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Content Process

All I want for Christmas is a purposeful audit

Robert Mills • 2 minutes

Is your content audit purposeful?

Do you know what you’re trying to achieve? It’s day fourteen of our Content Strategy Advent Calendar and Lisa Maria Martin is joined by a four legged friend to impart some content audit wisdom.

🎁 All I want for Christmas is a purposeful audit, from @redsesame

Video transcript

Hi. Happy holidays, strategists. My name is Lisa Maria and I’m an independent content and IA consultant and this is my dog Nomad, and we’re here to talk to you about content audits. I really just wanted to put my dog in this video, he can’t actually help us with content audits. You can’t even read. No you can’t. Yikes.

What I really wanted for Christmas is to be covered in dog hair. That’s my look.

So traditionally we talk about audits as like they’re qualitative or quantitative. How good is the content? How much is the content? But all audits have a mix of qualitative and quantitative factors right. So your audit shouldn’t be defined by whether it’s one or the other, it should be defined by purpose. What you’re trying to learn from the audit. We need to be as specific as possible in what we want to learn. Not just what content do we have on the site, but what about that content, what are we trying to uncover through the audit process.

“All audits have a mix of qualitative and quantitative factors right. So your audit shouldn’t be defined by whether it’s one or the other, it should be defined by purpose.”

If you’re stumped it helps to look beyond the audit to the project goals or next steps. You just meowed on video dude. Everyone thinks you’re a dog. You’re a dog.

If you’re stumped it helps to look beyond the audit to the project goals or your next steps. To build a new sitemap you need to audit the site structure and navigation. To create new editorial guidelines, you need to audit for style, brand voice, tonality, readability, accessibility. To build new interactions or user flows you need to audit for content presentation and design patterns. If you’re overhauling your workflow you want to look out for publishing roles, responsibilities. If you’re moving to a new CMS, you need to audit for content types, components, relationships.

“More clarity upfront means better insights later.”

Being crystal clear about your audit’s purpose is going to help you determine not only what kind of audit you’re doing, but how you’ll structure that audit and the kind of data you’re going to collect. More clarity upfront means better insights later.

So 2018, I hope we can all make ‘purpose’ a watch word in everything we do, especially those tests we might brush off as routine, or basic, or boring, like content audits.

Ok but for real, I really love content audits.

Happy holidays. He hates this so much. You a good boy.

About Lisa Maria

Lisa Maria Martin is an independent consultant based in Boston, MA. She practices content-driven information architecture, helping organizations to understand, plan, and structure their web content for better user experiences. Lisa Maria is also a lead editor with A Book Apart, as well as a speaker and workshop facilitator. Follow her on Twitter @redsesame, or learn more about her work at thefutureislikepie.com.

🎁 All I want for Christmas is a purposeful audit, from @redsesame

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Robert Mills

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