Content marketing is all the rage, but where do you start? You know you want the increased web traffic, audience relationships, better leads, and authoritative thought leadership that content marketing provides, but starting from the ground up seems like a wheelbarrow of work that you don’t have time for.

But if you’re wondering how to start content marketing, there’s good news: you already do content marketing.

If you have a company blog, have ever contributed to a publication, have sales collateral, or even just have copy up on your website, you have some kind of content that can be built on, adapted, repurposed, and reused.

In the life sciences, especially after mergers or acquisitions, old case studies and white papers can fall forgotten by the side of the road. But a lot of this content still has value if you use it correctly.

Still, how do you learn content marketing best practices? When do you reuse or scrap content? How can you create an effective content marketing program—without annihilating your budget?

A content audit is a beneficial first step for many companies.

Beginning with a Content Audit
A content marketing audit is a comprehensive breakdown of all your existing content. It tells you exactly what you have and what you need, and is the foundation of an effective content marketing program.

Here are seven signs you need a content audit.

How to Do a Content Audit
A content audit and inventory is more than a list of URLs and PDFs. Whenever CG Life does a content marketing audit, we break it into four parts.

Part 1: Website Content Inventory
The first step is compiling all of your content into a single spreadsheet. The key to this spreadsheet is that it’s carefully organized and provides detailed information on every piece of content you have.

A typical content inventory will include all owned media, all PR content, sales materials, and website copy separated into different tabs. Each piece of content is assessed with detailed comments about the specific value it provides customers, as well as its stage of the buyer’s journey.

When your inventory is complete, you’ll have a single document that tells you how every piece of content fits into your content marketing strategy.

Part 2: The Heatmap
Detailed comments are great, but with line upon line of information, it’s difficult to figure out what needs to get done first. Bouncing from project to project is a great way to get nothing done, and sometimes you need to get a fast overview of a situation.

To solve that problem, organize your website content inventory into a single, visual representation that shows your most important priorities.

What if you don’t have a social media presence, an email campaign, white papers for the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, or blog posts for the consideration phase? How do you know what to work on first?

Looking at a heatmap, you can determine exactly what kind of content you need to create for each stage of the buyer’s journey, as well as which content is the most important in the short and long term.

Part 3: Search Engine Optimization
Are you getting traffic from search engines? Which keywords are you ranking for, how strong is your competition, and how many links are pointing back to your site?

As you create a content marketing strategy, information about SEO can help you discover the low-hanging fruit of web traffic. If your customers care about the unique benefits of radiometric detection, but no one else is writing about it, you have an opportunity to snap up a portion of the available audience. You may even be able to snag some search traffic from your competitors just by tweaking your website copy and content to include specific keywords.

Website analysis can also make sure you aren’t getting unexpectedly penalized by search engines. You could be losing thousands of visitors a month because your website has problems you don’t know about.

Part 4: The Content Audit Report
A complete content inventory and analysis of your website are great, but not everyone has time to dig through that information for action steps.

A written content audit report tells you exactly the state of your content program as a whole, identifies key strengths and weaknesses, and creates content marketing guidelines for next steps. It is a single document that you can pass through your organization to get a sense of where your content marketing program is at right now.

Advancing Your Content Marketing Strategy
With a firm understanding of the content you already have, you can move forward with developing an overall content strategy. You’ll be able to save budget by repurposing and reusing existing content, and have a better understanding of what content your audience is dying to read.

It’s tempting to jump into developing content write away, but pausing briefly to realize where you are lets you save time, save money, and get results.

If you want to get a better sense of your content marketing program and decide whether or not you need an audit, contact us so one of our content marketing experts can guide you through that step.

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