The best way to evaluate the content you have and the content you need to develop is to conduct a content audit. A content audit determines the content you already have and the content you need to create based on your buyer personas and where they are in the buyer's journey. You need content for every persona at each stage of this process so you can communicate with them in a more personalized way. Here are the steps to conduct a successful content audit:
1. Gather All Existing Content Pieces
This is probably the most time-consuming part of the process, but it is also the most necessary. Connect with your marketing team, sales team, and senior leadership to gather all possible content pieces. This could include eBooks, whitepapers, sales sheets, collateral, videos, infographics, and more. You will be surprised at how much content you already have that can be repurposed for lead generation.
2. Create Your Content Inventory Spreadsheet
By organizing your content in a document such as a spreadsheet, you can start to inventory and categorize your content to visually see what you have and what you may be missing. Important things to consider in the content audit document are Content Title, Journey Stage, Content Type or Format, Buyer Persona, and Topic Area. The helpful example below from HubSpot shows how you can set up this spreadsheet. A content inventory spreadsheet is a critical starting point to building a comprehensive content strategy without creating unnecessary content that may already exist.
3. Map Your Content Offers to the Buyer's Journey
To successfully map your content offers, it's essential to understand what stage of the buyer's journey your prospects are currently in at that time. It is necessary to accurately understand your prospects' journey in their decision-making process. Consider their goals, where they find information, and how they consume content. This all goes back to aligning your personas and the decision-making process outlined earlier. Based on the prospect's journey, here are examples of content offers that align with the decision-making journey (courtesy of HubSpot). Please note that these examples more closely resonate with B2B companies.
When determining the lead generation strategy for a professional services firm, we needed to understand their audience and the content that would resonate with their prospects. They needed to provide enough information and value to generate interest without providing too much proprietary information that gives away the firm's entire services component. When discussing the professional services firm's buyer personas, we identified that content types such as eBooks, case studies, and checklists were most interesting to their target audience. We audited their existing content. This determined the content that could be repurposed as downloadable or lead generation and the content that needed to be created including:
- eBook: A Multifunctional Approach to Accelerate the Complex Selling Process
- Case Study: Change Management
- Checklist: Learning & Development Success Factors
- eBook: HR as a Business Accelerator
Other examples that work well in other sectors are long-form videos, whitepapers, downloadable presentations, and digital calculators or assessments. It's important to understand that different content types will resonate with different segments, so defining your buyer personas is essential for this step. Understanding the content needed and assessing what is already available will make the content creation process for your lead generation strategy more manageable. You may be surprised that you already have great content that can be repurposed into downloadable lead generation content.
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