No one knows what I do when I say I am in Digital Asset Management. 

Maybe the term never received acclaim because it sounded boring. Or maybe it didn’t ring a bell for a lot of people. 

I help people find things online or in digital systems that they use as a part of their work. That’s the gist anyway — it turns out to be much more complicated and a bit more interesting than that. 

Because digital assets are you. And as such, can be used to help shape how people perceive you, your brand, your company.

Digital assets are a daily part of life for digital citizens. 

Digital assets are pictures on your computer of your family and friends, your contracts with clients or business partners in PDF form signed electronically, your daily correspondence in the form of e-mails, your SMS messages on your cellphone, the YouTube videos you watch when you should be working, books that you read in electronic form that you might pre-order from, your daily playlist that keeps you going on your commute, the articles you read on news websites, and much, much more. 

Digital assets are essentially golden nuggets of information that can be shared with the world, but too often they are kept behind closed systems for legal, ethical and privacy reasons. 

This article is not about those assets. This article is about the golden nugget digital assets that are freely and openly available on the web that shape how the world sees you and how you can influence that story.

Storytelling and Your Brand

Google Search is telling a story about you when you enter your name into the search box. It may not be one you meant to actively curate, but it’s there, full of digital assets, telling a story about you as individual, as a brand or as an organization. 

It’s also how digital citizens begin their information gathering process to determine whether or not to “buy” you as an employee or as a product or brand. You have access to impacting this story, but not if you don’t offer up your digital assets. 

Publishing digital assets to the web that you choose — for yourself, for your brand, for your business — offers the opportunity to inject tangible bits of authenticity that resonate with “buyers.” Great brands and thought-leaders know how to position themselves for success on the web, and they often have high-quality, supporting digital assets that help them to illustrate their story, to connect with others, and to not only engage with the online world of content consumers but to shape how others perceive them.

What Are Content Hubs?

Aside from downstream e-commerce websites, blogs and other publicly-facing sites showcasing an organization’s digital assets, there is an opportunity for organizations to offer up content hubs to the web. “A content hub is a destination where website visitors can find branded, curated, social media, user generated, or any type of content related to a topic.”

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the Internet Archive could be qualified as great examples of content hubs. You could even cite DPLA as a “superhub” as it offers up a portal that harvests content from other content hubs from around the country. Internet Archive is another great example of freely available digital assets that is also geared towards increasing “Universal Access to Knowledge.” 

The term “Content Hub” is used differently in the academic and non-profits sector than it is in the corporate sector. Content Hubs of the academic world offer digital assets as records, indicating that there is intrinsic value in and of themselves, without the context of an article or media piece. Instead, a descriptive record about the asset provides context for it’s usage and history. 

Academic content hubs also offer exhibitions online that utilize these digital assets in a specific context. Content Hubs in the corporate world often appear much more like a library of blog posts with related media. 

Archival exhibits illustrate the difference in how academia vs. corporations perceive content hubs. The exhibit is a curated and hand-selected bundle of assets laid out to communicate a story or theme much in the same way great brands organize their stories in content hubs. 

The primary difference is the type of content showcased. Corporate content hubs offer up multimedia to the world as personal “On Brand” digital libraries. Corporations often do this in the form of press kits, but the pages are digital ephemera and change with the seasons.

What Story Are You Telling the World?

Think of content hubs as miniature digital libraries that can connect to major web search engines for retrieval. Every brand, every digital citizen, every organization houses records of enduring value in some form or another. An organization must ask itself: What content do we offer to the web to help shape the enduring image of our brand and how can that idea help shape how we are perceived in the mind of our customers?

It may be time to start re-evaluating how we see the content hub and take advantage of the opportunity to utilize them as miniature repositories that house an organization’s “Golden Nugget” digital assets.

Title image "Times Square" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  danichro