cft

Content Audit: when and why do you need it?

The Right Time?


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Khawar Latif Khan

3 years ago | 3 min read

Whether it is an educational website, a personal blog, or even a literary magazine, your content needs review and examination at all times. It is not because the information you have already shared is wrong — although it can be the case sometimes — rather revision, editing, and improvements are necessary in a world driven by content.

Before you get to the job of making the content better, you need to conduct a comprehensive audit of all the stuff that you’ve got.

Content Audit is a complete analysis, more of a postmortem, of all the words you’ve written, all the information you’ve published, and all the knowledge you’ve shared with your audience. An audit is not merely a log of your content where you create categories and make a note of all the things your knowledge network consists of.

This practice, instead, compels you to ask difficult questions and to look at your content as you’d never done before.

The Right Time?

When it comes to content audit, the right-time questions are frequently asked. Is there a right time for a content audit? How often must an audit be conducted? How do you know that I need to review my content?

A carefully conducted audit will not only improve the quality of your content itself but also ensure that the needs of the audience are met in the best manner.

These questions do not have an objective answer. There is never and always a good time for an audit. Your content needs constant revision at all times.

But then, factors like time and cost are always there to stop you from starting this tedious task. It won’t, therefore, be right to say that you should conduct a content audit twice a year or once every week because it is up to you to make that decision.

There are, however, certain indicators making a case for content audit at a particular instant. It is, based on the pressing nature of your needs, that you decide to conduct an audit. Some such reasons include:

  • Your content is not performing as per your expectations.
  • Your intended audience is not interacting with your content, at least not in the way you want them to.
  • Your content is outdated and thus needs to be updated.
  • You want to review the performance of your content and point the issues out.
  • You are getting a number of complaints and bad reviews.
  • You want to improve your documentation.
  • Your knowledge network is too messy where people are getting lost instead of finding solutions to their problems.

What do You Need?

If the weight of the above-mentioned needs is enough to convince you for an audit, then you must make sure that you have all the resources required to initiate the process.

There are certain factors that can stop, or postpone, your audit. It is, therefore, important to ask the following questions before reaching a conclusion.

  • Do you have a professional with appropriate skills to conduct the audit?
  • Can you detach yourself from your content and look at it objectively?
  • Will you be flexible enough to listen to, and accept, the recommendations of the professional conducting the audit?
  • Do you know and understand the needs of your audience?
  • Are you willing to dedicate some time (weeks, maybe months) to the practice of content audit?
  • Do you have enough resources (time, money, tools, and personnel) to take this leap?

If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, then you can confidently put your content up for an audit, which will indeed improve your knowledge network.

Detach yourself from the content and be flexible when looking at the recommendations.

Best Practices

To summarize, some of the best practices for an effective content audit include:

  • Hire a professional for the task. You may not find a ‘Content Auditor’ in most cases. However, Technical Communicators, Communications Specialists, Information Architects, and Content Strategists, among others, can easily fit the job description.
  • Communicate the goals and objectives of the audit so that the person (or team) working on the task knows what to look for and how to address those needs.
  • Detach yourself from the content. Yes, you have spent a lot of time and effort on it but in order to make this effort more fruitful, you need to have an objective view with no feelings whatsoever.
  • Be flexible when looking at the results and recommendations. You should be ready to accept the changes, after careful analysis, of course.
  • Make sure that you are absolutely ready for the task and that you have all the resources you need.

A carefully conducted audit will not only improve the quality of your content itself but also ensure that the needs of the audience are met in the best manner.

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Khawar Latif Khan

An engineer turned communications specialist with a passion to create helpful and understandable content.


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