AUDITING & BRAINSTORMING
CHAPTER 3 | AUDITING & BRAINSTORMING
In chapter 1 we explored how to get to know your audience, in chapter 2 we looked into getting to know your brand
AUDITING YOUR CONTENT
2. MAKE A SPREADSHEET
You now need to conduct a thorough, detailed audit, so fire up Excel, Open Office or
your Google Sheet and get organised. You’ll need to create several category columns
for each piece of content including:
A unique page number or ID (to help you keep track of pages should you need to
reorganise or restructure)
Your page’s place in your website’s navigation or hierarchy
Type of content (i.e. blog, white paper, how to guide)
Target persona (if personas have been implemented previously)
Which part of the conversion funnel your content targets. For instance, is it
directed at an audience who are ready to buy or is it targeted at people who are
still exploring their options?
Date of latest update to the conten
Tone of voice
Calls to action
How this fits your brand identity
Your plan – What will you be doing with this piece of content going forward?
3. IMPORT PAGE LIST INTO SPREADSHEET
Now your spreadsheet is nice, neat and all set up, import the page list you’ve
generated. Or just copy & paste!
4. GET ORGANIZED
Now get your pages arranged properly, according to where they’re located within
your website architecture. This isn’t always a quick and easy task, especially if your
URLs don’t conform to standard rules. One simple trick you can try is to highlight
the URL column and sort it alphabetically. Make sure you choose to “Expand your
selection” if prompted to ensure that all data travels with it’s URL when it’s reordered.
5. ASSIGN PAGE NUMBERS AND NAVIGATION LOCATIONS
Make sure all of your organisation and admin doesn’t go to waste by assigning every
page an individual page number and identifying its place within your site’s current
navigation. One useful trick is to number each page according to its navigational
location. For instance, pages within your blog section should start with one, and
pages within blog subsections should start 1.2.X.
1.1 How tos
1.1.1. How to make a cake
1.1.2. How to fold paper cranes
1.1.3. How to number your pages
1.2. Company news
6. START YOUR AUDIT
Now everything’s looking shipshape, you can get stuck into your audit properly.
Work through the sections outlined above in your shiny new spreadsheet. Once each
section is ticked off, your site inventory is complete.
With your inventory complete, it’s time to take a closer look at where your content is
going right and where it’s not doing quite so well. Your audit should be able to show
you pages where you’re meeting your audience’s needs and interests head on, and
where you have gaps...
Take a look at the personas and at the stages in the content funnel your content
targets. Are any of them under-represented?
Is your content all much of a muchness? Do you need more creativity and
Is your tone of voice inconsistent? Is your brand represented differently in different content on the same site?
These are all issues your new strategy will need to address.
BRAINSTORMING FRESH CONTENT
of your existing content which need to change, you can start to fill in the gaps. Knowing
where you’re going “wrong” is extremely helpful when you’re brainstorming a fresh
approach to content.
To get your brain buzzing and to help you explore your big ideas, we’ve popped together a
bundle of key content types that could help you to solidify a new approach or even spark
a brand new content series on your website. These are just ideas, so do not use them as
gospel. Instead, let your creativity flourish and use these content types as inspiration and
“jumping off points”.
1 Using your audience research to explore which words people associate with your
brand. What are their antonyms? How do all of these words pertain to what you
2. Imagine your brand as a person. What would they look like? What would they do?
What would their guilty pleasures be? What stories would they tell?
Which questions are your sales reps and customer service team asked most often by customers? These are likely to be the most common questions your audience want answers to.
Which area causes the most confusion in your sector?
Think of the greatest explanation you’ve ever seen or heard. What made it work so well? How can you apply those lessons to your guides?
How could you explain key elements of your service or product using only images or video?
Which are the most contentious areas in your industry? Which topics are considered “taboo”?
What new developments are just around the corner?
What are the widely held beliefs and “general truths” which underpin your industry? What would happen if you took the opposite stance?
BRAINSTORM BEST PRACTISE
much fun. But there are a few best practice pointers you can use to make sure every
idea gets heard and you come out of your session with some brilliant new approaches
to your content...
GIVE IT TIME. There’s no point rushing creativity. Give yourself and your team a
good hunk of time to come up with ideas and bounce them around.
WE'RE BETTER TOGETHER. So get your whole team involved. Different team
members will have different insights, angles and ideas, they’re all valuable! Too
many cooks, however, can spoil the broth and make it difficult for less forthcoming
colleagues to speak up. Brainstorm with a maximum of 4 people at a time – and ask
everyone to have a 10 minute individual brainstorm before they come to your session.
GO NUTS. A few ideas are good, a huge pile is fantastic. Go wild and think of as
many ideas as you can.
TRY METHOD ACTING. Get into the mindset of your target demographics and
personas. Hang out in their favourite spots, have a go at their favourite activities, pop
into customer service for some first hand experience.
DON'T FORGET YOUR NOTEBOOK. You never know when inspiration is going to
strike. Make sure you’re ready to capture it when it does.
USE A CONTENT MATRIX to identify content which will help you target all sorts of
customers at different points in their buying journeys. Very broadly, you can divide
content into four types:
1. CONTENT WHICH ENTERTAINS
2. CONTENT WHICH INFORMS
3. CONTENT WHICH PERSUADES
4. CONTENT WHICH CONVERTS
CREATING PERSONAL FUNNEL CHARTS
To get started, break each of your personas down into the four main conversion funnel stages:
1. THE DISCOVERY STAGE
2. THE TRIGGER STAGE
3. THE SEARCH STAGE
4. THE BUYING STAGE
What are the biggest problems and worries this persona is confronting at this stage?
What questions are they likely to have at this point?
Which content types could you use to answer these questions? What topics will you need to cover?
Can you come up with any examples of content titles which will do this job?
BUILDING YOUR EDITORIAL CALENDAR
WHAT SORTS OF CONTENT YOU ALREADY HAVE
WHAT SORT OF CONTENT YOU DO NOT YET HAVE
WHAT DIRECTION YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR YOUR CONTENT IN THE FUTURE
Ensure your PR, content, social and marketing teams are all on the same page and
well-coordinated. There’s no point rushing creativity. If a really cracking piece of content has PR potential, everyone knows when it’s happening and can coordinate their efforts.
Help you monitor and track successes and failures. Over the long term it will help
you identify what works well, which writers are best suited to what content and much
Bring a little more variety into your content strategy. At one glance you can see how
diverse your schedule is and update it accordingly. Once something’s in the calendar
and responsibility has been allotted, you can then make sure it happens.
WHAT GOES INTO AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR?
THE DUE DATE
THE ASSIGNED WRITER
THE ASSIGNED EDITOR
THE NAME OF THE POST
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE POST
THE CONTENT TYPE (blog, guide, white paper, infographic, listicle)
THE PUBLISHING LOCATION (internal blog, guest blog, Vine, Linked In)
THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE POST
THE REQUIRED TAGS AND CATEGORY FOR THE POST
THE CALL TO ACTION (crafted to hit the right persona and conversion funnel segment)
ADDITIONAL KEY NOTES
METRICS AND GOALS (400 tweets, 50 downloads, 15 sign ups etc.)
BONUS INDUSTRY TIPS!
Content requirements vary widely, which means that a diverse and flexible
writing team can be a big advantage. A core in house content team will
help you to ensure quality, while trusted external freelance writers can
help on a flexible basis when you need additional quantity
When you’re creating large volumes of content each week, maintaining a
healthy balance is essential, but tricky.
While coming up with entertaining content which captures visitors at the
discovery stage of their buying journey may be easy enough, dreaming
up equal amounts of content which ticks all of your other persona and
conversion funnel boxes is no mean feat. Use your editorial calendar to
give you an overview and to help you build a healthy balance and tick all
of the right boxes.
Build your editorial straight into your CMS with tools like Wordpress
Editorial Calendar and Edit Flow. If you’re not using a Wordpress blog
consider tools like:
Google Calendar – Try a user-generated Google doc to help you turn
your calendar into a pretty impressive editorial calendar
Excel, Google Sheets, Open Office etc. - You can always do things
the old-fashioned way. If you want your calendar collaborative, go
the Google Sheets route. If you’d rather stick to the basics, why not
download an Excel template you can fire up right away?
Trello – If you like a really customisable, visual and shareable way to do
your editorial calendar your own way, Trello is a good shout.
Kapost – Designed with exactly this sort of task in mind, Kapost goes
in all guns blazing, it even has space for sharing, storing and discussing
new content ideas – plus an analytics section for measuring content
performance. Be warned though, it’s the only tool we’ve mentioned
which isn’t free