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Use Case: Content marketing without material chaos – get a grip on your content

If you have a good sense for what interests your user, you have a valuable collection of information and sources. But these remain all too often unused because they are not systematically archived and are thus quickly forgotten.

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In the collating of relevant sources and the editorial planning for content publication, masses of information are collected every day. To not get bogged down in this information jungle, you need a functional storage system for all files, figures, and content that you want to use within the framework of your content marketing. A relatively unpopular but very helpful tool for this is Microsoft’s note-taking app: OneNote. In this article, I will show you how you can easily turn it into a systematic information storage system by using several practical add-ons and apps.

Storage without a system costs time and stress

Many people store interesting, selected content locally in bookmarked folders that might be labeled "Read urgently"! or as screenshots on their desktop or in their downloads. This, however, is wrong. This is about the same as if you were to hide a chest of gold in a hiding place that is so secure that you are guaranteed to never find it again, in the cellar, for example. And then it is as if you throw away the key. But all joking aside: Every day, anyone who is active in content marketing sharpens his or her eye for information that is appropriate for his or her marketing strategy and relevant to his or her target group. It would be a shame for any information, any file, to be lost because it has been stored in a way that is simply untraceable.

Even if it sounds like a lot of work at first: you can decrease your workload significantly by using a storage system in which every bit of information and every file is stored in a secure location. Just like your cutlery drawer - you can probably reach for the fork without even looking, right? Why shouldn’t it be the same with the GIF you found two weeks ago?

Microsoft’s free note-taking app OneNote does not just facilitate the structured storage of material - you can also discuss contents using the app and can always use the stored information as a source of inspiration and a helpful tool for republishing. In this way, OneNote has grown into a guarantor of inspiration and information for valuable content – valuable because selected by us – within a short amount of time.

Your storage system functions like your cutlery drawer: Intuitively

A brief introduction to OneNote: Like its Apple counterpart Evernote, the free note-taking app makes it possible to create notebooks. These notebooks contain individual pages on which popular links, files, text, and free-hand text or sketches can be stored and categorized. Notebooks can be shared, so that all team members can edit and comment on them.

Let’s take the sample notebook: "Paris trip planning". We’ll divide it into the following sections:

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Figure 1: : It looks simple - it is simple. The sections provide clarity in the notebook.

You can imagine these sections like dividers in a folder. Within the sections there are individual pages. In our example "travel" it could look like this

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Figure 2: On the individual pages, there are categorized sources, texts, and notices

Using a double click, texts, files, or links can be introduced to each place on the OneNote page as desired. Links, GIF, infographics, and inspiring texts contain several pages to give you a better overview.

The individual pages ensure that the information can be precisely accessed. This can help you with content curation, as well as with republishing, because new features, graphics, and other information can be added in the marginal notes for each topic. As soon as sufficient current information on a text has been assembled, the previous version is reworked and, finally, the updated form is published.

With two clicks, automatically store information where you can find it again

A sensible storage system requires that you can store the information as uncomplicatedly as possible - otherwise you won’t want to use the system any longer. For this purpose, apps and expansions can be used that not only simplify storage, but also in part automate it. Two (likewise free) applications are especially suitable for this:

1. OneNote Web Clipper

The add-On Web Clipper makes it possible to store any kind of information in the desired OneNote notebook. Also practical: the source of the information is stored in addition to the date.

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Figure 3: Amazingly, the Web Clipper keeps getting more user-friendly.

As can be seen on the screen, you can choose exactly what you want to store: A screenshot, the entire page, just the text (without advertising displays), or bookmarks on the page.

A relatively inconspicuous expansion that saves a few clicks. With an average note taking of ten sources per day, this is already a significant number of clicks and time that is saved. This means that I don’t have to sort information - I simply drop it where I want to find it again in the next step.


IFTTT allows you to automate processes, in that it connects two apps you are using and carries out an action as soon as the trigger you have defined occurs. The mini-programs are called applets. The following are a few examples:

  • Send an email newsletter with relevant content to a specific notebook:
    If an alert or newsletter contains information that you would then like to curate and pass on to your readers, the appropriate mail can be sent to the appropriate notebook. (Link to the applet: http://ift.tt/2iPj1n4)

  • Automatically send screenshots from your cell phone to the notebook:
    Screenshots from your smartphone, which are stored in a folder you have named “OneNote”, are automatically stored in the corresponding notebook. (Link to the applet: http://ift.tt/2j7PaHu)

  • Send “liked” tweets to the corresponding notebook:
    If you refer to tweets, another applet can store all your “liked” tweets in a corresponding notebook. (Link to the applet http://ift.tt/2ikbGzQ)

Tasks that are regularly repeated can thus be fully automatically processed. If you don’t find the service you need in the applets mentioned above, it would be worthwhile to familiarize yourself with the operating principle of IFTTT. After a brief training, you can create individual applets that can be tailored exactly to your needs.

Create content and transfer it directly to OneNote

EIt is an issue of working methods - but those who engage with it can tangibly improve the efficiency of planning, creating, and publishing content with OneNote.

Let’s take this entry as an example: For this, I have named a page "cooperation" in the notebook "Content marketing". After the initial brainstorming on my tablet, I was able to assign the respective sources to the individual points. Moreover, pages from other notebooks can be connected to this – for example, those on which I have stored all my bookmarks.

The rough design in key words helps me write the article and later gives a crisp overview about the article’s core subject. When the text is finished, I can store it in the section "Archive". Thus, I always have an overview of all the articles that I have written for a specific cooperation partner.

Storing all my sources directly in one spot and not having to laboriously search for them has proven to be a great time saver again and again. Regardless of how you organize your notebook, it is always advantageous to know automatically where you can find a piece of information. This is often faster than using the search function in my operating system.

Everything in one place – but don’t lose sight of the big picture!

You will soon save a lot of valuable time when you’re ready to store all relevant information and sources where you would look for them as you write or post. To keep it this way, however, it is important that you manage the information efficiently. Simply moving the chaos from the bookmark list and the "Read!!!" folder to OneNote naturally does not help in the long run. So, you should establish rules for handling the information.

5 rules to keep your information current:

1. Keep the amount of information manageable
I approach our OneNote information archive as I did trade journals earlier: I will only retain a manageable amount of information. If this amount is exceeded, the following rule is in effect: For each new attached source or piece of information, one saved one must be removed. Generally, it is the oldest, because still older than the newspaper from yesterday is the viral cat post that everybody already knows.

2. Remove or archive old sources
You should now and then sort out old sources or figures. You can use the time that you save through clever storage to invest in keeping your notebooks up to date. Chaos makes these pages confusing. Confusing storage makes for more work - and takes the fun out of systematic storage.

3. Trial Trash
If you aren’t sure whether you might still need a piece of information, you can place it in "trial trash". Create a section in your notebook in which you move the unused files and create an expiration date for this information. For example, if it has still not been used after 4 months, it can be deleted. If you still don’t want to lose it, see tip 5.

4. Categorize information
To be able to simply cluster your information, OneNote offers the option of supplying it with a category label. Some may appear admittedly superfluous. Nevertheless, with the label "tasks", notes are automatically supplied with a box to check off, something that has shown itself to be particularly practical, especially when on the go. I especially like to create to-do lists in the app, which I can then pull up and process in ICE on my smartphone.

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Figure 4: The label allows information to be easily categorized via the search function.

5. For special treasures: Create a glossary
In OneNote, you can likewise create lasting information and, above all, links to relevant sources together on one page. Thus, for example, your bookmark list will remain clear in your browser and above all will fulfill its original purpose — to give you quick access to pages that you regularly visit. You can sort other interesting sources that you might want to use later by topic on your notebook’s holding page.

Gain more time with the right systems

You need a system to be able to see all the sources, to-dos, and already-created content for your content marketing at any time. Microsoft’s OneNote is a very solid basis for an app, giving you access to all your data. Through intelligent connections and a reputable search function, search times are drastically reduced, which can mean a tangible saving of time during the week. And one more tip: If you're stuck, @Microsofthilft employees will respond to you quickly on Twitter.

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Published on Mar 20, 2017 by Jürgen Kurz