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Examining the Importance of Metadata in Content Creation Workflows

4 minute read
Michael Shearer avatar
Having detailed content intel gives you a competitive advantage to effectively run campaigns in places where audience visibility is becoming more challenging.

In the road ahead, digital campaigns need rich content data to be successful. Without it, measurement of both campaign and content effectiveness breaks down. Being able to link what asset or media was part of a specific digital experience along with the attributes of that content is essential.

The days are numbered for the old ways of campaign tracking and measurement — this drum is being beaten ad nauseum. But that doesn’t take away from its reality. Execution and measurement is shifting to cohorts and context — no longer individuals. With that shift, you need to know what works for different segments so when you find a winning campaign (paired with detailed content), you can push that combination to other channels. And with nearly everyone being a “walled garden,” having this intel gives you a competitive advantage to effectively run campaigns in places where audience visibility is becoming more challenging.

What Do We Mean by Content Attributes?

Content attributes comprise all the underlying information (or metadata) that describes a particular piece of content. Whether it’s a landing page, video, image or other rich content, the detailed descriptions are fundamental to being able to understand how that content impacted consumers and delivered business results.

For example, if you’re running video ads, what specifically is in the video that makes it work? These could be all kinds of details like emotion, length, core message, buying stage, placement, call to action, theme, music style, featured products and so on. If you aren’t classifying your content with this level of depth, you’re missing out on key opportunities to analyze and improve.

Why Isn’t This Happening With Most Content?

Content success can depend on many factors — some within your control and some outside it. If your content fails to find an audience this could be due to a failure to implement and adhere to a process. Also consider the sheer volume of content being produced by most organizations. Shipping content has become priority number one and getting all the content metadata right is an afterthought — so much so that many enterprise companies have tens to hundreds of thousands of pieces of content that are dramatically under optimized. In their rush to get it published, teams neglect to focus on the steps necessary to describe the content in detail where it resides (usually a DAM or CMS).

This leaves organizations facing major clean-up initiatives to be able to understand content ROI. And that’s no easy task — especially with the major limitations within most content management systems, with the lack of governance and bulk editing being top on the list.

Learning Opportunities

What Needs to Be Done Differently?

If you’re lucky, you actually have documentation defining what attributes each piece of content requires — and perhaps (where necessary) all the data fields built and ready to be populated with metadata. If you don’t, that’s your first step: build out your content taxonomy and data standards definitions.

If your documentation is in order but you still have hoards of missing content metadata, you have a process issue. It’s possible you have no rules in place that prevent content from being published without the required metadata. You may also have a communications gap between the people who are creating the content and those defining processes. Do your content creators even know what the rules even are? Sharing these rules — along with adhering to them — requires a new workflow. But this workflow can’t be dependent on shared spreadsheets or other limited information sharing methods.

Instead, consider using a system that not only readily provides all the rules for required fields, data values, and naming conventions but gets it into the hands of the people responsible for these critical content inputs.

See how Claravine can improve your content creation processes at claravine.com.

About the author

Michael Shearer

Michael Shearer has been fortunate to work in the digital field for more than 20 years — with an expansive career in digital marketing, analytics, operations and more. He is currently the Senior Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation at Claravine.

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