How To Cultivate Your Own Content Marketing Garden [Content Audit Guide]
Spring is nearly here again after a year of working from home. All of this time online has taught us one thing: gardening is awesome.
We spend a lot of time on the computer, staring deep into the matrix of code and shifting algorithms, so time outside helps us clear our heads or maintain focus. Last season, our Slack channels were full of pictures of flower beds, home-grown vegetables, and useful tricks to keep plants healthy.
It turns out, gardening can also teach you a lot about content marketing.
If you’re producing b2b content, wondering if it’s doing anything to help your business grow, a content audit helps to highlight the assets that are driving growth, content that could use a little freshening up, and content that can be removed.
We’re not experts at gardening (digital experience optimization, yes), but we have learned a few things.
Here’s what our limited gardening experience can teach you about content marketing:
Is Any Content Actually Growing?
When planting, you imagine your backyard will turn out like The Secret Garden, overflowing with flowering shrubs, ever-present birdsong, and delightful water features. Then you stare at the bare dirt and wonder if anything is even growing down there.
Before you start pulling weeds or planting something new, take a step back. Your b2b blog or content marketing strategy deserves the same consideration. Review your organic traffic to find the posts that have continued to grow on their own, delighting your website visitors with information, or providing the answers to their questions.
- Review the Content Drilldown report in Google Analytics for the past year. What assets drove the most traffic? What content fell flat?
- What pages or resources gathered the most keyword rankings, as well as external backlinks, during that time?
- Cross-reference your social media channels––anything outperform your expectations or cause an unwanted scandal among your audience?
Keep Growing Content Fresh and Healthy
Once you’ve assessed your own historical data, it’s time to start getting your hands dirty. Content audits provide a roadmap to what works and what doesn’t with your audience. The posts that outperformed can be polished up, updated with valuable new content, and republished.
The content that’s neither outperforming or underperforming might simply need a little nudge in the right direction. Combining posts of similar topics can make them stronger and more competitive in organic search results. Refreshing that content with different media types, like videos or infographics, can also reach more people with different learning styles.
- Create new content that is similar to your top-performing posts. The content that grew on its own is likely resonating with your audience the most.
- Use a mixture of evergreen content and shorter term, seasonal content to supply your audience with more variety.
- Content audits also help you avoid duplicating content or topics that you’ve already covered.
Prune Often to Make Room for New Growth
No garden is perfect. The same goes for your content. Some flowers just don’t survive in New England (RIP to my pricey dahlias) and some content simply won’t resonate with your audience. A content audit will reveal the content resources that barely attracted attention.
Share content again on social media to give it new life, if you’re convinced it’s valuable to your audience and simply got lost in the noise. Otherwise, it’s alright to prune your b2b, deleting old content and redirecting that traffic to more valuable content of a similar topic. Also considering recycling that content into new formats.
Why Not Just Leave Content Published?
As your content strategy grows and your business priorities change with it, a favorite post from last year may suddenly look outdated. Your brand messaging may have made a massive shift from quarter to quarter as the market changed.
Recycling assets discovered during your content audit keeps your website growing in the right direction. Otherwise, that outdated content could change the way your audience relates to your business. If the messaging on your homepage doesn’t match the messaging within your content, websites visitors may not take the next step.
What’s the next step?
The Best of All Possible Content Strategies
The only perfect content marketing strategy is one that keeps chugging along, regardless of the changing seasons. Keep creating content, even as you run your business.
Use a content audit to find the content that works with your audience, and the content that falls flat. Use those learnings to keep creating new forms of content, with a variety of content media types, to develop a content marketing strategy that best suits your business.
The organic nature of a content marketing strategy means that it should constantly evolve. Keep your content fresh by updating it often, rework old content to fit your current needs, and remove or replace what doesn’t work. When you take another step back next Spring, you might be surprised just how much your b2b blog has grown.
Need help creating a content marketing strategy that works for your business? Start your next project with 3 Media Web today.