You need to engage stakeholders in your audit, and it’s a good idea to try and enlist some helpers too.
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Engaging stakeholders and helpers
On a strategic level, it’s a good idea to engage stakeholders, subject matter experts, content owners, decision-makers, or other key members of your team, in the process.
Firstly, it’s courtesy. You’re going to be looking at the content they have a stake in. Letting them know what you’re going to be doing will make it easier down the line if/when you want to talk to them about making changes based on your findings.
Secondly, they might want to get involved. And if they do, that’s great, because their expertise and support will be a big help. (We’ll talk about this more in module 3.)
How to get buy-in
If you want to get people to support your audit, commit budget to it, or help you out with the project, you need to get their buy-in.
The first step is to be really clear on your reasons for wanting to do an audit, and all the benefits and outcomes you expect to get from it. Section 1 of the planner will give you the basis for this. For decision-makers and budget-holders, you should be prepared to give them reasonable expectations for time, effort, and cost too. We’ll cover this more in modules 3 and 4.
The second step is to create a list of people you want to get involved in the project. Once you have that, you need to think about what they are struggling with or excited about. (If you don’t know, ask them.)
Once you know what their motivations are, you can build a narrative that shows them why a content audit will help with the things that they specifically care about.
You should personalise your talking points to your stakeholders and organisation, but some key reasons you might want to flag are:
- preparing for a website redesign or refresh
- taking stock of your content, for example, if you’ve started a new role
- getting back in control of a sprawling website
- identifying content to delete or archive
- identifying opportunities to improve your content
- supporting a product/service/campaign launch
- making decisions about content based on data, not personal opinions and feelings
- getting into a regular pattern of reviewing and iterating your content
You should also talk about the benefits. Things like:
- a clear picture of what content needs to be edited, deleted, and improved before our redesign
- a plan of action for what content needs to be improved to reach strategic goals
- a list of quick wins, which will lead to better SEO/accessibility/conversion/user experience etc when implemented
- a clear idea of where to need to focus your time and budget
- reducing the risk and potential negative impact of outdated content, like lawsuits/poor customer experience, etc
- reducing the carbon footprint of your website by deleting unnecessary content
You might get some pushback or the sense that they’re not sure about committing. If that happens, you can propose a quick test audit as a proof of concept. If you go down this route, choose a selection of pages carefully (focus on high value ones, or ones with issues you already know about), audit them and show off the brilliant insights you’ve found.