Join Morten Rand-Hendriksen for an in-depth discussion in this video The qualitative content audit, part of UX Foundations: Content Strategy.
- [Voiceover] Once you have all the content mapped out, it's time to take a closer look at each individual piece. This is what's known as the qualitative content audit. Here, you're judging the quality of each piece of content and also making sure your content doesn't have any gaps. The qualitative content audit is an ongoing process that you'll circle back to throughout the initial content production process and also as the project goes live. Whereas the quantitative content audit was focused on listing out every piece of content in the project, the qualitative content audit dives into each piece to make sure it stands up to scrutiny.
For each piece of content, ask these questions: does it meet the project goals? Is it communicating what we intended to communicate? Is it useful? Does it have a purpose and is that purpose meaningful to the audience? Is it audience-centered? Does the content provide the audience with something they need or have use of? Can the audience understand the content and figure out its context and use? Is it clear? Does it speak in a language the audience can understand? Is it consistent? Does it match the overall voice and tone of the project? Is the message in line with other content? Does it feel like it belongs in the experience? Finally, is it supported? Is there a plan in place to keep the content updated when things change? Can the audience ask questions and get informed answers about the content? During the qualitative content audit, you should also start thinking about what channels different pieces of content will be targeted at.
If a piece of content is meant to be shared on social media, have shortened versions or customized images been created to meet platform restrictions? Will the meaning of a title or short description convey the message of the larger content effectively, and if so, should the longer versions be shortened to be more in line with the short synopsis? Considering multiple channels often results in complete overhauls of content and can make complex messages simpler and easier to digest. This is also a great time do to both a gap and a competitive analysis.
The gap analysis looks at the quantitative and qualitative audits and asks whether all necessary content is present and all questions are answered sufficiently. The competitive analysis looks at your closest competitors and makes sure you provide better or more communicative content that fills the gaps they have in their content. As you go through the qualitative content audit, mark the status of each content item with one of the provided options. For existing content, mark it as Draft, Ready, Published, or if it's currently live, Needs Live Edit.
When you identify content that is not necessary or should be removed, mark it as Delete. Now, it's tempting to remove it from the list, but that may result in the content being added in later. Leave deleted items on the list to ensure they stay deleted. It might also be a good idea to leave an explanation of why the item was deleted, for future reference. As needs for new contents are discovered, add the content in the appropriate location and mark it as Unwritten. Finally, during the qualitative content audit, ownership of individual content becomes more important than ever.
Each piece of content must be owned by someone and if ownership changes hands, mark that in the audit document. It can also be a good idea to add additional columns for things like the name of the person responsible for editing or publishing the content. During the qualitative content audit, the key guiding principle should be to consider the audience and their time. Good content is respectful of the audience and their time. Bad content is narcissistic and waste people time. It's really that simple.
Learn the four elements of constructing meaningful content, from identifying your audience and structuring and wireframing content to developing content guidelines and measuring the success of your efforts. Author Morten Rand-Hendriksen also shows you how to develop persona spectrums to better understand your users and evaluate the needs of important stakeholders and influencers.
- What is content?
- The components of content strategy
- Identifying stakeholders and audience
- Developing user persona spectrums
- Auditing your content
- Building guides, templates, and workflows
- Creating the content
- Measuring success