Fall into DAM: The Autumnal Content Audit

If you haven’t felt it in the air, summer has quickly turned to fall and with it, there permeates a more focused tone in the air.  Autumn is the best time for re-centering, effective planning, strategic thinking and planning ahead for next year. What better way to kick off being back in the grind than by organizing and auditing your content management processes and systems? This way, you can start making necessary enhancements to the aspects that are in disarray instead of waiting until after your content is in chaos.

 

After taking a look at how your current solutions are serving your business, you may find it necessary to implement new systems. If you’re in the market for a digital asset management solution in specific, the time could not be better to begin your DAM journey (depending on your budget cycle). Implementing a DAM system is a huge undertaking. You need to ensure that you have all of your ducks in a row before starting your DAM journey. From gaining endorsement from your team and identifying a champion, to file migration and metadata structures, there’s so much to be discovered about how a DAM could increase efficiency in your content development processes. Below are some tips to help ignite that fire in your belly…

 

  1. Audit your content

If you think you may be in the market for a DAM, it could be because your current content storage and management strategy is a mess. Let’s talk storage first; digital files have a tendency to get disorganized very quickly if there’s not a systematic way of keeping track of things. Our computer desktops quickly get filled with different versions of content (thank you ‘save as’) and suddenly we have become digital hoarders with no hope of finding what we need. If this sounds like you, or multiple members of your content team, chances are finding content requires a lot of back and forth through email or internal chat apps, and pestering team members to search through their equally-as-cluttered desktops.

 

Take an in-depth look at the items currently in your content library. Do you mostly have video files that take up a lot of storage space? Are you drowning in raw images? Figure out what types of files you have in your content library to ascertain what your storage needs may look like.  It’s also important to determine what content is owned by who. If every member of your creative teams store their content on their own computer or personal drives, this will be fairly easy, but if you have a shared folder filing system like OneDrive or Dropbox, content ownership may be more difficult to confirm. The same goes for rights managed assets such as stock imagery or copyrighted music and audio files. Within a DAM, you can easily regulate user access to rights managed assets, as well as see the permissions you have and if there are additional fees to use. The final and most important thing to look at when it comes to your content library is how you’re currently identifying your digital assets. During the day to day grind, we often don’t think about the name of a certain piece we’re working on because we don’t foresee ourselves searching through folders and folders of assets for a graphic, but the use of intuitive file naming and keyword additions is more impactful than one might think. You see, within a DAM, as soon as a file is uploaded, the DAM automatically adds metadata and your users can easily attribute keywords to the file. For video and audio files, features such MerlinOne’s Speech-to-Text Transcoder make attributing metadata extremely easy. The best part is, this metadata makes for the best user experience when searching. Simply type in any descriptive keyword or word mentioned in the asset and the immediate search results will pull files within your library that match that keyword.

  1. Audit your current content workflows

Content creation is arguably the most creative and fun part of the content process, but it also could actually be one of the shortest phases of the content lifecycle. Editing and approvals is where things get granular and discombobulated if there’s not one repository where the right people can have access to the same content. This allows for better collaboration between team members, and a more efficient editing and approvals process. Instead of sending a piece of content back and forth through email chains to have editors look it over, within the Merlin DAM team members can collaborate in real-time. Most digital asset management solutions also offer integrations with popular tools. MerlinOne, for example, offers integrations with Adobe Creative Suite, WordPress, Drupal, Sitecore and has an open API. Examining your editing and approvals process will shed light on areas where efficiency decreases, and things may get bogged down. Once you’ve been able to determine the least efficient parts of your content production process, you can deduce what features of the DAM will be able to streamline your workflows to improve efficiency.

  1. Identify where you’re wasting time & money

The next step is to determine where those processes can become more efficient. Ask yourself and your team members what areas are bogging you down time wise and money wise? Consider the ways in which new technologies could fit into your current processes. If content management is one of your major areas for improvement, consider introducing a more formalized approach with the use of relevant technologies like a robust DAM solution. Automating previously manual tasks through the implementation of new technologies will free up time for more creative tasks such as content creation. Once you have discovered the areas of your current processes where time and money are being wasted, it’s important to set new goals to combat this time suck. For example, if you find that your teams are wasting hours each week searching for the files and content pieces that they need for current campaigns, the implementation of a single repository of assets may be necessary. A DAM solution is a single source of truth for all of your digital content and will prove to be a huge time saver for its users.

 

  1. Formulate or amend your strategy

Now that you’ve completely audited your content library and figured out the time-wasting portions of your existing processes, it’s time to rework your strategy. Ask yourself– how can you increase efficiency and organization for your teams? What manual tasks could be automated through the implementation of a new technology? A digital asset management system may be the answer to all of these questions and internal hiccups that your teams currently struggle with. Implementation of a new technology requires many different things beginning with research of available systems. To help this process go smoothly, it’s important to document your technical requirements in the form of must have’s, nice-to-have’s, and things you could potentially live without. Things to be considered during this stage include where your DAM would be hosted… whether in the cloud, on-premise, or a hybrid solution. In addition, another major question to ask is if you have compliance needs or demand elevated security requirements that this new technology will also need to adhere to.

The aforementioned tasks seem daunting and are probably the last things you want to do after a long, relaxing summer. Though we promise, it will make you feel accomplished and prepared for a more industrious season! The work you put in now to streamline your processes and increase efficiency will ensure a smooth transition into next year.

 

Check out our eBook The DAM Journey Guide to help you prepare for a future DAM implementation, or use it as a resource to assess your needs.