Have blog posts at your fingertips, save time, and stay organized
Do you spend a lot of time chasing down links when promoting your content?
Want to write new posts, but can’t remember all the things you’ve already written about? Need to brainstorm new blog post ideas but feeling brain-dead?
Then you need a content library! It will keep your blog posts at your fingertips, save you time, and keep you organized. Read on, and I’ll break it down and show you my favorite tool for creating a content library.
A content library is just that — a library of your content. Sure, you have a list of all your blog posts inside your blogging platform, but that’s a bit unwieldy if you ask me.
You can’t filter, tag, or add notes to anything in your blogging platform, and that makes staying organized a challenge. Here’s a few things keeping a content library will do for you.
Note: Some refer to a content library as a content index, so I’ll be using both terms interchangeably in this post.
What’s a Content Library, and Why Should I Have One?
A content index will make promoting your blog a lot easier. Instead of chasing down a URL every time someone asks a question in a Facebook group, you can open up your content library and grab the link.
If you use a social media scheduler to share your content, a content library will help you add your post links without having to search around. Time saver!
Linking to your content within your blog posts is good for SEO. But to link to your content, you must know what content you have.
And when the number of blog posts you’ve written is in the hundreds or thousands, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or forget.
A content library organizes your content by topic and allows you to filter out anything irrelevant, so you can drop a link to one of your posts in the post you’re writing and move on.
No more busting your brain over “have I written a post on that?”
One of the best ways to come up with new content ideas Is by using the content you already have. A content index will help you brainstorm new content ideas by allowing you to see all the posts you’ve written on a certain topic.
By getting this airplane view of your content, you can see what angles you’ve taken on every topic and pinpoint areas where you could create more content, repurpose existing content, or expand on a topic you previously covered.
Now that you know what a content index is and how it can help you, let’s move on to how to use and set up my favorite content management tool.
Imagine a database and a spreadsheet had one-night stand. The result is Airtable. Only without the hangover and the shame.
Although you could get drunk and use Airtable, I suppose. Show me what databases you end up with if you do that, okay?
Airtable is a spreadtable. A databeet. A tool that looks like a spreadsheet and makes creating databases easy.
If you’re not a database rockstar and you’ve ever tried to mess around in a program like Microsoft Access, you’re familiar with what a hot mess it turns into.
With Airtable, all the technical stuff happens in the background. If you know how to enter information into a spreadsheet, you can create insanely useful databases.
The things you can organize with Airtable are endless, but you don’t have all frickin’ day to listen to my yapping. So in this post, we’ll stick to how to create a content index, and I’ll write more about Airtable in the future. Deal?
Getting Started with Airtable
Head over to airtable.com and sign up for a free account. It will ask you a few simple questions about how you intend to use Airtable, and then you can name your workspace. I recommend naming the workspace your blog name:
Like Trello, Airtable is organized in teams. Within each team, there can be several databases, within each database there can be several tables, and within each table there can be several fields with several records. Airtable refers to databases as “bases.”
Okay spreadsheet junkies, I hear you. To compare it to a spreadsheet, folders on your computer would be teams, spreadsheet files would be bases, the tabs in a spreadsheet would be tables, and rows and columns would be records and fields.
Airtable will load a few sample bases into your workspace. You can keep these or delete them all and start fresh. For your content index, you’ll want to click Add a Base and select “start from scratch.”
Setting Up Your Content Library
Now that you know more about Airtable and have your free account, it’s time to set up your content library. After you’ve clicked “Add a Base” and “start from scratch,” give your base a name.
I call mine “Content & Promotion” because I keep more than just my content index in it.
Click on the square with the icon you chose, and you’ll be taken to your new base. Re-name the table by clicking on the tab that says Table 1 and name it Content Index.
Now it’s time to set up some fields in your content index. Airtable lets you pick a custom type for each field in a table. This sets up some rules around the kind of information that can go in each column. For our content index, we want four fields:
- Title (single text field)
- Topic (multiple select field)
- URL (URL field)
- Published Date (date field)
To set field types, click the grey triangle on the right-hand side of the column name and choose “Customize Field Type.” Then choose the type from the dropdown menu.
The title area is a single text field. A single text field allows you to type one line of text and it’s great for short pieces of information.
The topic area is a multiple select field. This multiple select feature will let you apply one or more labels to a row. In your content library, this will be the topic of your blog post.
Since a blog post can have more than one topic, the multiple select feature is perfect. I like to give each topic a different color, so I can differentiate them at a glance.
The URL area is a URL field. This will let you paste in the link to your blog post and make it clickable, so you can click the field and go straight to the post without hunting around for the URL.
The published date area is a date field. This is where you’ll put the date the blog post was published on.
Once you have your content index table set up, you can start adding your blog post information. Don’t worry if you already have a ton of blog posts and no content index.
Start adding every new blog post to your content index now and when you have a few moments to work on your blog you can add the rest of your posts little by little.
When you have some blog post information in your content index table, you’ll start to experience the magic of Airtable. Now you can sort and filter the information by any of the fields you set up.
For example, let’s say you only wanted to see what posts you wrote last month on the topic of Pinterest. Use the filter button in your table to set up topic and date filters, and Airtable will show you the blog posts that meet your criteria:
Add your blog post title, topic(s), URL, and publish date and you’re on your way to a more organized content promotion, creation, and management process.
Here’s what your finished content library will look like:
The beauty of Airtable is that it’s easy to change and customize so it can grow with you as your content management needs change.
Your content index may not look like mine, and that’s great! I encourage you to get creative with the types of fields you create and how you use them.
What do you think? Will creating a content library help you manage the content on your art blog?
I’m a Tucson, Arizona-based writer and artist. My work combines nature, bright colors, and a hand-drawn feel. My inspiration comes from the Sonoran Desert and my weird sense of humor.
My backyard is the wild west and I love driving my Jeep up mountains. I live in an RV with my husband, and when I’m not writing or creating, I enjoy knitting, learning web development, and playing video games.
In addition to creating art, I love creating content that helps those facing creative discouragement create more, share more, say more, and make more. If that sounds like your jam, head on over here to be email friends with me.
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