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B2B Content Development: Auditing Your Existing Content
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Last week, we discussed the steps required to establish a content development strategy for your web properties.  The first step of the planning is really evaluating your existing content and determining how effective your content is in terms of speaking to your desired audience.  Content really does form the foundation of your website.  Failure to provide informative and useful content may mean that site visitors leave never to return again.  Even worse they leave to go to a competitor's site.   Hence the reason for on-going peer review or audits of your site's content.

Content Mapping

So where should you begin as you audit your website's content?  Well the first thing you need to do is take inventory of the content on your site.  Break it down into silos or categories if needed so that you can determine the most engaging areas of your site vs. other areas that may require improvements.  For B2B sites, this might mean segmenting your content audit into areas such as:
  • product/services
  • tech specs
  • white papers
  • testimonials
  • user reviews
  • video / rich media
Basically, you need to take inventory of all of the content that you have and evaluate how well your visitors are engaging with it.  Map your content out to determine how many areas you actually feature on your website.  Do these areas feature enough content with regards to the topic area?  Should you be continuing to add content to these areas?  Is this content unique and differentiated from that of your competition?  Most importantly you need to determine if your messaging is speaking the language of your targeted audience.

Speaking the Language of Your Audience

From my experience, I have worked with many B2B clients who have very niche service/product offerings and part of the problem is that they do not understand the proper messaging that they should be serving up to their audience.  As a result they use all of this industry mumbo-jumbo that more often than not involves messaging that their desired audience is not in fact using.  They fail to effectively reach their audience and have an increased risk of being part of the consideration set.  Enquiro's BuyerSphere project, talks more about this risk at great length as the project examines how businesses buy from businesses.  The point is, that failing to use the language of your target audience can be the difference as to why visitors stay on your site, why they come back to your site and whether or not they end up converting based on their site experience.

Timing of Content Population

As part of your content audit, you will also want to evaluate the age of your content.  How much legacy content do you have that may possibly be a little dated?  How often is fresh new content being added to your site?  Is your content optimized well enough so that it is featured within the search results of major search engines? 

If you have a lot of old content, you might want to consider updating the content?  Is your FAQ section the same as it was five years ago?  Have you updated product descriptions or testimonials?  Your content audit should determine whether or not you need add or update content more frequently.  From an SEO point of view, with real-time search, you will want to ensure that your content features a nice balance of archived, relevant content as well as fresh and timely new content that becomes indexed by the search engines.

The fact of the matter is, you should be reviewing your content as part of a regular content process.  Perhaps this means every six months or annually.  For other sites that are more dynamic, this might be even more frequent or prior to every major site update or redesign.  Think about how often your online content is reviewed and/or changed.  For e-commerce sites this is almost weekly with items such flyers, coupons, mail outs, inserts and in-store promos.  Why should your online content be any different.  There is a shift to digital, yet there is still some merit with some of the old practices that marketers use.

Establishing a content development strategy is key to online success.  Your content, whether it is your website content, Facebook updates or your Twitter posts is how you engage with your audience.  How you populate this content, when you populate this content and where this content is found is not only up to you, but up to your audience and potential customers as well.  As the first step of developing an effective content strategy, auditing your content will help ensure that you are providing the right information/content at the right time to hopefully the right audience. 

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, March 07, 2010  
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