With the Patriots win last night, I can’t help but try and squeeze a football metaphor into this post. See? It got your attention!
Like football of days past, mainstream Digital Marketing has evolved. From a focus on single channels like email or search, to multi-channel programs and even into omni-channel – all are driven by the importance of creating compelling experiences for buyers. Or fans.
While companies with mature, sophisticated and budget rich marketing programs are riding this digital marketing wave, the practical reality is that many companies are in need of a clear plan for expansion. Creating a consistent user experience across channels, online and offline (kind of like winning the Super Bowl) is a lot easier said than done.
With an approach towards empathizing with the customer journey and how they discover, consume and act on content, this post outlines a digital marketing audit of near Super Bowl proportions. But for simplicity, I’ll focus on integrating search, social and content specifically. To get started, here is a 3 part framework for audits:
Discovery: The first step is to research and document the current situation, goals, challenges, competitive environment and resources. With goals for an integrated digital marketing strategy in place, take benchmark measurements for a starting point and create dashboards for reporting progress on all major KPIs and business outcomes.
Assess: Review the current approach, processes, SEO and Social Media readiness. Evaluate current Content Marketing efforts and identify areas of opportunity. Consider internal and external resources, tools being used, multi-departmental coordination, measurement, reporting, staff skills and training. Also review competitors against brand KPIs for content, search and social visibility.
Recommend: Compare benchmark measurements against brand digital marekting goals. Communicate the nature of the gap and metrics to quantify what will need to be improved, by how much and when, Provide best practices Social, SEO and Content Marketing processes, tools and training recommendations. Identify internal champions and opportunities to coordinate with reporting / dashboards relevant to each individual area as well as overall program performance.
The big mistake: (But not as big as throwing a pass on 2nd down and 1 yard to go) The Discovery, Assess and Recommend process for Audits is often treated as a one-time event, usually at the start of an internal effort to re-align marketing efforts or at the start of an engagement with an outside digital marketing agency. That’s a mistake. Depending on the program, audits should be part of a quarterly or annual process to evaluate program performance.
For more progressive marketers, an “Optimized” approach means a continuous effort at improving performance. That means breaking down marketing programs to allow for daily, weekly and monthly evaluations to improve performance.
13 Essential Components of a Social SEO and Content Marketing Audit:
What can you expect from this kind of audit the first time? Here’s a list:
- Current Situation: Content Assets, Social Networks, SEO
- Digital Marketing Process and People Evaluation and Recommendations
- Integrated Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing Strategy
- Program Goals, Monitoring and Measurement Approach – Benchmarks
- Recommended Social, SEO and Content Tools, Platforms
- Audience Segments, Buying Cycle Mapping and Personas
- Suggested Integrated Digital Programs to Test
- Content Insourcing, Crowdsourcing, Co-Creation with Influencers
- Social & SEO On & Off Site Best Practices & Tactics
- Content Promotion, Online PR & Distribution Channels
- Social Network Development & Community Building
- Integrated Implementation Plan: Optimized, Socialized Content
- Ongoing Implementation, Evaluation and Program Refinement Guidelines
We can leave the football metaphor behind now and wrap this up in with a marketer’s perspective:
Maturing your digital marketing efforts from a focus on single channels like search, email or social media into an integrated approach takes time, resources, expertise and a plan. If you want to start your audit experience with something specific, here’s a good breakdown of a social media audit.
Companies that want to step back from the information overload of marketing advice asking them to initiate a multitude of tactics with no clear line of sight to ROI would be well-served to consider a digital marketing audit. The experience of discovery, assessment and recommendations will give you a plan, goals, a means to measure, tools and the confidence to move your digital marketing forward in a way that’s doable and improvable.