- Justify Decision
- Required Alterations: Determine if the content is too self-promotional
- Audience: Pinpoint the personas most likely to respond to the content’s messaging
- Elevator Idea: Sum up the main subjects and conclusions of the content piece
- Purpose: Is the content educational? A “viewpoint” piece? A sales pitch?
- Type: eBook, Whitepaper, Article, Infographic, etc.
Step 3: Review Your Content Audit for Gaps
Once you’ve identified the type of content that you do have and its relative usability, you can proceed to review the library for gaps. Use these insights to identify content needs:
- Is your content too self-promotional?
- Have you developed enough content pieces for each funnel stage?
- Are you addressing the needs of key audience segments, including decision-makers?
- Has your content library been filled up with too many content pieces of the same type (IE 12 infographics and no whitepapers)?
- Is your content still relevant in the industry – or are your topics outdated?
Now that you’ve completed a comprehensive evaluation of your content needs, begin the content strategy development process with this criteria in mind first and foremost – evergreen. To avoid content gaps in the future, focus on developing future-proof content that will be relevant in several different contexts and across myriad channels. That way, you’ll ensure you get the most bang for your buck with each content piece.