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How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Conduct a Content Audit

First, take her to lunch. I’d recommend somewhere homey, somewhere kitschy—somewhere with plenty of decoration on the walls. You want your boss to be surrounded by content when you make the pitch.

Second, before you launch into your spiel, make sure know what you mean by a “content audit.” In this case, you mean a comprehensive inventory and analysis of your website. For each page on your site, you’ll list the title, the URL, the audience, and the goal—along with whatever else you think is relevant, like reading-level of your copy.

Third, be honest: This content audit is going to take some time. To do it right, you’re going to spend an average of 12-15 minutes per webpage. Working only part-time on the audit, and with a huge website (5,000+ pages), you’ll easily be spending half-a-year on this endeavor. For smaller websites, maybe 100 pages, you can knock it out in 2-3 weeks.

Fourth, remind your boss that EVERYTHING IS CONTENT. Remind her that the Internet is nothing more than a content-delivery device. What’s the point of having a big dinner tray if all you serve is buttered noodles?

Fifth, mention robots. You have way more pages on your website than you think. And at the outset of your content audit, you’ll probably want to use one of the many website crawling tools to generate a full website inventory. As the boss, she cares about the bottom line, and these inventory tools will save you time and money.

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Sixth, fight the robots! Because here’s the thing: Robots can’t evaluate like humans. Not yet. So, while AI remains too clumsy to judge content like a human does, it’s up to you, the brave auditor, to do the primal work of looking at each content type on your website to evaluate it.

Seventh, remind your boss precisely what you’ll be measuring. Mention things like “audience” and “goal” and “call to action.” Then, when you sit down with your spreadsheet, for each webpage and content type, actually analyze those things.

Eighth, order the Combo #3 off the lunch menu because hey, you live only once.

Ninth, casually mention “Google Analytics” like it’s no big deal. (Even though you totally know that it is.) For each page, list on your spreadsheet the number of visits in the last 6 months, the bounce rate, and whatever other metrics are relevant to your business goals.

Tenth, remind her that the Internet is nothing but organized content. Say, “Content is the only reason anyone visits our website.”

Eleventh, and finally, assure her that the mere act of fully reviewing your company’s public-facing content will unveil content epiphanies. You’ll be regularly struck dumb by insights. As you audit, you’ll keep a little notepad on your desk, and it’ll be filled with your inspired scrawlings. You’ll be positively inspired.

And isn’t inspiration the finest form of content?

(Twelfth, pick up the tab—and don’t use your corporate credit card.)

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