PPC and Content Marketing: The 4-Step Content Audit

In an earlier post, I talked about content marketing and its rise to popularity. PPC can be a highly effective way to amplify your content marketing efforts. But first, you need to identify what content is available. Here are 4 steps to a successful content audit.

Step 1: Identify your content marketing goals

Long-time readers of this blog know that I always start with goals. If you don’t know what you want to do, how will you go about doing it? And “performing a content audit” isn’t a goal. Neither is “get started with content marketing.” Those are both tactics used to achieve a strategy, not the strategy itself.

The most common goals for content marketing are lead generation and awareness creation. Do you have a new product that needs awareness? Trying to establish thought leadership in your field? Need to drive your lead generation machine? Identifying your primary goal for content marketing drives the entire process, from what content you’ll use to the channels you’ll use to distribute content.

Step 2: Create a list of all available content.

It’s always easier to repurpose existing content than it is to create it from scratch. Create a list of all online assets, including white papers, press releases, online demos, articles on other platforms, and even photos and videos. Every piece of content your organization has created is fair game.

If possible, also look at how the content has performed, and the audience it has reached. This will help you determine what PPC channel to use, and how to craft ad copy and PPC audiences. Also, why not put your best foot forward and launch with the best content?

Step 3: Note whether the content is evergreen or time-sensitive.

Some content, such as overview videos, product brochures, and how-to blog posts never get old. This is content you can promote again and again. Other content is time-sensitive: promotions, licenses, and other factors can affect how long your content can stay in market. Note these limitations in your content list. Nothing is worse than paying to send traffic to your site to read an outdated brochure or view a promotion that’s expired.

Step 4: Include the format in your content list.

Content format is more important than you may think, for a couple of reasons. The first is obvious: it determines where the content can be advertised in PPC. If you want to use Google for keyword search, you won’t be able to use a video as your ad (although of course you can drive traffic from text ads to a landing page that includes your video).

Maybe more importantly, noting the content type will help you learn which types of content perform best on each channel. For instance, you may determine that videos perform best in Facebook promoted posts, but white papers perform best in Google Adwords.  Performance by content type is a key measurement for PPC and content marketing.

By following these 4 steps, your content audit is now a marketing tool that use can use to craft your content marketing campaigns.

What about you? What techniques have you used for a content audit? Share in the comments!

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PPC and Content Marketing – Thought Starters

Back in December I ran a reader poll to see what my beloved readers want to hear about in 2014. While several topics got a lot of votes, the top vote-getter was PPC and Content Marketing.

Content marketing seems to be the shiny object for 2014. Everyone is trying to figure out how to create content and share it with the world. Content is being shared in a myriad of ways that didn’t exist even a year ago. Witness the rise of visual platforms like Vine, Pinterest, and Snapchat and you’ll see what I mean.

So how does PPC fit into the mix?

It’s not as simple as, say, PPC for ecommerce. In that case, you start bidding on keywords and sending visitors to product pages. Audiences may not even matter, if people are buying.

But PPC for content marketing is less clear-cut.

I’ll explore this in depth in future posts. And I want your opinions too – what have you tried? Here are a few thought starters that I consider.

  • Content audit. What content is available?
  • Audience research. Like keyword research in search, audience research is crucial.
  • Timing. In ecommerce or other traditional PPC, timing may not even matter. People might buy your product year-round. But content burns out fast.
  • Channels. Content can be promoted in many places besides Google. Google may not even be the best place for promotion.
  • Buyer journey. Is this content best suited to awareness, demand generation, or something else?
  • Integration. Who else is promoting this content? PR, media, sales, etc.?

Those are just a few considerations for a successful PPC content marketing campaign. We’ll explore them all in depth.

What do you consider when embarking on a content marketing play? Share in the comments!

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