If you are a regular reader of our blogs you’ll know that at Sotic we are beginning to advocate the use of Digital Asset Management to deliver content to websites. Not ready for DAM yet? Here are some things you can do in preparation.

Digital assets include (but are not limited to) content such as photographs, images, design files, logos, presentations, documents, audio files and video files and DAM refers to refers to their management, organisation and distribution from a central repository. We see DAM as the next step in website development.
For more information on what exactly DAM is, check out our blog here.

No doubt there will be a number of things to consider before implementing a DAM system; strategy, budget and buy-in to name some, but while assessing these issues, you can begin to lay the groundwork in preparation for DAM and get used to adopting best practice when ingesting assets. Chances are that many of the assets uploaded to your CMS are not tagged or have insufficient embedded metadata.

1. Make use of meta tag fields in CMS and agree standardised meta description and metakeywords.

Meta tags provide search engines with information about your website and webpages and include descriptions and keywords, both of which you can edit from Content Express within Sotic admin.

Meta descriptions provide concise explanations of the contents of your web page and are commonly used on search engine result pages to display preview snippets for a given page – they also help your own users find what they want on your site. Consider your keywords when scripting your description; they should optimally be between 150-160 characters.

While search engines do not commonly use meta keyword fields to rank pages (this is as a result of people abusing this tag by stuffing it with competitor keywords, unrelated to the webpage) we recommend that you consider your main keywords in preparation for DAM and start to ‘tag’ your assets accordingly. .

2. Naming conventions and alt tags for images

Have a look in your image archive in your website CMS – do you have a standardised format for the file names of your images? Do you include the player/athlete name, the opposition, the date, the venue or are you image file names something more akin to image1234.jpg?

Agree within the company how you would like to name your files and consider the type of terms people may search for when doing it, for example,

Brian-O’Driscoll-Zebre-Italy-October2012

Renaming images already saved in your image library on the CMS will break the links in your content, however, why not agree naming conventions and start using this format immediately? It will save you so much time going forward.

Also, make use of the Alt Attribute field within in Content Express and Manage Content. Alt tags are short snippets of code that allow you to tag each photo on your site with a short piece of text.

3. Adding file properties and tags to downloadable content

Before you upload any downloadable content to you site don’t forget to add the file properties and tag it. This applies to words documents, pdfs, images and audio/video files.

File properties display information about your files, such as the name of the author and the date that the file was last modified while tags are undefined and allow you to ‘tag’ your asset with keywords or phrases that make it easier to find.

In order to tag your content you should first agree a ‘taxonomy’ which is a set of organisational keywords – Sotic can help you do this.

For example; if you want to upload a coaching document, how do you tag it? It is filed under coaching, coaches, level 1 coaching, coach education? If you have not agreed the taxonomy then tagging will be very subjective.

Share this with other staff and suppliers such as photographers (who will probably already populate some of these fields as a matter of course).

In most programs you will find the option to add properties/tags/information under the ‘File’ tab. In MS Office, go to File/Info, in Photoshop it is found at, File/File Info.

Here’s an example of the screen in Word

word-screen

Even without a DAM system in place you can begin to change how people within your organisation ingest digital assets.

The end-game is that all assets are uploaded in a consistent format thus enabling standard searches across all digital channels. Make the most of any future investment in Digital Asset Management by adopting good practice now.

If you are interested in hearing more about Digital Asset Management or would like help in drawing up a meta data strategy, please contact John Ludlam on 0207 691 2450 or email john.ludlam@sotic.net