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Content audit and content inventory: what’s the difference?

Content audit and content inventory: what’s the difference?

content-inventory-auditWhen you’re hiring to a content strategist, it’s good to clarify terms like content inventory, especially within a content strategy proposal. People have different ideas about what’s included in each phase of a content strategy process — and that’s okay. As long we clarify definitions and set expectations.

So what’s the difference between a content audit and content inventory? And when does a content analysis start? Here are the definitions we use at Pybop:

Content Audit

A content audit is the process of gathering (usually published) content assets and data about those assets into a comprehensive list. Content can be defined by project, and can include web site pages, PDFs, infographics, videos, photos, whitepapers, branding assets, as well as offline materials such as sales leave-behinds and whitepapers.

The data in a content audit also should be determined by project. I find the following information valuable for our content strategy projects:

  • URL
  • H1 tags, tags, categories
  • Meta data, such as page title, description, and keywords
  • Date created
  • Page depth
  • Analytics, including page views, shares, bounces, and links in

Why do a content audit?

Content Inventory

A content inventory is the first step of your audit. This is simply a list of all your content, organized in whichever way works best for you. Here are some basic categories I like to work within:

  • Published/unpublished/archived
  • Online/offline
  • Target audience (if applicable)

Content Analysis

A content inventory and audit are different than an analysis. Content audits gather the facts about your assets, and a content analysis is an interpretation of those assets.

An analysis is typically informed by information such as your Brand Charter, Core Messaging Priorities, and other materials that express how you want your brand to be perceived.

Need help getting started with your content audit, analysis, or content strategy in general? We’re here to help.

With thanks to Christiaan Lustig, who in part, inspired this answer by telling me that in Dutch, an “audit” implies “analysis.” I think it does when you’re talking about U.S. taxes, too!

Author Shelly Bowen

Shelly Bowen, Pybop's chief content strategist, has led teams of writers and creatives to develop websites and interactive content for more than 15 years. Read more about Shelly.

Contact Shelly

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