We’ve all been there: You walk into your company’s break room, open the fridge, and—yikes!—your coworker’s carton of takeout from last month has finally turned. Now that sweet and sour chicken is everybody’s problem.

It’s generally easy to figure out when some food has passed its expiration date. The odor serves as an instant alert.

Unfortunately, it’s not always simple to spot marketing content that needs to be refreshed or retired. But it is important that you find it—and do something about it—before your customers start holding their noses.

Three reasons to keep your content up to date

What’s the harm in letting your content sit around a little while? Here are three good reasons to keep your content fresh.

1. Maximize your investments. Your product development team invests significant time and resources to create innovative solutions. And those solutions have a longer shelf life than your initial launch campaign. Planning to periodically refresh your content helps ensure you continue to profit from solutions throughout their lifecycle.

Of course, your marketing team also invests substantial time and resources to create content. Don’t let it languish. Refreshing content enables you to derive more value from your efforts with only a modicum of work.

2. Avoid negative perceptions. Old content does not exactly inspire confidence among your customers. Does the data sheet on your website still have the brand colors, logo, and tagline your company retired three years ago? Your customers might think that you are no longer actively supporting the product or—at the very least—that you lack the resources to maintain your customer-facing materials. In the technology field especially, old, outdated content does not signal an innovative company.

3. Eliminate errors and outdated information. Does your website really still boast that your software runs great on Windows XP? Does your white paper keep calling your solution by a name that was changed last quarter? Do you have a link or two that will transport your customers directly to a 404 error? Keeping your content free of outdated information is critical for avoiding customer misunderstandings and frustration.

Periodic audits help spot stale content

How do you make sure your content is up to date? Someone needs to check periodically. But because reviewing your content can be a resource-intensive process, you might consider working with an outside agency rather than pulling in-house resources away from other tasks.

A systematic content audit by an outside agency can help you identify outdated materials and determine whether each asset should be retired, refreshed, or repurposed. The agency can analyze multiple criteria, including:

  • Brand: Does the asset use the latest logo, colors, and type treatment in the most recent template?
  • Messaging: Does the asset reflect your company’s current messaging?
  • Details: Are the tech specs, contact information, legal disclaimers, and URLs all correct and up to date?

The agency can also help evaluate your assets and suggest ways to improve their effectiveness. As part of the audit process, the agency can score assets according to criteria such as:

  • Buyer personas: Does the asset target the right audience segments?
  • Competitive positioning: Does it reinforce strategic differentiators?
  • Stage in the buyer’s journey: What stage is the content designed for—initial discovery, information-gathering, or decision-making?
  • Product groups and industry verticals: Are there gaps this asset doesn’t cover?
  • Creative impact and effectiveness: Does the asset attract audience attention and hold it? Is it easy to read and navigate?
  • Popularity: What are the usage metrics for the particular asset?

Audits can cover a full range of assets, including blogs, case studies, brochures, ads, ebooks, white papers, videos, data sheets, tweets, social content, webinars, presentations, solution briefs, interactive demos, and more. Auditing your website content is very important, especially if you have a large, active site with many contributors.

How often should you conduct your audit? Deep analysis of your content might be required only once or twice per year. Conducting a higher-level review of assets every quarter—or focusing on a single product or asset type—helps ensure that nothing slips between the cracks.

Whether you use an in-house team or an outside agency, you’ll probably want your auditors to create an easily updated spreadsheet to keep your content organized. Having the auditors prepare a written report or—better yet—a presentation with the results then helps communicate key findings.

The next step: Retire or refresh

Once you know what you have, and understand how well it’s working, you can make informed decisions about whether particular assets should be retired, refreshed, or repurposed. If you’re working with an outside agency, that agency can help you revitalize content quickly and efficiently, so you present customers with the freshest information and maximize the value of your previous efforts.

Ready to discuss your specific content audit needs? Let’s talk.