17+ Checklist for Content Marketing Audit & Ideas

This is a content marketing (audit) checklist to go over and ensure you're optimising your content marketing strategies & efforts.
by Dan Siepen
Created On
12/14/20
Updated On
02/07/21
This is my checklist guide below which has helped me improve my content & rankings across various projects and startups I have worked with 🙂

Content Research & Strategy

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1. What keywords are you currently ranking for?

Knowing what keywords your currently ranking for helps you reiterate and optimise your content strategy to try and improve your rankings.

Use tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush to conduct an analysis of your current rankings. Then, identify keywords that are low-hanging fruit with low KD %, and work on a content strategy + plan to rank for those keywords.

Then, work on a long-term plan to go after more competitive keywords.

2. How does your existing audience or new audiences in a recent timeframe interact with your content?

I think this is an important consideration to help with key decisions around keyword selection and content. Just because you can aim for a keyword and rank for it, doesn't mean it brings in the right traffic. Rankings for the sake of traffic isn't efficient.

Understanding what keywords you currently rank for and how users engage with that content, then of course what they do after, helps formulate better decisions around what content to prioritise next as part of your content strategy.

3. What are your competitors ranking for? What is their most popular content? Have you done a Gap Analysis?

A really cool analysis I do like doing often is a Keyword Gap Analysis. I use SEMrush to perform this analysis and so pull out some very interesting insights around what my competitors are ranking for.

Doing this analysis helps you understand what gaps + opportunities to create new content and focus on keywords which you can outrank your competitors against overtime.

How to find best & relevant topics

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4. Chat to your internal team and brainstorm. Make sure your sales team, customer service team or anyone who is doing BDM is involved.

I don't think enough startups or larger companies as a matter of fact do this well. Whilst of course you can create content purely for SEO purposes, but what about content that can help drive more conversions, more sales and ultimately close more deals in alignment with the sales team.

Want ideas for content? What are your potential customers asking often? What challenges do they face? What support do they need in conjunction with the problem your solving? That's it - that's plenty of content that could be written to answer common questions. Of course, you can optimise this content for SEO, but I suggest producing this content as a priority before going for super competitive keywords just for the sake of SEO.

5. Use a tool such as SEMRush or Ahrefs to research top content under certain keywords you want to rank for.

Similar to the content gap analysis, using tools such as these two above (or any of the many others on the market) to analyse the top performing content.

Why is content at the #1 position for your desired keyword? What factors does the article contain that helps it get to the #1 position? What can we learn and take inspiration from for developing content? Is it the way it's structured?

6. Browse community forums or relevant, niche communities and see what they're writing about or questions they ask

A great way to identify content ideas is finding topics + discussions talked about in niche communities that is relevant to your product.

Whilst you can't be across all community discussions all the time, consider tools such as mention to help you keep you across + be notified when potential relevant content is being discussed so you can then check it out.

7. Do a backlink analysis of the top content pieces of your competitors and those sites who have articles that rank under your desired keywords

I love doing a backlink analysis on competitors + companies within niches I take interest in and the tool of choice for this is Ahrefs (find to be most accurate and level of detail of insights is awesome).

Doing a backlink analysis helps identify which sites are linking back to the sites you're researching. You can uncover some of the top sites that are linking back and why + what content. This helps identify other sites you could try and get links for.

Additionally, doing this analysis helps identify why your competitions may be doing really well for a high-volume keyword search term. There's a good chance if it's ranking well it has decent links pointing back to it, which you can then find out.

8. Use Buzzsumo to work out the amount of social shares of posts that ranks in the top 1-3 positions under your keyword

Buzzsumo is a cool tool I like using. It's really good to find out the engagement metrics/social shares of content pieces. Buzzsumo indexes over 5 billion articles and can help provide insights into competitive benchmarking and identify top content formats that gets the most engagement from your searches.

Creating Content

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9. Create 10x Epic Content

What does 10x content mean? Quite simply, it means creating content that is 10x better than the rest of the content available for the term you want to rank for. Makes sense right?

So what does 10x content look like? What's required to crate 10x content that gives you the best chance to create something that yields results? You need to take into consideration;

- UX, layout, structure + design - is it visually appealing? Is it easy to navigate around the content
- Engaging - is the content easy to read?
- Trust - is the content credible? Is it backed up with resources, illustrations + data?
- Fast loading - does it load fast?

10. Leverage Design Layouts/UX to display content in various formats (like my content for example)

In relation to the above, if you want to create epic pieces of content you need to present it in a way that's unique to the standard blog post format. UX + layout matter to give readers that "wow" factor.

A couple of amazing website that do content marketing with amazing UX + layouts;

- How to work from home - Toggl (this is actually one of the best I've seen personally).
- Tools for better thinking - Untools
- The A-Z for AI - Google

11. Repurpose content into creating Short and long-form videos for all channels such as Facebook, Instagram & YouTube

It's one thing to create an epic piece of content, but it's another thing to get the most out of it through distribution and repurposing. Video is the best media for engagement and is something I'm working on more with companies I work for or assist with advisory to get into. Video is king and is here to stay.

Choose a large content piece you have written, choose snippets out of it, put into a word doc as a simple script and send off to your video editor. See what they come back with. Then share across YouTube, Instagram + YouTube.

12. Create infographics, eBooks, PDF's and other forms of content

All the above are great ideas for creating engaging content that can be shared, increase engagement and ultimately new visitors.

As an example for repurposing, take your top 10 blog posts on "Topic X", then put into a nicely designed PDF or create an eBook cover with some design assistance. In a matter of no time, you've created an eBook of high-quality content that you have produced. Then use as a lead magnet or even sell as an info product.

13. User-generated content - consider building your own community forum

One of the best forms of content is UGC. However, how can you generate UGC around your brand or even on your website? Consider building a community forum or "Q&A Style" website that's an extension of your product offering. Encourage both new and existing users to submit questions or share relevant links to the forum that can spark conversations/discussions. Over time this can lead to some solid SEO juice.

Optimise your Content

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14. Do a technical Audit - H1 Tags, Headings, etc

Creating content is great but if it's not SEO optimised or if your website structure is hard to read, your rankings will be effected. Performing a technical audit of your content will help you identify opportunities to optimise your content + help ensure you keep doing these optimisations moving forward. I also wrote a checklist on On Page SEO which goes into detail with resources on what you can optimise on your site and content :)

15. CRO Checklist - Get the most out of your content with pop-ups, PDF downloads, newsletter capture, etc

How can you further leverage your content? How can you repurpose content to drive more desired goals and actions (i.e. emails)? It's one thing to create content and generate traffic, but it's another thing to turn that traffic into revenue.

Check out this amazing resource below by Moz on turning your content + site into a CRO powerhouse.

Extra Reading or Resources:

Huge CRO Checklist by the team at Moz
16. Use Content Audit Tools to work out ways to ensure you include target keywords within your content

Conducting a content audit can help you work out gaps + opportunities for optimising your content and improve your rankings. There's quite a few tools on the market that can help you do this process fairly quickly + also keep track as you produce more content. I do this regularly and it certainly is worth investing the time + tools.

17. Update old content to ensure it's optimised. Continuously update from time-to-time.

Keeping your content fresh and up to date helps build trust with visiting audiences + helps your DA overall. When you also update content regularly, there's a good chance it will help generate more backlinks due to the fact it's relevant when other content marketers come across your content. Read more below on why updating content is important + ways to update content :)

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