Welcome to the second tutorial in the Notion for Writing series! Today, you’ll learn how to create and organize a content repository in Notion so you can finally tackle that never-ending TBR pile.
Do you have links to articles, videos, podcasts, and books scattered across dozens of different apps and notebooks? Struggle to keep up with your reading list?
Notion can help you organize all that content and remind yourself to engage with it.
Let’s dive in.
- 1 What is a content repository?
- 2 Why is Notion better than Pinterest and Pocket for storing content?
- 3 Why you need a content repository
- 4 How to create a content repository in Notion: step-by-step walkthrough
- 5 Customizing your views
- 6 Creating a content repository in Notion: wrapping up
What is a content repository?
Your content repository is your digital library. It’s where you store all those books, articles, podcasts, courses, and other stuff you want to save to read, watch, or listen to later.
You might already be using Pinterest, Pocket, Instapaper, or another app to store stuff you want to revisit in the future. But Notion is superior to both apps. (Look, as a fellow Pinterest addict, I know you’re probably doubtful about this. So let me explain.)
Why is Notion better than Pinterest and Pocket for storing content?
Do Pins let you add reminders to go back and read? Nope.
Does Pocket let you take detailed notes in the same entry? Nope.
Notion lets you do both and so much more. Let’s take a look at why Notion is the superior content repository solution.
Customizable, filtered views
Notion lets you get granular with your list of content. You can add, display, and customize unlimited properties. I like to start out with 5 basic fields:
- Title of the resource
- Type or medium (book, article, video, podcast, etc.)
- Due date (for reminders!)
- Status (TBR, complete, etc.)
You can create and customize as many views as you like. For example, you’ll have a masterlist with all your resources. But that’ll get messy pretty quickly. You might want to create views to see only the books on your list, or only the articles.
Notion lets you create new views and add filters so you can easily see only what you want.
Set reminders to make sure you actually read/watch/listen
Have you ever encountered a beautifully designed rich pin and thought, “This is super useful! I’ll definitely read that later!”
Only to pin it to one of your 126 Pinterest boards and forget it exists 5 seconds later?
Because I sure have. More times than I can count.
Before you know it, those pins start piling up. Even in the most meticulously organized boards, I’ve lost valuable pins that I swore I’d read.
No more pinning and forgetting! With Notion, you can add a date field, set the time, and add notifications to remind you to actually go back and read that article, watch that video, listen to that podcast — whatever.
Now, am I saying you should ditch Pinterest? Absolutely not, because it’s far more than “just” a content repository. But that’s a topic for another post.
Unlimited content, notes, and highlights
Pocket’s free plan is great, but it’s pretty limited. Your library isn’t permanent and you’re not allowed unlimited highlights.
Notion solves both of those problems and then some. You can save as much stuff as you want — even the free plan comes with unlimited content blocks.
And because you can take notes right on the page, you’re not limited to a tag-and-highlight organization system.
You can even embed articles, videos, and podcasts right into your Notion pages so you can read and take notes all in one place. No more tab switching!
Tip: Use the Save to Notion browser extension to instantly save articles to your content repository. (Without even opening Notion!)
Why you need a content repository
If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a long list of books you want to read, podcasts you want to listen to, and courses you want to take all scattered in different places.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could save all those Spotify podcasts, Goodreads recommendations, and Skillshare courses all in one place?
Notion lets you do that, plus take notes and organize all those resources however you like.
It’s a dream for organization fanatics like me.
How to create a content repository in Notion: step-by-step walkthrough
Watch the video tutorial above to see how I created a content repository in less than 5 minutes. Or, scroll down for a text-based walkthrough with screenshots.
Step 1: Create a new page for your repository
Step 2: Create your database
Add a title to your new page. Customize it if you like by adding an icon and cover.
Then select one of the databases. I prefer table view, but you might prefer something else.
You can add other views like gallery, board, or list — feel free to play around and discover what works best for you.
Step 3: Add your properties
I recommend adding at least 5 properties in addition to the title:
- URL with a link to the page
- Select for the resource medium — book, article, course, podcast, etc.
- Multi-select for categories — this might include “writing tips”, “social media”, etc. Get as granular as you want.
- Checkbox to indicate whether you’ve read/watched/listened. (This could also be a Select.)
- Date property to remind yourself to go back and read/watch/listen
Add whichever properties you think will be helpful for organizing your repository. You might like to add specific properties for each medium.
For example, if you save a lot of blog posts, you might like to include a “Blogger” field. Or if you save a lot of books, add a “Genre” field. You get the idea.
Step 4: Start adding content
Now that you’ve got your basic setup, start adding content!
The best part is, you don’t even have to open the Notion app to do this. Install the Save to Notion browser extension to easily clip pages from the web in 2 clicks.
Step 5: Go forth and learn!
Now that you’ve got a few entries in your repository, it’s time to dig in. Set aside some time to read the articles you’ve saved to your content repository. Having a date property is super useful here so you don’t save and forget.
If you’re a note-taker like me, you might like to take notes right in the page to keep everything in one place. Just open the page in Notion and start typing away.
This is what the page will look like once it’s open:
Formatting your notes
Notion uses block styling. Select blocks of text and drag and drop them as you like. Drag blocks to the left or right to create columns.
Quick ways to format your notes
- Ctrl+Shift+1 for Heading 1
- Ctrl+Shift+2 for Heading 2
- Ctrl+Shift+3 for Heading 3
- Hover over the block and click the dots on the lefthand side to change text and highlight colors
- “Ctrl+Shift+H” to change your text to the last selected color
- Highlight the text and hover for rich text formatting options like bold, underline, etc.
Embedding content in Notion for easy note-taking
If it’s helpful for you, embed the full webpage into the entry for easier reading, watching, and listening. Not all webpages work, but most do. Here’s how to do that.
Embeds work for most articles, YouTube videos, and even Spotify. To take notes right alongside your resource, drag an empty block to the right-hand or left-hand side like so:
Customizing your views
As you continue to build out your repository, you’ll likely want to create different views for articles, books, categories, etc.
Adding new filtered views
Adding new views is super simple. Let’s walk through it.
Sorting your views
Want to see your TBR list in alphabetical order? Or by due date? Sorting is just as easy as filtering. Here’s how to do it.
You probably won’t want to see all your properties in each view. For example, in your Books view, you already know the Type is “Book”. So you can hide that property from that specific view. Here’s how:
Embedding your content repository elsewhere in Notion
Using Notion to organize your work, blog, or creative writing? You probably won’t want to navigate to the content repository every time you want to read something related to work, blogging, or writing.
That’s where the linked database comes in. This command allows you to embed your repository into other Notion pages for easy viewing. Here how:
Boom! Now you can see your content repository wherever you like.
Any filtered views you create in your linked database on the separate page will not affect filtered views in the main database.
However, any changes you make to the content in the linked database will populate in your main database, so use caution.
For example, if you change the type associated with an article, that change will be reflected in the main database.
Creating a content repository in Notion: wrapping up
Phew! I know this is a lot to take in. Creating your own content repository in Notion doesn’t have to take long. But if you’re new to Notion, it might seem a bit intimidating.
Not the DIY type? Sign up to receive early access to pre-made Notion templates! More details coming very soon!