Published on February 2nd, 2011 | by Rahel Bailie3
The content inventory
Before you can envision the future state, you need to know the current state and determine the gap. The first step in that process is to inventory the content. Be clear – at this time, the Excel spreadsheet is a content strategist’s best friend. If your client has a way to scrape their CMS for content, you can get a content dump. If they don’t have a CMS, or their IT department isn’t particularly cooperative, you may have to do this manually.
In the spreadsheet, you’ll need to include the minimum of the basics:
- No. – Numbers that would correspond to a wireframe (home page is 0.0, the main menu items are x.x, and so on)
- URL – To track page location; particularly helpful when you sort the columns and need to find that needle in a haystack
- Page Title – What the page is called
- Parent Section – Which site section the page is from
- Page Description – Description of the page contents (which may or may not match the URL, browser title, or page title)
Optional elements can be things like:
- Components – To capture the building blocks within a CMS, such as addresses, contact information, or product descriptions that get integrated into a larger body of content
- Browser Title – What the page is called in the browser tab
- SEO Information – meta description and keywords
- Template – the name of the existing template in the CMS
And so on. The idea is to have as much information as you can get your hands on about the existing state of the content. Note that this is for web content that lives in a content repository that feeds the website; if you’re talking product content that is created in a component content management system or product information system, then it makes more sense to get that information directly from that system.