I’ve got a client who has been unable to find key video interviews and archival photos for an important history video project.  These content elements were created with multiple staff and vendors during varioover many years, but were never catalogued into a central indexing system. As a result, the client will spend significant amounts of money either looking for them, recreating them, or working around the missing elements.

This situation has reminded me once again how vital a media library is in a digital age, when content is king.   Whether you invest in content for marketing, donor relations, education or outreach, it’s vital to invest just as much in content management once these elements are created. And yet this is generally where organizations miss the mark.  Understandably, the immediate focus is on the finished product and the deadlines at hand.  And it’s hard to explain an expense line-item for content management. But if you can show it as an asset—as a plus to the bottom line—it may be more clear why it’s so vital.

Here are some key ways to save thousands of dollars with a solid content management system, regardless of which software you use to help you:

  1. Assign a central content manager.  Depending on how many photos and videos you produce every month, this person may need help to get it all indexed, but there should be one point person in the organization who reviews every piece of new content and directs the catalogueing process.
  2. Treat all elements and departments as equally vital to your content mission. For example, if photos are taken of your summer interns, don’t forget to catalogue them just the way you would your board photo. One day you may do a student outreach piece and need to find them, stat!
  3. Let others know when you are investing in new content, in case you can cover additional material that will help their departments or initiatives.  So, for example, if you are taping interviews, you may ask a couple of additional questions that will prompt answers usable for another video.
  4. Advertise your content within the organization. Sometimes the right hand doesn’t have time to know what the left is doing, so be sure people know what content you have acquired that might be useful to their efforts–perhaps in a quarterly internal content update.
  5. Keep track of rights and permissions. For example, for video, make sure you get signed release forms from interviewees and keep PDF’s of these filed digitally along side any video clips from those interviews. For photographs, be sure to keep track of copyright or photographer information, as well as who is pictured.
  6. Keep a master file of all interview transcripts. So many times when producing videos, I rely on sound-bites from a prior interview. This saves my clients time and money.
  7. Use library science standards to create your indexing system. It’s great to have interns and vendors handle your content management work, but be sure they understand the proper way to identify photos or clips. A misfiled piece of content is essentially a lost piece of content.
  8. Get source files/photos/video from vendors as soon as a project is complete! I can’t tell you how many times I have to call around to vendors to see if they still have the masters from XYZ project. Be sure you get this material into your system promptly, while you can still remember who and what it represents.

Video and photos assets are vital tools for organizations to convey what they do, how they do it, and how successful they are. Treat this like the gold mine it is, and you’ll maximize your impact and reduce your costs.

According to Neilsen Research, the percentage of online time Americans are spending with email has dropped 28% from June 2009 to June of this year. Overall time spent on social networks and blogs has increased 43%.  Yet email clearly isn’t dead.  In fact from what I see, its volume is growing exponentially. I’ve noticed an interesting trend among my clients lately–many prefer to be texted about certain projects, presumably because their email boxes are full and they might miss the information.

But as we change our relationship to email and social media, how should organizations respond?  What can you do to use these tools wisely to position your brand and create a good experience for your customers.

Email is still a great way to reach large numbers of customers, prospects, donors or volunteers. Successful email campaigns can drive traffic to your social networking sites, where more personalized interactions can take place.

Make sure everyone in your organization has an email signature that includes your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube locations. It’s common for people in the communications department to have this, but often others in the organization do not and it’s a major missed opportunity.

Use in-person interactions to promote your social media presence. So, for example, your hold phone message could include “please join us on Facebook,” and your receptionist could say the same thing as she says goodbye to someone who’s been visiting in your office.

In your next e-Newsletter, include links with additional information can be accessed through your social media sites.

Encourage feedback to new content or campaigns–people love to comment!  Create a feedback mechanism so that you can then let your customers/donors/volunteers know what the response was.

Contests are great for driving eyeballs to websites and social media sites.

Include polls in your blog posts and tweet them.  Polls tend to get circulated and re-tweeted.

The most important takeaway from the Neilsen’s August research data is not that email is declining and social media is on the rise. It’s that this amalgam of communications tools is evolving. For those of us in the business of creating and promoting brands–both personal and corporate–we’ll need to keep evolving too.