At the beginning of the school year, you come up with tons of great ideas for content to fill the pages of your yearbook. And while most of your concepts are fabulous, you sometimes wind up with way too much brainstormed content. Or worse, articles that just don’t seem to fit anywhere! This is where a content audit can come in handy. A process that evaluates the relevancy and quality of each article you add to your book, a content audit ensures that every piece you add to the final pages of your publication makes sense and connects with your readers. Below, I’ll walk you through how to complete a content audit, what to do when a piece isn’t working, and when to tackle this type of review.
Streamline Your Book
While you want to cover as much of the school year as you possibly can between the front and back covers of your yearbook, you also don’t want to duplicate your content, or, conversely, go totally off topic.Your goal is to add value with every article that winds up on the pages of your book. A content audit streamlines the information you include within, and keeps each of your articles focused on a specific point. This helps to engage more students with your book, because each piece speaks to a particular something, and is more likely to grab their attention.
Ask the Right Questions
As you’re reviewing different pages of content, there are a few main questions you should ask yourself to ensure that each piece supplements your goals for the book:
- Is it on theme? You want every article within your yearbook to have some kind of connection back to your theme. If you can’t locate how the theme is woven into a particular article, send it back to your writer for a second stab. And if there’s no way to incorporate the theme, then you should consider nixing the article altogether.
- Is it school relevant? Each article also needs to relate back to your school and your kids. Think about how your students will perceive each piece of content. Is it something that’s important to them? Do they want to know about this story? If it’s not relevant to your student body, there’s no point in including the piece within your yearbook. So while fashion and social media trends for ‘this year in history’ will provide great reminiscing opportunities in the future if included in your book, I don’t think your readers will really care about stock market prices.
- Is it interesting? Just because an article relates back to your theme and offers something that’s important to your students, doesn’t automatically make it an interesting piece. While it may affect your school that funding for repaving the parking lot was cut, I doubt your middle schoolers would find it riveting. If there are ways that the article could be improved for a more interesting focus, send some notes back to your writer for an updated version. So instead, you could write about how the science club started a fundraiser to earn the money to still make the project happen! Remember, you want your students to engage with the content. This starts with great writing.
When to Audit
To make your content audit process a little easier, go through these steps once a month, to review any new articles that have been added to your yearbook template (add a reminder within your calendar!). The sooner you can catch stories that don’t fit, the more lead time you have to get an edited version of the piece, or to come up with a different story to take the place of an article you can’t use. Also, do a final content audit before the yearbook goes to print. In this final audit, you can just remove the articles that don’t work. You shouldn’t have many sub-par articles at this point, because of the steps you took to review the content throughout the course of the school year. This final audit is simply your final copy review, and will also help you pare down any excess content to keep your book a manageable length.
Fill Your Yearbook With Awesome Content
A content audit can be a tedious process. Make this easier by reviewing every story idea in advance. Offer some suggestions to the writer, before they start working on each piece, based on the questions above–this will keep your content relevant and interesting to the students at your school. Remember, the point of a content audit isn’t to tear apart the work of your team. It’s to make sure that the work that winds up on the final pages of your yearbook is totally awesome! So prep your team in advance, give them an opportunity to fix their work, and only pull pieces when it’s truly necessary. This will help you use your content audit process for success, while also keeping the morale of your team high!