If you’re looking for an introduction to content auditing, look no further. Content auditing is one of the central activities of content strategy, but research shows there are as many approaches to content auditing as there are experts who champion those approaches. How do you know which one to use? Based on dozens of content audits I’ve conducted through my consulting agency, in my recent presentation for the Society for Technical Communication’s 2019 Technical Communication Summit and Expo, I provide a no-nonsense approach to content auditing that organizations of any size can use to improve their content.
What Are Content Auditing Best Practices in Technical Communication?
Content auditing best practices in technical communication can be organized under 3 broad categories:
- SEO: Modern day content creators should be concerned with how search engines index their content. Whether you’re producing highly-technical content or marketing copy, if your content is going to be published online, it should be optimized for search engines.
- Assessment: The biggest thing that distinguishes effective content auditing from ineffective content auditing is the rubric you use to assess your content. The criteria you choose needs to be a clear extension of organizational goals.
- Content Management: Finally, managing all this content across channels, including ensuring it stays relevant and authoritative, requires equally sophisticated techniques and the tactical use of technologies like content management systems and analytics tools.
Why Content Auditing Best Practices Matter for Technical Communicators
If the field of technical communication is to continue to grow, it must grapple with the complex needs of modern audiences of technical content. Some of the most complex topics that are published online have the best chance of being found by educated audiences who know exactly what they’re looking for. At the same time, after-purchase support and documentation still ranks as one of the highest factors in customer retention. But if your technical content isn’t searchable, findable, useful, and usable, then it won’t meet audience needs. This means that technical content creators of all stripes have a real opportunity to add value to their organizations through effective content auditing.
Content Strategy in Technical Communication: Our Forthcoming Book From the ATTW Book Series!
I’ll be showcasing these ideas and more in my forthcoming book from Routledge. Stay tuned for more updates!