What is it that a sports coach and her/his team are looking for when they review past game tapes of next week’s opposing team? At first glance, that could seem like an incredible waste of time! The answer is holes. They’re looking for holes—holes in the opponent’s offense, holes in their defense. Where are the gaps, what are the weaknesses, compared to their team’s strengths, that they can take advantage of? What are the drills that the team needs to run in practice to anticipate the opponents’ strategies and plays?
The Communications Mix
Much like that sports team reviewing game tapes, it’s important for us as content marketers to step back and look for holes in our communications mix. Especially since the immediacy of technology, with its trending topics, can easily derail or take us down new paths of exploration. It’s important to balance evergreen content with trends and new developments. That’s exactly what a marketing communications audit allows us to do.
A winning sports team doesn’t come up with a new set of plays mid-season. They evaluate their strengths and successes and make adjustments based on next week’s opponent. Now that you have a baseline of buyer/member personas, don’t feel pressured to create new content. The audit allows you to evaluate your previous efforts, find holes, and identify content that your audience is telling you is relevant to them.
How To Develop a Marketing Communications Audit
Pulling together your data, create a spreadsheet that captures all the content you’ve generated in the last year. This could include blog posts, tweets, bit.ly links, ebooks, videos and webinars. The data you want to capture about your content should include: type of content, topic covered, buyer persona, date created, leads/followers/mentions.
Once you have your spreadsheet, look for patterns in the data. Are you covering topics equally or heavy on some and lighter on others? Have you developed more content for one specific persona and neglected others? Which topics are more popular? Can you tie that topic to one type of content, or does it work well for multiple contexts? How much non-text content are you producing? Is it enough or do you need to focus here more? According to a recent MarketingProfs infographic, folks in the US consume an average of 19 hours of video per week. What about mobile?
The Analysis of Your Marketing Communications Audit
Asking questions and looking for patterns will help you determine your goals for the next year. It will also show you where the gaps are so you can make plans to increase certain types of content, address a better mix of personas and uncover new topics to focus on. Pay particular attention to how you can repurpose content using different mediums or different perspectives.
Next up, strategies for mapping your content to the buying cycle.