As you may have heard ad nauseam, content marketing strategy is essential to any successful marketing plan. Content marketing strategy is the process of using highly-engaging content to tell a larger story that encourages people (directly or indirectly) to purchase or take interest in your company or product. I am a big proponent of this technique, but I don’t think it has to be as daunting as some marketers make it out to be. That is, as long as you have the right tools in place. Enter the Content Inventory.
A content inventory is a great way to evaluate what content you have, how effective it is, and if it can be repurposed. Without a content inventory, I've seen marketers waste time on analysis each time they want to update their content strategy.
The Marketer’s Content Inventory
To get started, I usually spend a week or more searching for and documenting all content in a simple excel content library. I outline the standard details – name, type, etc. – as well as these four essentials:
Buying Stage: I find it helpful to know exactly where a content piece fits in the customer journey at a quick glance. This way I can quickly select my go to pieces depending on what channel I am advertising on.
User Persona: I always like to know who would be interested in my piece of content. If I do end up communicating to personas individually it speeds up the setup process.
Performance: Content performance is hard to measure, but I have a few go-to KPIs. Leads (if downloadable), views, and clicks. And, that’s it. Focusing on too many metrics makes it hard to compare apples to apples. By analyzing a piece’s past performance it will help you identify high performers to repurpose.
Location: It’s important to note where a document is located, especially if it’s public facing. This way, you will never forget to update all versions.
If you are lucky, you can use your content inventory tool to track all of this. If you don’t have the budget for software, a simple Google doc will do. Here’s my go-to content inventory template. It has saved me a great deal of time.
What You Can Do with a Content Inventory
Revamp Old Content: By identifying high-performers in your content library, you can save some time by revamping old pieces. You can extend the life of a piece by making some minor tweaks. This takes much less time than creating a new piece.
Identify the Gaps: The content inventory also helps you identify what new pieces you actually need. If you have content in the research, compare, and retain stage, but nothing in the purchase stage, you know exactly where to start.
Direct Sales to One Place: A content inventory is a great place to point sales when they need a specific type of content. By doing so, you get some time back in your day and you also avoid recreating a piece because you thought it didn’t exist.
Get Started Faster: I’ve seen too many marketers waste time analyzing their content each time they need to update their strategy. Do it up front and you will implement your content marketing strategy faster than ever!
I encourage you to start building your content inventory today. It can't hurt.