Digital content creation and usage is up 207% since 2020, and demand for more is putting pressure on marketing departments to keep up. That’s why any organization ramping up its multimedia content output should use a digital content management (DCM) system.
In this blog, we’ll explore:
- What is digital content?
- What are the two types of digital content?
- Goals of digital content
- Business benefits of using digital content
- Best practices for digital content
- Why is managing digital content important?
- What is digital content management?
- 7 digital content lifecycle stages
- What are the benefits of a digital content management system?
- What happens if I don’t use a DCM?
- Top 3 trends in the future of digital content management
What is digital content?
Digital content is any type of publishable media an organization uses online to connect with its audience. This includes everything from text, images, and videos to interactive elements on websites and apps. It’s the material that people see, read, and interact with online, delivered through the internet.
What are the two types of digital content?
There are two types of digital content. Both are used to build specific user experiences for their audience.
- Structured digital content is organized in a clear, predefined way, like data in databases or spreadsheets. It follows a specific format and uses metadata, making it easy to search, access, and analyze.
- Unstructured digital content is more free-form and doesn’t follow a specific structure. This includes things like text documents, videos, audio files, and social media posts. It’s more about the content itself than how it’s organized and can be more challenging to sort and analyze because it lacks a uniform format.
Goals of digital content
The goals are to engage, inform, and connect with your audience online. These three goals work to attract attention, deliver a message, or provide valuable information.
It works to establish your brand presence on the Internet. The ultimate purpose is to create a meaningful interaction with your audience, encouraging them to take action, learn something new, or form a connection.
Business benefits of using digital content
- Wider audience reach. Distribution is quick and efficient, as it’s easily shared and accessed online.
- Cost-effective. Reduces the need for physical materials and can be shared organically on various channels.
- Versatility. Adaptable to various formats and platforms.
- Interactive. Opportunities to engage your audience more deeply.
- Valuable data and feedback. Helps you tailor future content more effectively.
- Boosts brand consistency, visibility, and authority. So you can establish a strong online presence.
Best practices for digital content
- Understand your audience. Create content that resonates with their interests, pain points, and needs.
- Be clear and concise. Get your message across with complexity or jargon.
- Make accurate and reliable content. Fact-check and cite sources.
- Be consistent. Style and messaging should reinforce your brand.
- Create two-way conversations. Encourage interaction and feedback from your target audience.
Why is managing digital content important?
Because your organization is probably producing an overwhelming amount of content daily. On top of that, you might have multiple teams working on different pieces – and the content workflow needs to be coordinated to be effective.
It all boils down to governance. This ensures all your online material is consistent and follows necessary rules or templates. This is particularly important in big organizations, where there is a high volume of content needs and many teams work on different pieces. It involves setting clear guidelines for creating, storing, and using content.
These guidelines cover who’s in charge of what content, who can access certain materials using single sign-on permissions, and standards for organizing and updating content. It’s all about making sure everything runs smoothly and efficiently, keeping content organized and in line with your business’s goals and standards.
If you’re looking for a better, faster, and easier way – consider using a digital content management (DCM) system.
What is digital content management?
A DCM system is a cloud-based tool where content is stored, managed, and published online. It’s a key part of content management systems, providing a secure and scalable way to handle content across various channels.
Team members like content managers, writers, editors, and designers can collaborate in real-time, enhancing efficiency. Besides managing website or mobile app content, it’s also vital for specific platforms like social media, search engines, and email marketing. This tool is instrumental in creating, publishing, and optimizing content, forming an integral part of a brand’s comprehensive content strategy.
7 digital content lifecycle stages
From the birth of an idea to its final display on the web, each stage of digital content management plays a crucial role.
Let’s explore a real-life journey through these stages, using Garden of the Gods Resort and Club as our example. This journey will highlight the importance of each step – from creation to archiving – in ensuring that its digital presence and marketing strategy is as good as its hospitality.
1.) Content creation
The process of generating and developing new content. This can involve various types of content and may be created by individuals or teams within an organization.
Garden of the Gods Resort and Club is launching a new events promotion for 2024. Content creators put together a catchy blog post for search engine optimization (SEO), an enticing video showing their event spaces, and mouth-watering photos of their cuisine for their social media.
2.) Organization and storage
Managing the storage of content in a structured and easily accessible manner. This often involves using content management system (CMS) platform or digital asset management systems (or DAMs).
They use a type of CMS or DAM to store these new materials. The website content (blog post) is categorized under ‘Events 2024’, the video under ‘Event spaces’, and the photos in a ‘Catering photos’ folder.
3.) Version Control
Keeping track of different versions of content is especially important for collaborative work where multiple people may be contributing to or editing the same piece of content.
When the resort’s digital marketing team collaborates on the blog post, video, or photos, version control tracks each edit. If anything changes, they can easily revert to or compare previous versions.
4.) Access Control
Controlling who has access to specific pieces of content. This ensures that sensitive or confidential information is only available to authorized individuals.
The resort’s marketing head controls who can access these new promotional materials. Only the social media team can access and post the final images and videos.
5.) Search and Retrieval
Implementing efficient search functionalities to locate and retrieve specific pieces of content quickly. This is crucial as the volume of content grows.
A week later, the resort wants to repost the event spaces video. Thanks to efficient search functionality, they quickly locate it in their vast content library.
6.) Distribution and Publishing
Managing the dissemination of content to various channels or platforms, whether it’s a website, social media, intranet, or other distribution channels.
The resort strategically publishes a webpage with the blog post, shares the video on YouTube, and posts the images across social media platforms, timing it with a promotional event.
7.) Archiving and Deletion
Establishing processes for archiving content that is no longer in active use or deleting content that is no longer relevant. This helps in maintaining a streamlined and organized content repository.
After a few months, the resort archives the campaign materials for historical reference and deletes any rough, unneeded drafts to keep their system tidy.
What are the key benefits of a digital content management system?
Efficiency and workflow management. Digital content management significantly enhances workflow efficiency. It streamlines the entire process from start to finish, ensuring that collaboration is smooth and bottlenecks are minimized. Additionally, having a system where content is easily accessible and retrievable saves time and helps teams stay organized and focused.
See how the Philadelphia Eagles rewrote the playbook on content distribution with a DCM for sports.
Version control and collaboration. In content management, version control is a game-changer. It keeps track of every change made, ensuring that everyone is on the same page—literally. This feature, combined with tools that enable real-time collaboration, makes it easier for teams, especially those working remotely, to work together effectively.
See how the Special Olympics overcame collaboration across tools and time zones with a DCM for sports.
Consistency, branding, and compliance. Managing content also means ensuring consistent branding and messaging across all platforms. This uniformity strengthens brand identity. Moreover, compliance with regulatory requirements is streamlined, as content management systems can be set up to adhere to specific industry standards and legal regulations.
See how Visit Greenland solved their brand inconsistency challenges with a DCM for hospitality.
Security and access control. The security features in digital content management systems are crucial. They protect sensitive information through access controls and authentication mechanisms. This not only keeps the content secure but also ensures that only authorized personnel can access certain information, maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of the content.
See how Brigham Young University improved content accessibility with single-sign-on (SSO).
Scalability. As a business grows, so does its volume of content. Document management needs to adapt to this increase, handling more data without losing efficiency. This scalability ensures that businesses can expand their digital presence, add more content, and cater to a growing audience without overhauling their system. Essentially, it allows for growth without the growing pains, providing a flexible and adaptable framework that can expand with the business. This means businesses can focus on growth and innovation, knowing their content is well-managed and scalable.
See how the Garden of the Gods Resort and Club simplified visual content management for marketing efficiency and scalability.
Revenue. Your visual assets are valuable for several reasons. If your organization is producing photos and videos that your audience might like to purchase, you could be sitting on a potential revenue stream. For example, university sports photographers shoot photos for the school’s website, social media, and promotional materials. When they build an e-commerce photo store where fans can buy prints to hang on their walls, they can make a huge return on the work they’re already producing.
What happens if I don’t use a DCM system?
Navigating the digital world without any web content management system can be a risky venture for any business. The absence of a DCM system poses significant challenges, from legal issues related to usage rights to the potential loss of valuable assets.
It also risks creating inefficient work environments where content is duplicated or hoarded in silos, leading to wasted time and resources. Understanding these risks is crucial for businesses to appreciate the importance of implementing a robust DCM system.
- Usage rights. If you don’t have a system for tracking usage rights for a visual asset, you run the risk of violating your agreement with the copyright holder (and even facing a lawsuit).
- Loss of brand reputation. Your brand risks inconsistent messaging and unauthorized asset use, leading to potential damage to your reputation and customer trust. All it takes is a single misstep to create a public relations nightmare.
- Increased compliance risk. Non-compliance with industry regulations and copyright laws can lead to costly fines and legal challenges that drain resources and distract your organization from core business activities.
- Lost valuable assets. When you don’t have a centralized library, photos, and videos can get lost in inboxes, hard drives, and desktops. If they’re not backed up, they could be gone forever. Some visual assets can be reproduced (for a duplicate cost), but others are irreplaceable (photos of special occasions, historical images).
- Content hoarders. If team members produce content in silos and don’t share visual assets, your organization is wasting time and money.
- Poor team collaboration. Especially affects hybrid and remote teams. Miscommunication, missed deadlines, and lack of access to content result in demotivated teams.
Top 3 trends in the future of digital content management
Three trends are emerging in many types of content management systems as potential significant shifts in how organizations manage their content and digital experiences.
1.) Internet of Things (IoT): These devices are key to gathering detailed insights into user preferences and behaviors, enabling the delivery of highly personalized content. This not only enhances the customer experience but also ensures content is distributed smoothly across various platforms and devices.
A practical application of IoT is smart home devices. The capability to modify content displays based on individual user role settings and environmental factors.
2.) Voice interfaces: This technology facilitates a hands-free, user-friendly method of interacting with content, greatly improving accessibility and engagement.
Users can easily search for information or receive updates from websites and blogs through simple voice commands. The adoption of voice interfaces in content management systems represents a step towards meeting the evolving preferences of users.
3.) Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: These technologies are already changing the content creation process, curation, and delivery within content management systems.
By analyzing vast amounts of data, AI can predict user preferences and deliver tailored content that resonates with individual users, enhancing engagement and satisfaction.
Machine Learning algorithms can automate content categorization, tagging, and even generate summaries or translations, significantly improving efficiency and reducing manual workload.
The integration of AI and Machine Learning is streamlining content management processes but also enables more dynamic and responsive user interactions.