Want to make your content marketing tasks a bit easier in 2019? Start the year off fresh with a content inventory.
Wait, What’s a Content Inventory?
Let’s start with definitions. In its basic form, a content inventory is a list of content items created for your brand—this could be anything from blog posts to website pages, whitepapers, infographics, case studies, testimonials, or other types of content you’re creating for your audience—and a recording of where that asset has been published.
The idea behind a content inventory is that you’re working toward a content audit, where you’re evaluating the success of each asset—whether that’s by traffic, downloads, etc.—and identifying strengths and weaknesses in your content strategy. BUT you don’t have to work toward an audit to still get value out of a content inventory—sometimes it’s helpful to create a list of all assets so that you know what you have available to you for your upcoming marketing campaigns or sales pushes (and what you might want to create in the meantime).
You can also use a content inventory to determine:
- If your assets are up-to-date with the latest product or industry information
- If your branding is accurate across all assets (VERY important if you’ve undergone a rebrand in recent months/years)
- What’s performing so well that you might want to create other content types like it
- If you have content that appeals to your target audience(s)—especially if you have a subset of industries or customer types that you focus on
A content inventory tells you what content is available, but not necessarily if that content is performing well. Keep in mind the inventory piece is just a catalog of what is available to you—understanding if what’s available is effective would come into play with a content audit.
Getting Started with Your Content Inventory
When you inventory this content, you should be thinking about what you want to keep as-is, what needs updating or repurposing, and what is missing from your inventory. Ask yourself the following questions and catalog your answers in a spreadsheet:
- Does the voice accurately reflect your brand voice now?
- Are the measurements and metrics up-to-date with the latest numbers?
- Are your products and services portrayed accurately?
- Is this something the sales team could use in the sales process?
- Are the associated assets (like logo or graphics) current?
Depending on how deep you want to dive into a content audit, you might want to catalog additional asset information, like:
- Website link
- Keywords, descriptions, page titles and other meta elements
- Audio/video files
- Additional assets available on the page (whitepapers, infographics, ebooks, etc.)
- Number of visits and/or downloads
Now that you know what to capture, you can put together…
A Sample Content Inventory Template
The exact look and feel of this template is going to depend on your goals—for example, are you simply trying to figure out what assets you have available? Do you need to keep track of all the downloadables you’ve created? Do you need to categorize different products and services? Depending on your primary goal, you’ll want to prioritize certain columns over others and potentially add tracking elements to match those goals.
On the whole, a sample content inventory template should start with the basics, like so:
|Content Type||Title/Headline||Targeted At||Purpose||Status||Notes|
|Blog Post||Product Type||Nurture||Good|
Other Things to Consider
It’s important to consider that the marketing department is not the only team affected by your content strategy. As you inventory what you have—and don’t have—as a resource, take some time to include your sales and customer service teams in the mix. Ask them if there are items that would be useful to them in the sales process or that could help mitigate support requests. Based on their answers, you can use your content inventory to see if you have assets already available or if there are assets you can create for them. Make sure these items end up on your to-do list as well.
It’s also helpful to think in terms of the kinds of campaigns you’ll be running in the new year. If your focus is on account-based marketing strategies, think through what sorts of content assets you’d like to have for the sales/marketing process for each account-based marketing campaign. If you’re focusing on a few industry verticals, think through what sorts of targeted content you could create to speak only to those audiences.
There’s no need to stop the fun at content! This is a good time to catalog your visual assets as well. What videos do you have available? What graphics? Email headers? Landing page designs? Content can’t live in a vacuum—there’s no time like the present to think not just about WHAT the content says, but HOW it says it.
Now that you have a content inventory structure in place, go make that 2019 content development plan (which you can learn more about here)!
Need help developing your 2019 content strategy? We’re here to help—just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.