Don't let the words Content Inventory scare you. I'll show you how step-by-step, and it will be worth it. Your readers will thank you.
What Is Content?
Content is anything you provide for your audience to read, hear, watch, or interact with, such as blog posts, emails, courses, e-books, social media posts, worksheets, etc.
If you're a blogger, you're a content creator. If you run an online business, or otherwise own a website, you're a content creator.
What Is a Content Inventory?
It's just what it sounds like--a review of the content you publish. For now, let's focus on blog posts.
Why You Should Inventory Your Blog Posts
Think of your content as your property. It's your property, but you're sharing it with your audience, and in some cases, selling it to your audience.
I get it. You're busy. But busy is not the same as focused, and busy doesn't equal success. Take a step back to see what you've created.
If you didn't start your blog with a solid content strategy in place, you may be posting randomly to see what sticks. That's exactly what I did with my first blog.
Sure, it has a few gems, but it's unfocused. The content was unfocused because I was unfocused. Even as a communication professional, I didn't stop to create a strategy or plan, or to take stock. This time, I'm taking a different approach.
What Will a Content Inventory Do for Your Blog?
A Content Inventory allows you to:
Track your property
Evaluate the value of your property
Discover if what you're sharing/selling is what you want to share/sell
Trim stray content from your blog
Find opportunities for content upgrades + ideas for new posts and courses, etc.
a simplified Content Inventory
There are undoubtedly multiple ways to do a content inventory. But remember I said I'd walk you through it step-by-step?
The last thing you want is to take off with a disorganized, unstructured approach. On the other hand, you don't need a complicated process that you'll never complete.
How your posts meet reader needs
The approach I suggest is assessing your posts based on the reader's needs. In my opinion, people read blogs, visit websites, and read books for entertainment, enrichment, education, enjoyment, and escape.
By plugging your content into those categories, you get a clear picture of what you're offering your readers. You may be surprised by the results.
Let's say you believe your blog educates your readers. Yet, you review your posts and find 75 percent are directed at entertaining the audience with no educational components.
That's not bad. It just means you need to change the focus of your blog to entertainment, or steer your content toward educating your audience, or work on a combination of the two.
It's fine and expected to have one post fit into multiple categories. However, if you find the majority of your posts are multi-tasking, you may consider tightening your focus.
What to do with wayward posts
You'll likely discover posts that don't seem to fall into any of the categories. Don't worry. This is normal, especially if you're a new blogger.
How to evaluate stray posts:
Does the post fall into another category? If so, what is it?
Is the post legitimately meeting your readers' needs (AKA providing value)?
How is the post performing compared to your other posts? Bottom of the list in page-views? Zero social shares? Or the opposite?
Can you revise the post to add more value? Can you add a content upgrade, such as a checklist or worksheet, to give it a boost?
If the post is providing value, performing well, or it can be revamped, keep it. If not, make the cut.
I know this is tough. But if you want your blog to be reader-focused, your content has to work for them on some level. If it doesn't, it's just taking up space.
My goal is to make this blog reader-focused. Part of that means I'll be trying what I suggest to my readers.
I took inventory of my first blog, Little Known Life, which has a softer focus than this blog.
The reason I started the blog: To share my experiences and knowledge with people.
What I want to offer my readers: Informative, useful, and encouraging posts for creative people.
What I think my blog provides to readers: Mostly enrichment, education, and a bit of entertainment.
Results of the inventory: Posts are mostly providing enrichment and education.
I wasn't surprised by my results, and it seems I'm on track with my original intent for the blog. However, I see room for improvement by tightening the focus of my posts and offering more educational material.
warninG: blind-spot ahead
Self-awareness is a skill not everyone has. Thus, you may have a blind-spot when it comes to evaluating your own work. Again, this is normal.
Your work comes from your heart, soul, and mind. Of course, you view it favorably. Matter of fact, I hope you love what you produce.
The question is: What do your readers think?
You've heard the saying "It's easy to be a critic"? Possibly. But consider your work without input from anyone else. What good is it?
If you don't want input on your work, keep it to yourself. I say that because I've been there, shielding my work and myself from criticism. Thing is--none of us is exempt from criticism. Whether we ask for it or not, people give it.
Your readers are the best judges of your content. They're the ones you want to please, to entertain, to inform. So, you should ask them what they think on a regular basis.
I'll save that process for another post. The bottom line is to talk to your readers, and be prepared to really listen, whether the feedback is good or bad.
Were you surprised by the results of your content inventory? Based on your results, do you plan to take your content in a new direction?
Was this post of value to you? Tell me in the comments.
Hey, now -- Completed your content inventory. What's next?