Apply the spring-cleaning concept to content libraries – keep, update, pitch
There have been so many storied libraries in our time. The Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library – New Haven, Connecticut, USA, The Library of Trinity College – Dublin, Ireland; and the Library of Congress – Washington D.C., USA.
As impressive as the aforementioned may be, none of them compare to the overstuffed content library file folder on your desktop labeled, “insert innocuous or confusing name here.”
There is no doubt that the assets housed in this folder contain solid, if not great, content. But over time, we have created and kept folders, sub-folders, duplicates, and outdated versions of our most exemplary ideas. Deep sigh, and it’s time.
With spring’s sense of renewal as our inspiration, let’s get out the digital brooms and clean up the gothic columns and medieval arches of our once beautifully constructed content libraries.
Audits bring hard-to-find content to our attention. As daunting as it may sound, a thorough audit means analyzing all our assets and setting firm criteria for what we should keep, reuse, or pitch. Audits will also help us flush out any duplicates, relevant content, or dated materials.
It’s common to come across hard-to-get-rid-of content that we’ve spent a significant amount of time building or that we’ve grown attached to. Stick to your criteria when deciding what to keep/pitch. Be sure you have a straightforward process to determine what to keep, reuse/update, or pitch. A couple of other tips:
- Repurpose content rather than reinvent it; if possible, it will save you time.
- Link content rather than copy/paste, so it is constantly updated.
This step can feel cleansing or terrifying. Remember that you’re not getting rid of everything; you’re just getting rid of the clutter. Over time, outdated content accumulates, bogging down systems and making it harder to find needed content.
Using similar thinking as you did for the auditing, develop a process for pitching. Knowing when an item becomes outdated, duplicated, last used, etc., can help determine when the content’s end of the life cycle is complete.
For example, remove the old version from your content library if compliance training is updated.
Close your eyes and imagine a world where all your content is searchable, reusable, and easily maintained. Now open them and separate your content by job role, topic, and content type. Using smart tags is another excellent way to tidy and reorganize your content closet.
Why do we put off cleaning out our content folders? Because we know what lurks within, and it’s easy to get busy with other pressing tasks. However, when the mood and necessity strike you, a solid plan and a bit of digital elbow grease can help you get your content organized. Your content-dependent colleagues and your future organized self will surely thank you.
Now, how to maintain your content? That’s a whole separate blog.