Find content fast with inventory tracking
Content management gets complicated quickly when teams generate volumes of messages and posts are repurposed frequently. It’s also important to document the source of content, especially when generated outside the company, such as interviews hosted externally. Proper documentation will save hours and possibly the need and expense of complete recreation.
Marketing, sales, customer service, operations and legal staff, even outsourced vendors, all need access to identify, modify and share much of the same content, from brochures, product descriptions, mission/vision/values statements, branding guidelines, logos, ads, social media posts, articles, press releases, videos, podcasts, web page copy, testimonials, case studies to sales materials. Even accounting team members may access these records to catalog, reconcile or project expenses.
Small businesses may use excel sheets, such as the CDM Content Inventory template, to manage these lists and large companies may use digital asset management software across hundreds of users. Using a customized version helps small businesses instantly locate an item, whether on the Internet or in storage.
The Content Inventory differs from the Image Inventory template by categorizing the various types of materials, including images, that may be used by an organization. One purpose of the Image Inventory is to track deadlines for image royalties; additionally, the Image list documents the original source and creation date. The Content Inventory is the record of all items, whether published or retired externally or internally. Certainly, these two templates may easily be coupled into one document.
Fields in the Content Inventory include:
Type: Choose the type of content: blog post, article, etc., and add new types to the list in the template
Inventory number: Create a control number system and keep those numbers with your content; use a new number for each modification of the original.
Date created/acquired: Documenting the date will help retrieve the link associated with the item in years to come.
Description: Build a description that is short, concise and designed to help you find each piece quickly.
Location: Note current location of finished items by name, such as Company site, network, storage or medium. For instance, a press release might be at Business Wire, a marketing brochure in Dropbox or a logo on a network drive..
Use: Record how the item is implemented: e.g., an image that becomes a Twitter background, a video that is embedded in a blog post, a logo sent to a trade association, an image for a trade show banner stand.
Location URL: Place the URL of each item, whether at a web site, shared network or cloud storage.
Size: This field (different from file size below) is meant to log the physical size, such as a 2-page article, 15-page white paper, 300×300 pixel logo or 30-minute podcast.
DPI: Record the resolution of stored images to quickly determine whether they fit a new use or need to be modified.
Format: Knowing the format, such as jpg, png, pdf, doc or mp3, becomes important when uploading, storing or sharing a file to determine whether the file will be compatible or it must be modified.
File size: Use this field to note the final storage space required for the piece. This is important when uploading an image, video or document as the file size might be greater than the allowed space.
License: Permissions for materials created by others are critical to record for legal purposes; note the type of license, such as Creative Commons Public Domain, royalty-free or renewal required.
Live: Enter the date the item is published for future reference.
Alt tag: For images, it’s important to take advantage of the search results images generate
Category: It’s handy to track categories assigned to various blog posts for future reference
Keywords: Noting keywords used in various pieces helps marketing staff focus on connections to attract visitors with search terms.
Views: For videos, images and posts, tracking the number of views in Content Inventory helps to analyze interest.
Subs: Monitoring subscribers to channels, such as YouTube, is valuable feedback.
Original source: Record the original source, such as Pixabay, in order to find the piece again.
Original location: Log the original link where the item was found.
Original title: State the original title; it’s likely each piece will be retitled with use.
Cost: Log the cost of each item.
P.O.: Note the purchase order used to acquire content, if appropriate.
How to use the template:
- Use the second “Types” worksheet to modify the various content. Add new formats to Types as desired.
- Choose a naming convention stored with or on material. For example, start with an inventory number, for ease of sorting chronologically, followed by a date and version. 101_4/17_Vid would represent inventory number 101, created or sourced 4/17 and indicate it is a video file. Alternatively, 113_6/17_Wh.1 might indicate the first version of a whitepaper created 6/17 with inventory number 113. You may already have a system in place. Document the procedure, share with all creators, editors and users while impressing upon them the need for consistency.
A lot of time and expense goes into creating and collecting content that prospects and customers consume. Good asset management helps teams stay productive, reduces frustration, errors, costs. Providing guidance to habitually document valuable content across team efforts speeds up projects, especially when creators aren’t available or can’t remember where materials are located.
Download the CDM Content Inventory template here and start managing your assets today.