5 ways DAM supports content management strategy
Digital asset management is capable of many things, like the ability to easily store, organize, manage, share, and track high volumes of digital assets from a central location. A robust DAM system also empowers the DAM admin to review an array of in-depth analytics.
A good DAM system goes further than this basic definition, into the realm of content management strategy. Let’s take a look at five ways that your digital asset management solution supports a solid content management strategy.
What is content management?
Content management is the process of handling assets throughout their lifecycle — including creation, development, publishing, and finally to permanent storage (archival) or deletion. There are many types of digital and non-digital assets including stock photos, product images, logos, video files, audio files, documents, film, CDs, slides, etc.
As you can see, this is a very similar definition to digital asset management — which makes a DAM system a powerful tool to effectively manage digital content.
A DAM system can do more than fantastic content management. Why stop at storage, organization, and management when you can also use the system to assist with your content management strategy as well? Here’s how …
5 Ways a DAM can help with your content management strategy
1. Centralize & organize brand assets
A step-by-step approach to centralizing and organizing your assets will improve content management. These tasks are often completed during DAM system set-up but can be done with a DAM that’s already in place.
- First, pool digital assets in a centralized, backed-up storage place. If you’re like most organizations, you’ve got assets stored in different places like local and external drives, shared servers, CDs, DVDs, and more.
- Next determine what to keep, what to purge, and what to archive. You’ll want to be as clear as possible in defining what goes in the archive and what gets deleted so you can have clear guidelines in the future.
- As files are examined, it’s cleanup the collection with tasks like de-duplication, master image retention, and determining which versions to keep.
- Once you’re organized and de-cluttered, it’s metadata time! Your metadatacan be applied in a variety of ways, including:
- Embedding the metadata before implementing digital assets into your DAM system
- During the upload process
- Uploading assets without metadata, and applying it within the DAM itself
These tasks can be handled internally, by a DAM vendor, or through a consulting service. More people are choosing to hire consultants during DAM implementation for smoother set-up and to ensure they get the most out of their system.
2. Use metadata to increase search & SEO power
Metadata is important! It’s the language of your DAM system — a way to define and describe assets in system, typically with keyword phrases and specific attributes of the asset and your organization. Good metadata makes the DAM search process easier and more efficient.
It can also boost search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, especially if you’re adding relevant keywords to your image names. Doing so makes it easier for Google and other search engines to understand the content of your image, increasing the SEO value of the web page, blog or social media post the digital asset lives on. And when the SEO value of a page goes up, so does the page’s authority (credibility), increasing your chances of being found more easily in search results.
Since both digital asset management search and Google search work so similarly, it’s easy to see the value in optimizing your image names, as well as all your metadata fields with relevant keywords and attributes.
The metadata structure needs to be crystal clear to everyone who uses your digital asset management system. So in order to create a successful set of metadata fields, you’ll need to discuss user metadata needs with actual users and potential users — and truly listen to their answers. It can sometimes be surprising how actual user needs differ from the DAM admin’s expectations of what those needs are, making good communication a critical component to setting up solid metadata.
To learn more about metadata please see our article, Taxonomy, Metadata and Advanced Search Capabilities.
3. Store multiple asset versions
Different platforms — like social media, blog, website, print projects, and email — often call for different versions of an asset. It might be as simple as cropping the image size or adjusting the pixels per inch (ppi) of an image to meet the best practices for platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. There will undoubtedly also be occasions where you’ll need to treat your digital assets with different effects, filters, or text overlays.
Each of these iterations will need to be saved as what we call a version of the original (so you do not lose your original, master asset). Within your DAM, it’s versioning that keeps everything organized, clear and easy to find, making it an essential part of any solid content management strategy. Learn more about versioning.
4. Establish roles and permissions to keep assets in the right hands
Typically referred to as user governance, roles and permissions in your digital asset management system ensure that assets are available to the right people, and being used in the right way.
What are roles and permissions?
Think of a role as a gatekeeper, allowing authorized “visitors” access to specific parts of your DAM system, while keeping non-authorized visitors out. Each role has certain permissions associated with it, and these permissions determine how the user interacts with the assets. Typical interactions include viewing, uploading, downloading, adding or editing metadata, deleting, etc.
Roles are usually broad-stroke categories, while permissions allow for an infinite amount of variance within each role. Within a robust DAM system, you can customize each team member’s role to include, or not include, any of the permissions you’ve set up. This is a fantastic feature, making it possible to set up only a handful of main roles, each of which with the capacity to be modified as necessary based on a specific user’s needs.
All users of a DAM system are assigned to one or more roles. Typical roles, also referred to as user types, include:
- Global administrator: someone who has full access to all digital assets and user accounts in the DAM system.
- User administrator: a user who has the ability to create, edit and delete user accounts, as well as change user roles and do things like create system messages or end-user agreements.
- Asset administrator: this role focuses on the assets themselves, and can typically see all assets (expired and published), as well as edit metadata, upload new versions and more …
- General user: typically, a general user can share aspects of user and/or asset admin roles as necessary; fully customizable, permissions can be easily added or omitted by the DAM admin.
Want to learn more about roles and permissions? Check out our article, Understanding Roles and Permissions in a DAM System.
5. Lifecycle policy
Imagine a process meant to help keep your assets relevant and tidy. That’s lifecycle policy. Below is a sample lifecycle policy that’s followed by Cornell University, who’s digital asset management system handles over 500,000 assets.
Sample Asset Lifecycle Policy
- All uploaded assets shall remain in the DAM system for a period of 5 years
- After the 5-year period, non-selected outtakes shall be removed from the system, though Cornell University Photography will retain access to the images offline. Selected images will remain in the system for another 5 years (total 10 years from date of shoot)
- All assets 10 years or older shall be removed from the system on a yearly basis and transferred to the University Archives
Having a simple process like this in place, and consistently enforcing it, is one of the best ways to keep your DAM system from busting at the seams with irrelevant digital assets. DAM’s are built to support policies like this, with automatic alerts on expiring assets.
We hope this article sheds some light on the importance of content management strategy, and how you’re your DAM system can play a significant role in this strategy. For a closer look at content and its relationship to DAM, see our article, DAM in the “Content is King” era.