Why you need to do a content audit ASAP

December is my favorite month. The holidays are on the horizon, we’re wrapping up website-audit-icon1many of our projects and everyone at work is feeling a little merrier. It’s a great time to set the tone for the new year. If you’re a content marketer, it’s also the perfect time to do a content audit, so you can start fresh in 2017 and work towards your objectives.

Here’s why you should begin your content audit today:

Take stock of what you have, what worked, what didn’t. There’s a whole lot of content on your site. Organizing it in a spreadsheet allows you to examine the subjects you have covered and evaluate each piece of content using various metrics. This can give you insights into what performed well and resonated with your audience, as well as which posts can be archived, scrapped or edited.

Assess content relevance. Go through your organization’s Web pages to see which ones are pertinent for each of your stakeholder groups. The photos of this year’s volunteer appreciation breakfast may be of interest to employees, but they are likely not useful to all your prospects. Think of moving this type of content to internal-facing pages or creating a company social media page, in favor of posting audience-relevant content on your company Website.

Better organize your site. Use taxonomies to classify your content and determine which pages to keep, which to modify and which to discard altogether. Taxonomies can also help you to create relevant links across your site.

Get rid of useless files that take up server space. Some of the content you produced may not have performed well or it may no longer be useful. A content audit can help you identify these pieces and delete them in order to free up space on your organization’s servers.

Re-purpose quality content. Be sure to keep pieces that performed extremely well and that could be re-purposed. Perhaps you have an article that could be turned into an FAQ, a social media post or even a video. Content that resonates well with your audience can be flagged and used as a foundation for other stories.

Use results to guide your content strategy.  Once you’ve inventoried all your content and completed your audit, the outcomes will allow you to produce a more complete content strategy. Start with a clean slate and set your objectives based on what you have learned.

Begin 2017 on the right foot. Think of your content audit as a closet cleanse. Get rid of old, outdated items, rediscover classics that you can accessorize differently, make room for new boxing-day purchases and completely re-think your style strategy.

6 Questions to help your clients think more strategically

We’ve all been subject to last-minute, one-off asks that don’t link back to specific 6e000ec02c7c93eef58146bcb1c63682.jpgobjectives and an overarching strategy. Clients get anxious that they are not meeting a target and decide that ‘something needs to go out’. Maybe they’re right; but whether that something is a news release, video, social media post or other tactic, it should definitely fit into the bigger picture. That’s where you come in.

Here are a few questions to spark strategic thinking:

(1) What are your objectives?

This may seem very basic, but it’s the most important thing. Ask your client what they are trying to achieve with this particular communication. Maybe they need a spike in sales before a particular deadline, or to sell out an event. Whatever the purpose, make sure it links back to your overall objectives.

(2) Why now?

Two weeks ago, after the ‘Brangelina’ breakup made headlines, Norwegian airlines came out with an ad that read ‘Brad is Single’, suggesting that customers hop on a flight to L.A to pursue Brad Pitt. Though some found the ad to be opportunistic and insensitive, others thought it was brilliant and funny. One thing is for sure – it was timely, and therefore got a lot of attention.

(3) How does it fit into the bigger picture?

This question stems from your objectives. If your client wants to send yet another email to all his/her prospects, you have to ask, how does this fit into the overall strategy? Will it lead to desired results, or will it just annoy people?

 (4) What is the key message and what does it say about your organization?

Whatever the tactic, your key message should integrate well with your brand’s identity. Every decision you make builds your customers’ perceptions, so if even you’re making one that’s not planned, its message should appear intentional and seamless.

(5) Is this the best way to achieve the desired result?

Make sure you consider all the alternatives. Will this move have the most impact? What are the costs and benefits?  If you and your client have asked all the questions and believe you need to take a leap, then you should. Now more than ever, quick thinking and off the cuff strategies are part of the communications game.

(6) How will you measure it?

Make sure your efforts are measurable and insist on evaluating the impact to see if it was worthwhile, how it could be improved and what could be done differently next time around.

One-offs happen and can sometimes be effective and crucial. However, a string of them can turn into decisions that don’t necessarily fit together or enhance your brand. Asking the right questions can help your client think strategically and make decisions that will work for them now and in the long run.

Here we go! Return to writing post-baby

Here I am again – behind my computer, staring at a blank document, a million thoughts flowing through my mind. It seems like I was in the same spot just yesterday, and yet, more than a year has passed since I pressed pause on my work in communications to take on a great new challenge – motherhood.

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My blank canvas…

The past 12 months have been a whirlwind. The laughs, the cries, the joys and the frustrations – it has been the most fulfilling and surprising time of my life.

Honestly, I never thought it would take me this long to get back here. As the passionate workaholic, schedule-obsessed person that I am, I had pictured myself on maternity leave enjoying time with baby while blogging frequently, keeping up with the latest trends in marketing and PR. I would finally have the time to enjoy some of the books and magazines that I had downloaded on my iPad but never got to reading. I would return to my early morning running routine within the first few months and start racing shortly thereafter…

Boy was I delusional!

My friends with kids used to tell me that things would change when I had a baby, but I never quite understood how much. Plus, I always thought that somehow I was the exception to the rule and that with my super juggling skills, I would be different. As I type out these thoughts, I realize how incredibly overconfident they were. The first months of motherhood were insane, and I had zero time to focus on anything but my baby girl.

And though things got easier and I definitely could have sat here before now, I chose not to. For the first time in my life, I chose to put the work and schedules on the back burner and let myself ‘unplug’ and get carried away by the amazing tiny person my husband and I had created. Days have been filled with feedings, diaper changes, play dates, Monkey Rock, picnics, walks, story time, swimming, etc. Down time consists of reading baby blogs, making homemade purées, assembling photo albums, consignment shopping and painting – things I never thought I would take such pleasure in.

This doesn’t mean I’m a changed person. Quite the opposite – I still think about work, writing and running, and I’m still a planning junkie. I do miss my career and I make plans for what’s next, but I have learnt to not let it consume me. I start every day with a million to-dos and I end it satisfied with the ones I have accomplished – something that was a foreign concept to me pre-baby.

So today I begin a new chapter: one where I slowly immerse myself back into writing, while continuing to live my awesome new #momlife.

I’ll still be blogging primarily about trends in communications, but I’m also going to include some reflections on finding a balance between motherhood and career – a topic that increasingly fascinates me as I begin my journey juggling both.

Here we go!