Your content is a business asset. You invested in planning it, creating it, storing it, and building it onto your website. Like any business asset, it has value—until it doesn’t. What causes content to lose value? Currency, relevance, fit with the audience, ability to generate business value.
How do you stay on top of your content? Imagine that you are managing the inventory in a retail store. You have purchased that inventory, put it out on the shelves, perhaps built special displays to highlight some of it. But then what? Do you just leave it as-is? No, you continually take stock—inventory—that merchandise. You keep track of what you have, how much of it you have, how well it’s selling. You change up the special displays periodically. You evaluate your foot traffic and the placement of the items so you can determine whether they would sell better in a different location. You look at what’s selling well and invest in more of it. And then, after all this ongoing evaluation, you decide what you no longer need—it’s past it’s expiration date or it isn’t interesting to your customer base.
The same process can be applied to your content. You can manage your inventory and ensure that you have the most current, relevant content readily available to your preferred audiences. You can see what isn’t resonating any more and decide whether it’s because it’s obsolete, of poor quality, or misplaced.
It all begins with the content inventory. Using CAT, periodically inventory your content. Incorporate your Google Analytics data (or post-add other data) so you can use that to help determine the high and low points. Compare results over time and use your inventory as the foundation of a qualitative audit. The inventory, particularly with analytics incorporated, helps you identify patterns in your content structure, find issues such as missing or duplicated titles and metadata, and zero in on the content you need to take a closer look at.
The rolling inventory and audit can be done at whatever frequency makes sense for your business—if your content changes frequently, you will want to do it more frequently. But at minimum, looking at all your content at least yearly is a critical part of maximizing your investment in that asset. Your site will be cleaner, more focused, and will better serve your audience if your content inventory has been managed for currency, quality, and relevance.
Paula Land is co-founder and CEO of Content Insight and author of Content Audits and Inventories: A Handbook.