Creating an effective content library should be one of the foundational elements when building your business. Yet, many business owners don’t keep a content library at all. The go-to method when we’re creating any type of content or working on our website is to just get it done, get it out. That is great in the short term but isn’t a good business practice in the long run. I can almost guarantee that all of that fabulous content you create will eventually become overwhelming if it’s not tracked. Everything you do from the courses you create to your Facebook Live videos to your website content needs to be put in your content library.
Why Should You Keep a Content Library?
You know the real estate motto…location, location, location. With a content library, it’s more like planning, planning, planning.
1. It makes good business sense. If you’re working with an editorial calendar, knowing what you have to repurpose helps you make good, strategic marketing decisions and helps you get away from the “spray and pray” marketing method. If you don’t have a good handle on what you should be talking about and how to bring value to your audience, once you lay out your current content, you may see a strong pattern emerge and can determine what is working and what isn’t.
2. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say that while they were adding content to their website they lost their work and had to start over. They were editing on the fly. I know that sounds easy in the moment, but when that work gets lost it is super-frustrating and a huge waste of valuable time. Planning out your content ahead of time in a separate document gives you the advantage of drafting, fine-tuning, choosing keywords, and then organizing it into your site.
3. We all post on third party apps and platforms, and in most cases, those platforms are solid companies. But sh*t happens. We can never really know for sure how stable a platform is or how secure our website or hosting is. If you happen to lose your posts or your website goes down, knowing you have all of that content can give you some peace of mind during the rebuilding process.
What to Consider When Creating Your Library
For a small business, a great place to start is with an Excel or Google spreadsheet, or a platform like Airtable. One advantage with Airtable is that you can attach a copy of the document to the spreadsheet. (Plus, Airtable has some cool features you can use to make your spreadsheets pretty snazzy.)
You can download a copy of a basic content library in Excel by clicking the link below, or you can create your own. Below are a few of the headings you may want to consider including.
- Category or Focus: What is the focus of the piece? If you use categories in your business, what category would this piece go in? For my business, my primary categories and business focus are WordPress and Digital Identity. The content I create will most likely fall into one of these primary categories.
- Type of Content: Is the content a video, a blog post, an ebook, a course, a white paper?
- Description: Create a brief description of what the piece is about. You might include the topic or note whether it was an interview and who your guest was. Track whatever you can to make it easy for you or a team member to quickly determine what the piece is about.
- URL or Location: Note the URL if you have a video on YouTube or you have courses in Teachable or a similar platform. If you use Google Drive or Dropbox, grab the URL of the document or note where it is stored. It could look something like this — Dropbox/FolderName/FileName. I recommend keeping all of your content in the same place whenever possible.
- Where Has It Been Shared/How Was It Used: Was it a blog post? Was it a content upgrade in your blog post? Was it a Facebook Live? Was it a guest post on another website?
- Internal Use or Downloadable: Note in your spreadsheet whether the content is just for internal use or if it is made available for your audience to download. Your web content is a great example of internal use, however, ebooks, courses, white papers, etc. are for public consumption.
If you don’t have a document started, it could take a little bit of work to get caught up, but it is definitely worth the time. When you start a content library and keep it updated, you will be able to reuse content in a more strategic way in your marketing, and you’ll always have the peace of mind that your best work won’t be lost forever.