Why content management is so important
Welcome back to PowerPoint training online. Today we are going to be looking at content management and why it is so important. This topic is important if you are a trainer or somebody that builds a lot of slide decks that get updated over time. In my role as a trainer I had to write technical pieces about smartphones. Smartphones change every year. Unfortunately. So, the content that I created never did last very long. And working in a regulated environment, I also had to make sure that I had records of every little change that was made. This made content management mandatory not just a nice to have.
Luckily, content management is something that is easy to do. If you do it from the start, which I didn’t. There is nothing worse than starting to do content management when you have already created dozens of slide decks or training packs and need to catalogue and categorize everything.
What is content management?
Content management is simply the act of managing your content. It includes stuff like keeping a tidy folder structure. Having a version control system in place. Updating material on an ongoing basis.
These are some of the things you need to do to manage your content.
Why is content management important?
The biggest reason, in my opinion, is to make sure you are always delivering fresh and engaging material. You never want to be in a position where you have a slide that shows last years model or survey results from a few years back. People will know when you are giving them old information and you as an expert will start to fade. People won’t want tom listen to the same facts that they heard in last years presentation. They know it already. They were probably there too.
But when you have content that is ready to go, you will feel more confident when at a drop of a hat you are told you need too present something.
Keeping organized will also help you to find your content when you need it without adding hours to the task.
How do you manage content?
There are plenty of tools out there that have been built with a sole purpose of managing content. These are called Content Management Systems or CMS for short. They can hold and deliver content and then let you update them so that you can make sure you always have the latest content available. They will also push old material to an archive giving you version control.
But these all cost.
You can use a spreadsheet to manage most of it.
But to truly manage content you need to do more than just create a spreadsheet with names and version numbers.
Here is what you need to do.
Have a folder structure
Having a decent folder structure will save countless hours and will save you from headaches looking for the same content every week. It is always good to have an assets folder. This will contain content such as images, graphics and video. This is stuff that you can reuse over and over. Giving it its own folder will allow you to find it every time you need something from it.
I would also suggest having an archive folder. This will allow you to keep old content but keep it out-of-the-way. Making sure your folder structure is tidy will help you find content quickly.
Have a master version control sheet
I have found a way to keep track of version controlled software easy using nothing but Google Sheets and Google forms. I used to just use Excel. It would be a case of creating a spreadsheet with titled columns. Then I would have to fill in each row every time I updated a slide deck to a new version. But now I use Google slides and forms.
I have created a Google form. Where each question is a title for my spreadsheet. I then just need to fill in the form every time I update content. I have then added a couple of formulas to the spreadsheet so that I can easy create categories without me having to split the spreadsheet or do the extra work. It is all done for me.
The version master sheet will tell me:
- Name of the content
- What category it goes into
- Date of edit
- Who made the edit
- What the new version number is
- Was the edit approved
Have a slide deck summary sheet
Next up I always create presentation summary sheet. Some people use Word/Docs, some use Excel/Sheets and some use the PowerPoint itself, me, I use Google sheets. The main reason for this is that it links in very well with other Google sheets that I have created, like the version master sheet. By linking the master sheet, I can update my summary sheet every time I update the master sheet. This saves me having to update content in different places
The summary sheet will tell me the following:
- What the presentation is about
- Trainer notes (on a separate sheet)
- What the current version is
- When it was last updated
- The location of the material
- If there are any handouts or assessments linked to the slide deck
- Location of these handouts and assessments
- Version numbers of all handouts and assessments
- Who wrote the material
- Was it approved?
- Who can deliver the material?
Keep an eye on content
It is important that you keep an eye on your content. You need to make sure that it is always relevant and not missing any information.
It is up to you and your industry how often you check and update your material. If you are in an ever-evolving world like the tech industry, then you need to make sure you check it at least bi-annually. If you work in the antiques industry content may not need updating as much.
It is always important that when you update content you move the older file to an archive folder, this will prevent you from using the older material by accident.
Tools to help manage your content
These are the best tools that I feel are great to help you manage your content.
- Google slides or Microsoft Excel
Google slides is a great piece of software. You can use it to cut the time out of your admin work. Slides makes it possible to link sheets to each other to help you from doing double or triple the work. Excel is also good for this but only if you are using the desktop version. The online version does not link very well.
- Google Forms
Google forms can be used to save you time in typing in a spreadsheet. Use a form to help you capture content names, version numbers etc. It is also a good idea if you share your work with others but do not want to give them access to the master version control sheet.
- Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive
Both cloud storage systems are great to use for building a file structure. They are available anywhere that you have a network connection. They are also available on PC/Laptop, mobile and tablet. I fond Google Drive better as you get a better storage limit with the free version and Google docs, sheets etc do not count towards your storage. However, if you have an
Office365 subscription you will get 1TB of storage.
Or you could pay for a presentation management software. Some of the bigger names in the industry includes:
I have never used any of these, as I prefer to use my own system as described above. If you have ever used any of these please feel free to add a comment below about them. I would like to hear the pro’s and cons of them.
Hopefully you can see how important management systems are and how even easier they are to implement. You do not need to spend thousands of pounds too set one up. Setting up a content management system before you start creating presentations will save you heartache down the line. There is nothing more painful than having to go through all your content, changing file names to include version numbers. Creating a work book that can link between different workbooks.
Trust me, I am speaking from experience on this one. It was hard work. Especially when you have lots of content that is all over the place.
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Till next time,
P.S Thank you to Freepik. The image above was designed by Freepik