Updated November, 2022
It’s been almost 3 years (!!!) since COVID-19 overturned our personal and professional lives. That’s nearly 3 years of researching and publishing clear, trustworthy COVID-19 content for consumers.
And it’s been A LOT of content.
We all created most of our COVID-19 content to be temporary. In the beginning, we just had to get some helpful content up quickly, and we figured the pandemic would be short-lived. (Lolsob.) Now we know that COVID-19 — and the content we wrote — is here to stay. We need to make sure our content remains up to date and reliable.
But while COVID-19 is far from over, how we think and talk about it has shifted. We have more evidence-based information than ever before. All your published COVID-19 content should be current. If COVID-related searches turn up outdated results from your brand, you could confuse your audience — or worse, contribute to the spread of misinformation.
To make sure your healthcare website’s coronavirus content is evergreen, perform a COVID-19 content audit. We’ll walk you through the steps of the audit and share advice for refreshing old content. BONUS: We have a free (no email required) template to make this task as efficient as possible. Get it here.
Note: If you developed an audit and updating process for your COVID-19 content from the beginning and your team followed it closely, you might not need to perform a full-blown audit. This is the perfect time to review your audit process to ensure you didn’t miss anything over the past 3 years.
4 Simple Steps to Audit (and Update) Your COVID-19 Content
#1: Set some ground rules and guidelines
Before you dive into the audit, answer these questions:
- What type of audit are we doing? Think about business goals, audience needs and institutional knowledge. For a COVID-19 content check, do a combination of quantitative and qualitative audits. Look at content volume, results and details.
- What do you want to update? List the topics that have changed the most over the past 3 years. Include vaccine approvals and eligibility, treatments, personnel protocols (vaccination requirements, sick leave for exposure), visitor protocols (masking, number of visitors allowed) and vocabulary.
#2: Start your content inventory
Follow these steps:
- Download our template for your COVID-19 content audit.
- Use Google Analytics (or another tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs) to search for URLs containing COVID, coronavirus or another naming convention your organization uses. Export the list and copy the URLs into our template.
- Sort the URLs by performance. Your higher trafficked pages have more visibility than lower trafficked pages, so update those first. That way, you know your most influential content is up to date and accurate.
- Review each URL to examine the content. Search for words like vaccine, treatment, isolation, quarantine, mask, visitor restrictions, social/physical distancing — many of these were used in copy that changed often. Flag which URLs need updating by coding them for:
- Up to date
- Needs updating
- Remove (some content might be irrelevant, so you can remove it from the website. Before deleting anything, make sure it doesn’t have any backlinks or high traffic. Removing content with valuable backlinks and high page authority can negatively affect your entire website.)
- Check the links within the content. Whether it’s an external or internal link, make sure the hyperlink has up-to-date information. If it doesn’t, change the link to a page that is.
#3: Update your COVID-19 content
Assign members of your team to update the pages with accurate COVID-19 information. Make updates in the same order you followed when conducting the inventory, so you update the most influential content first.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Consistency is key. Does your website say everyone needs to wear a mask, but the policy is only unvaccinated individuals need to mask up? Make sure your messages are consistent across all pages (and marketing channels) to avoid confusion and lack of compliance.
- Highlight important stats and need-to-know information for users (like in a box at the top of the article). This makes it easier for audiences to find the info and for you to update the details if they change.
- Avoid or eliminate unnecessary specifics. If your content is about the latest variant, then name it. But for evergreen content, refer to the “latest variant” or “currently circulating variants” in broad terms that won’t require future updating.
#4: Establish an audit protocol
72% of marketers feel their brand struggles to manage content strategically, and just 12% say they’re successful with it. Having the right audit protocol in place means you can be among the happy 12%.
And remember: It’s not enough to audit your COVID-19 materials once. Details evolve. Set up a workflow for regular content audits based on time (like once every 3 months) and new information.
For example, set up standards for editing content when new details about COVID-19 come out (like the expansion of vaccination age groups or a new FDA-approved vaccine). Those standards should include:
- How often the content is audited
- Who is responsible for updating
- Who is responsible for reviewing/approving the updates
- How quickly the updates should happen
Keep track of when updates happen by adding the date updated to your audit file. Use our template as a living document that your team views and refreshes often.
Ready to start your COVID-19 content audit? Let’s go!
Don’t have enough bandwidth to perform a COVID-19 content audit? We can help. With our audit reports, you get an outside-in perspective from industry experts. Learn more about our two options for content audits and discoveries.