Finally, no more sitting in long meetings with a verbose CEO and a bunch of bored staffers! This is a content audit you can do quickly and easily. Impress your friends!! Great at parties!!
Seriously though, let’s get organized. I’m here to help.
Organizing content should be an exercise that you can do with a small team, quick and nimble. First step, I recommend creating a spreadsheet in something like Microsoft Excel or Google Docs. You need a central log or ledger where you can inventory what you have and start planning for what you’ll need.
To start, keep it simple. You can always go back to your spreadsheet and add more data, but, for now, let’s just figure out what you’ve got.
Your Content Audit Spreadsheet
Your initial spreadsheet should look something like this…
|Title of Content||Type of Content||Link or Location||Quality (1-5)|
|How to Build a Table||Blog Post||www.blog.com||4|
|Wood Buying Guide||Handout||File cabinet||5|
|List of Services||Word Doc||Documents Folder||3|
Content Audit Rating System
Let’s break down that rating system.
You can rate however you prefer, but for me, I like to keep it simple with a smaller range of numbers. That way, I can easily remember what each number represents (I’m old and forgetful like a politician).
For example, your rating guide could look something like this…
5 – good to use with little to no editing needed
4 – good to use but needs proofing and editing
3 – good base but needs improvement to be usable
2 – fair content which will need a good bit of work, or can be “used for parts”
1 – fair content, unsure of its usefulness but going to keep just in case
If you get to a piece of content you’re about to label a “1,” make sure there is at least one useful bit that you could add to other content or could be a possible topic idea and make a note of that in the piece and/or in your spreadsheet.
If it’s just crap with no usefulness whatsoever, trash it and don’t add it to your list.
Content Is Everywhere!
Remember, this list is for tracking all types of content. Maybe you have some “how-to” videos you created or a PowerPoint presentation. You might have a speech or podcast recorded as an audio file.
There could also be emails sent to a client which could be the basis for a blog post, or you have some printed materials you could use as a source for all sorts of electronic content versions.
If you have multiple people in your crew, divide and conquer. Assign different sources to each person, but, be certain they understand that this must be a thorough search. Look anywhere and everywhere you might find good content or just good inspiration.
An exhaustive and thorough accounting of all content and ideas will save you time in the long run.
A Content Audit Means Not Starting from Nothing
All of this will help you avoid starting with a blank page. Nothing is more intimidating than staring at a blank page. Before I started writing this post, I had already covered some of these principles in emails, conversations, seminars, and blog posts.
You’re never starting from nothing. It might feel like it but, trust me, you’re not.
Let’s get deep for a minute here. If you’ve gone through the core values exercise from my earlier post, you’ve already established that you’re passionate about what you do. To be passionate, you should have a core understanding of your industry and your audience.
Or you should have an idea of what is missing in your industry. Think about it. How often are you talking to friends, family members, clients, or even neighbors about what you do? If you’re truly passionate about this thing, then it should be quite often.
And you’re very likely already reading resource material about your industry. You should be subscribing to blogs about the product or service you’re trying to market.
My point is this, you’re rarely starting with nothing. At the very least, you have ideas. As you go through your content search, maybe you don’t have a lot of finished pieces to work with, but I will bet that you have lots of ideas, and sometimes that’s enough.
A Content Inventory of Ideas
If you’re starting with limited or no actual content, then your inventory sheet might look more like this…
|Content Idea||Type of Content||Due Date|
|How to Build a Table||Blog Post||4/1|
|Wood Buying Guide||Handout||5/1|
|List of Services||Word Doc||2/1|
Making this type of inventory will help you to organize your thoughts. These will serve as your checklist as you get your content and marketing materials together.
Inventory the Assets in Your Head
Sometimes we have more knowledge stuck in our heads than we realize; for example, I will be in a meeting with a client, they will ask a question, and the answer I give feels like it’s coming from someone else. Where did all this freakin knowledge come from???
Trust me when I tell you that you know way more than you think you know (unless you think you know it all in which case, you’re reading the wrong post).
Get a notebook, create a Google Doc, or use some other tool where you can easily jot down these content ideas. Make sure this is something you can access at any time from anywhere.
Why? It’s not realistic to suggest that you can sit with this list and generate all your good content ideas in one sitting. No one is that cool, sorry.
What you’re doing here is creating a good habit. It’s a habit of opening your eyes and ears to all the content ideas coming at you on any given day.
Remember, Content Is All Around Us
Content is one of the scariest words when it comes to marketing. Who will write it? Who will edit? Where do the ideas come from?
Relax and know that cataloging your content can be a simple task if you follow the steps in this post.
And generating new content doesn’t have to be a matter of staring at a blank page until inspiration comes. Get in the habit jotting down ideas for blog posts, podcasts, video, and more. Inspiration is all around you…
- A question from a client
- An email to or from a client or coworker
- In conversation
- Advertising in your industry
- Content in your industry
- TV, movies, social media
- Your kids, pets, etc.
If you’re listening, you might be surprised how many times ideas come your way. Take advantage of that and keep a constant inventory of the ideas as they come.
Then, work with your team on execution. More on that in a later post.
Of course, you don’t have to do this all by yourself, enlist your coworkers, friends, and family. If you need help with your content, we have some of the best writers and content marketers at our disposal. Drop us a line or give us a call at 717.457.0522.