In our last blog post, I wrote about getting more mileage out of your existing content. It was all about repurposing, reformatting, re-everything. One inbound tool I mentioned there was a content library. A few of you have asked me what format I use for my content library. Of course, I’m happy to share and walk you through some of the thinking.
I didn’t invent the wheel
There are plenty of great inbound marketing resources that share content libraries. Mine is an evolution of a few different resources. Many of you know that I’m HubSpot Alumni, so you will often find the route to my documents there.
I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel if a great wheel is available. Rather I see if I can make it better, make it my own instead.
Why you need a library
A content library sounds quite elaborate. What we are talking about is a spreadsheet that holds all your content. I include blogs, videos, any downloadable offers like guides or ebooks, and draws the line at social posts and web pages.
The goal of the content library is to make your life as a content or inbound marketer easier. One sheet where you can get a complete overview of your content. It should show what works, what doesn’t. It should allow you to see what needs an update, and whether you have gaps in your content. When you are creating campaigns or nurture programs a content library should help you to put your content together easily.
You can get access to the template I use as a Google Sheet (view only) here. Simply save a version to your drive and make it your own, or download to use as an Excel. If you would like me to send you the Excel version of this, just email me (email@example.com).
Each column explained
I briefly want to run through the columns listed in the template. Feel free to make these your own as you build your own content library:
Starting off by listing the title of the piece of content. This blog will be listed in my library as ‘Content Library - A simple tool to manage your content’.
URL - Current
It’s handy to be able to simply click and find your content piece. Often, it can be a bit of a rigmarole to find links especially the links to guides, ebooks etc that sit behind a landing page or a blog post that is part of an active listing. I don’t know about you, but I often get asked “can you just send me the link to bla”. It’s natural for people to come to the source of content to find it. Having the links listed makes your life a little more efficient.
Topic should be part of our SEO strategy (new to topic clusters? Read more here). What topics are you creating content for? In BusinessBrew we focus on three: Inbound, GDPR and HubSpot. Listing the topic helps focus - are we really writing about something important to us? This column helps you focus.
In addition, it assists in sorting content and making it simpler to group. If I want to create a campaign focussing on Inbound, I can simply apply a filter to show just the content marked as such.
Some clients we use this for work with business areas and prefer to use these. You could also add a separate column for business area if you wanted to do both.
The format of your content. Is it a blog post? An ebook? A guide? A video?
When you build out a campaign you might want a healthy mix of content formats to share. This makes it easy to keep an overview and choose the right format for your channel.
In addition, you will quickly see whether there is a content type that might be neglected. Do you have enough conversion content (i.e. valuable enough to sit behind a form)?
More than likely, you are working with a couple of different personas. Who is the content piece made for? Content should be geared towards your personas and made for them.
If you find a content piece that suits multiple personas, then perhaps consider splitting it into two and make it more specific to each segment. Or edit the single piece to make it more specific.
Imagine now you want to create a campaign on a particular topic, for your main persona, using blog and video only (type). You can easily apply filters and see what you already have. In turn, you quickly figure out whether there are gaps!
Buyer’s Journey Stage
Decide the stage of the journey your content piece is aimed at. Is it awareness, consideration or decision? Not all consideration pieces have to be behind a form, not all decision content has to be product/service focussed.
This column is very helpful to identify gaps. Often, content is created in one area (awareness or decision are favourites) and others are neglected. You will need content in each buyer’s journey stage.
Be aware, if one piece of content fits into multiple stages, you might want to split it into two.
Create Date / Publish Date
We need a marker to determine the age of the content. This is helpful to identify some of your evergreen content but also to quickly see what content needs to be refreshed. Remember from the last post, you don’t always have to create content from scratch. You can update what you have.
Now we move into measurement. The content library shouldn’t just show you what content you have. It should also show you what your best content pieces are and which need work. In this column, keep track of the views. Make a choice whether you are going to go with unique views or total views and be sure that you measure like for like in each format.
Clicks will only be able to be measured on clickable content. For blogs I count clicks on call-to-action (CTA) buttons.
Submissions are form submissions. So how many leads did you generate with this piece of content. Just as clicks, this may not apply to all pieces. Take your landing page statistics for all your downloadable content like ebooks or guides.
I add a conversion rate visitor to lead to the sheet. Again, this may not work for all of your content but again a great way to get a handle on what content works well.
All the measurement fields will help you see whether a piece works well (so be sure to reshare it and include it in campaigns) or whether it needs a little refresh or reworking. They may also just show you when a content piece is simply not working for you and it’s time to sunset it.
Other fields to consider
Your content library should serve your purposes. And while I strongly recommend including the above fields, you should adjust the sheet to make it work for your purposes. Here are a few ideas that don’t work for everyone but might be worthwhile for you to track:
If you are doing a lot of account-based marketing or sales support content, it might make sense to see which sales rep is associated with which piece of content. You can see what may work for one person, doesn’t work for another or be able to replicate for another team member.
Region / Industry / Vertical
Region / Industry / Vertical follows on from sales rep. If you are creating content for a specific region, industry or vertical you will want to note this to see whether it makes sense to create a version of the content for another region, industry or vertical you are active in. Remember, you’ll know by the measurement stats what works and what doesn’t.
For multinationals among who have regional sites and content it will make sense to have a language column. You could have a content library per content but that would make it difficult to spot what content piece you might have in German but not in English and need to consider recreating.
Cluster / SubTopic
For those of us diving into SEO and wanting to keep track of Clusters / Sub Topics, you could create a simple column here. I prefer to use the HubSpot tool for this personally, but for those of you who don’t this is a good alternative. If you are still new to thinking about SEO in form of topics, check out this blog post.
Start your content library
You can either take the above explanation and create your spreadsheet or you can access my version here.
It’s a ‘view only’ Google Sheet. So you can copy it and add a version to your Drive. Alternatively, you can download it as an Excel if you prefer. Any problems gaining access, just drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you an Excel version as an attachment.
Especially if you have been creating content for a while and haven’t kept track, start a content library. It will make your life so much easier:
- Find the content you need for campaigns and nurture flows easily
- Access links to downloadable content
- View the content that works, that needs work and that just doesn’t work
- Help sales and other departments to easily see what content is available for them to use
Let me know how you get on. And as always, reach out if you have any questions!