Mohamed Abdelbaki | February 23rd, 2021

As in everything in life, it is important to take a step back both to review your accomplishments and see if you can learn from your mistakes. In the world of marketing, a regular audit can help you assess how successful your strategy has been.

By definition, a marketing audit is a periodic and systematic review of an organisation’s marketing strategy and its impact on overall business performance, with the goal of identifying deficiencies and building on successes.

While marketing audits have been common practice for some time, technological change in recent years, not to mention societal issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic, have increased the urgency of understanding the return on marketing investment – and especially on content marketing.

Periodic audits have gained in importance as the pressure mounts on businesses to accelerate their digital transformation and adapt to novel ways of reaching their clients – as well as understand how their efforts compare with those of their competitors.

Content Marketing Audit Checklist

What makes an effective and insightful content marketing audit? It’s more than just tracking predefined KPIs – although this is also part of it. Effective audits need to consider the broader strategic picture, as well as how well your brand voice reaches target audiences on a range of commercially crucial themes.

To that end, the audit should be comprehensive in coverage and supported by marketing analytics and stakeholder feedback (including clients, of course). However, audits will differ based on your business objectives, the industry sector, and target customer base.

A typical content marketing audit should include evaluations of the following:

  • Objectives and outcomes:

By translating your marketing and commercial goals into specific, measurable metrics – for example, “achieve 20% growth in online sales leads” – you can map the journey to and from a successful conversion. But how has your content contributed to this journey? Were most of your conversions originating from paid channels or direct/organic? An audit will establish where content has most impact in the purchase decision-making process.

  • Market Evaluation:

The business environment is constantly influenced by political, economic, technological, and legal variables. Changes in these could mean having to address new client segments or assess shifts in existing clients’ values towards issues like sustainability and inclusivity. Has your content been reflecting these changes effectively, and genuinely? The audit should take stock of its impact.

  • Audience Research:

By extension, content must stay relevant to your customers’ evolving needs and habits. An audit can determine whether your strategy is catering to their content needs and preferred channels, and then suggest action points for how to do this more effectively.

  • Editorial Positioning

How you approach and present your content, your distinct tone of voice and your editorial persona shapes your brand identity - and should be a product of your value proposition and messaging frameworks. A content audit can assess whether you’re living up to your aspirations and earning approbation for what you say.

  • Competitive Intelligence

How have your competitors reacted to the latest shifts in consumer behaviour? Have they adopted new thematic approaches, editorial positioning or content distribution channels? Has their advertising and promotion increased or decreased, and where? Keeping an eye on your competitors’ tactics provides valuable insights on how to position future campaigns for maximum impact.

  • Marketing Mix:

Your marketing mix consists of the tools, tactics, and actions you need to successfully implement your marketing strategy. Among other things, the marketing mix involves a careful review of your overarching content strategy, including frequency and format, but also distribution tactics (based on a careful understanding of your audience’s media consumption habits and preferences) and advertising and promotion. Have decisions on these factors in past campaigns paid off, and where should they be tweaked?

Outcomes

Audit outcomes can vary based on a business’s objectives, audit scope, and available resources, but at a minimum you should be able to walk away with:

  • Tactics to maximise marketing ROI: Through assessing content performance and any of a range of KPIs, your audit will equip you with the essential data points to shape and optimise future content marketing for greater results;
  • Customer Insights: You should gain an updated view of how your customers’ habits have changed and how you can continue to reach them effectively, which should underpin all future campaigns;
  • Competitor Insights: Finally, you should gain a clear picture of how your industry and competitors have adapted to changing circumstances, which can inform decisions on how you can reposition your editorial identity to show unique insight and drive sales conversions.


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