Why DAM is Critical to Agile Content Creation
Marketing teams around the world want to implement agile content creation. Though what often gets lost in translation is the distinction between being fast — and being truly agile. Creating more content, faster is a recently adopted mantra. But it’s not a strategy that leads to the end results brands are looking for — consistent, quality content that’s relevant to audiences at every moment.
High-performing brands are finding that “more” and “faster” is the wrong focus and that they must step away from it. These marketers understand the difference between real agile processes and “fast” — and have invested in better, more sustainable processes for creating rich digital content experiences.
Put simply, they are reorienting to real agile content creation strategies, not “more, faster” strategies. Here’s a look at agile content creation, how DAM plays a crucial part in making it possible, and how you can start to adopt agile content creation.
What is agile content creation?
Agile content creation is all about versatile, on-time, and high-quality content that’s easily accessible to any person, any system, or any channel that needs it. It’s a complex web of process and technology that produces, manages, and delivers all formats of content for each step of the customer journey. Agile content creation can happen fast, but speed isn’t the only goal.
Videos, product images, blog posts, marketing campaign ads, landing pages, email newsletters, sales materials, brand assets, and social media content — all have to be produced, managed, and distributed in unique ways. Because every piece of content is handled by different teams and distributed systems, it’s crucial to have a central repository for digital asset management.
That’s where digital asset management (DAM) comes in. A DAM system provides core capabilities that make the agile content creation process possible:
- One version of the truth: Using one platform for the process of digital asset collaboration means that, instead of some teams using email, others using Dropbox, and yet others using the content management system (CMS), all of the customer-facing teams use a centralized platform.
- Elimination of duplication: Establishing one platform for collaboration means that all contributors — from external agencies to internal cross-functional teams — can depend on assets being available. This removes the inclination for marketers to create derivative assets on their own desktops or shared servers.
- Encouraging collaboration and insight: Because there is one version of the truth that tracks the asset from inception to archival (across its entire lifecycle), the team can see which assets are resonating and identify what is most important at each stage of the customer lifecycle.
While a DAM system is a crucial component to agile content creation, process — including how you’ll use the DAM system — is equally important.
What does an agile content creation process look like?
A great agile content process is like the difference between two guests at a party. Your business can be the person who’s really fast with a comment, but who often insults the other guests. Or, your business can be the whip-smart friend who always has a good anecdote or story, but saves it for just the right moment. We’re guessing you want to be the second one.
Successful real-time marketers create agile processes with teams that use a centralized, capable, and well thought-out method of managing digital assets — enabling speed as a side benefit. These agile content creators have clearly defined roles, workflow steps, and shared values that make sure the process runs smoothly at every step.
Here are a few of the key indicators of a functional agile content creation process:
- Assets are easier to find: Empowering a dispersed team to create and find assets in near real-time is an essential piece of this strategy. This means that there needs to be fast, secure access to assets across the organization.
- Assets can be automatically delivered in numerous formats: Teams need to be able to capture assets in native formats (e.g., on a mobile device or from a specific social channel) and then quickly migrate them to other formats and platforms. A reporter can catch a red-carpet moment (photo, video, audio interview) on a phone, but then needs the capability to transform and publish it quickly to a microsite or content news hub.
- Metadata is automatically assigned: In order to make new and updated assets accessible and findable quickly, it’s crucial to automate as much of the metadata tagging as possible. Rights usage, file format, and even automated metadata mapping help teams ensure their assets are swiftly and securely available for use.
Once you have the key attributes of the process defined, you need the technology to match and enable collaboration, govern quality, and increase content velocity.
DAM and the agile content martech stack
It takes a wide range of tools in your marketing technology (martech) stack to make agile content creation possible. One of the biggest challenges many marketing organizations are inheriting and contending with are legacy DAM processes and tools. These outdated methods and technologies can’t keep up with today’s new, disruptive digital landscape.
Many companies also mistake today’s DAM needs as just an enhanced content management system (CMS). Or, many companies will try to modify an existing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system that was implemented at a time when high levels of governance, rights management, and archival capabilities were needed. Both of these band-aid solutions are misguided and lacking some critical capabilities that modern DAM tools provide.
With a modern, purpose-built DAM platform you get some important features that support agile content creation:
- Insight into assets: By understanding all the different parts and usage of assets, marketers can understand not only which assets provide the best results, but which parts of the assets are truly resonating. For example, maybe it’s the animation of the infographic in a video that brings the idea to life and makes it perform well.
- Optimized display by channel: A great asset management tool provides automated file format conversion options for more efficient management and publishing. It can produce content that is optimized for a specific interface, without necessarily having to create different versions of that same asset. For example, a lower-resolution video can be made available for a slide deck or social channels, versus a high-definition version for websites or YouTube.
- Better brand creative management: Marketers can focus on execution of content marketing programs, without having to constantly worry about and manage against style books and brand guidelines because a DAM platform helps control brand consistently inherently.
Marketers need digital asset management tools to be collaborative and flexible so that assets can be used, reused, and repurposed efficiently across channels. This new, agile process must be focused on the creation, publishing, re-use, and measurement of rich media, while also making it easy to find, govern, and archive assets.
Support agile content creation at your brand
Are you ready to drop the “more content, faster” mantra and start a real journey into agile content creation? It can feel like a big step to take, but once you get buy-in at your company you can work in small increments and build your agile process over time.
The focus on agility over speed requires that management of digital assets be made real in the organization. Creation of rich media can no longer be everyone’s job and no one’s job. The creation, collaboration, management, publishing, and promotion of content-driven experiences must be an actual strategic function in the business. To accomplish this, new processes must be created and new technologies considered.
DAM tools are a critical piece of the agile content creation puzzle. Want to see it in action? Request, watch, or click through a demo to see how our DAM platform, Acquia DAM (Widen), makes agile content creation possible.
Note: This article was originally published on Widen.com.