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7 Practical Tips on Preparing a DAM for Modular Content

April 21, 2022 | Petra Tant

DAM for Modular Content

Personalized content experiences drive brand success, which is why modular content is so valuable. It offers organizations the flexibility and agility to scale personalization, get omni-channel experiences to market faster, and expand into new markets—all while enforcing brand and compliance standards. But marketers may wonder if their content repositories are ready for making the move to modular content. Preparing your content is one thing, making sure your DAM is ready for this change is another. 

Here are seven practical tips for how to prepare and strengthen your content and your DAM for your brand’s future needs.

Centralize your content

Tip #1: Centralize your content

If you want to benefit from the flexibility of modular content and you want to mix and match content on demand, you need a centralized repository that allows complete control of your content. I am talking about having granular control over which content is applicable for which markets, regions, brands, channels and so on. It’s about having the ability to deliberately create a new version or retire content. It’s about communicating and following publishing standards—making sure users understand the digital rights and security requirements around each piece of content. It’s about tracking what happens to your content. And above all else, it’s about accurately measuring what value you get from your content.

Tip #2: Avoid duplication

If you want the ability to track unique relationships between blocks, sets, and experiences, then you should avoid duplicate content—and you should be fanatic about it. When you have duplicates in your DAM, it’s very risky to build performance statistics because they are going to be incomplete or incorrect. Using this flawed information may point you in the wrong direction and end up doing more harm than good.

Embrace relationships

Tip #3: Embrace relationships

I’m obviously not referring to human relationships, but to relationships between content. You should track as many content relationships as possible for your modular content. Only by tracking the relationships between content, will you be able to know which content blocks and sets are being used in experiences, and you need that information for usage and re-use tracking. If your DAM can show these relationships, you will be able to answer key questions like: Where was this content set used? How did it perform? If a content block is changed, which content is affected by it?

Optimize Metadata

Tip #4: Optimize metadata

For DAM librarians, managing metadata on existing content is already a challenge, so having more content objects with modular content will add to this stress. My advice is to look at metadata management critically and optimize where you can.

When it comes to modular content, there is one mechanism in particular that can provide additional relief, and that’s metadata inheritance. Metadata inheritance is when an asset or a content object automatically inherits some or all of its metadata from a parent asset, which it knows through a relationship. For instance, if you want to localize a content set or experience that was created from for your main market or your global market, its highly likely some of the metadata of the localized version will be exactly the same as the metadata on the asset for the global markets. In addition to being more efficient, this process also ensures that if something changes within the original or parent asset, all localized versions will be updated as well.

Tip #5: Use modular design vs. decomposition

Customers often ask me whether they should design modular content or decompose the content they’ve already created. In my opinion, modular content should really start from the beginning of the content journey. While there are technologies that can take your existing content and decompose it into modular blocks, I personally don’t believe in decomposition for the following reasons.

  • The technology may be limited in the kinds of content it can support, which means you will only be able to decompose some of your content.
  • The process will produce an overload of content blocks you may never end up reusing, polluting your DAM.
  • The content blocks may not match up to what you would want to be reusing. The modular blocks need to make sense for your repurposing logic, or it doesn’t make sense to store them.
  • It will be more difficult to identify duplicates.

Tip #6: Connect the source files

Many DAM owners just store file renditions of content, for instance, the PDF rendered from the InDesign file instead of the original InDesign package, possibly created by an agency or creative team. If you’re only storing the output or renditions of creative work, then you can only track the modular relationship back to the rendition, not the actual source file.

To effectively measure performance, you need the ability to track all content instances and experiences from the source file. By doing so you can answer questions like: Where was the content used? How well did it perform? What return did it give us on all channels and all experiences? My recommendation is to start adding source files to your DAM and ask creative teams to add their source files to the DAM once an asset is approved.

Tip #7: Expand your content

The last and most advanced tip is to evaluate and expand your content repository with more types of content. Ask yourself, are you sure all content that is assembled in a content experience is part of your DAM? Remember that content goes beyond images, video, and text to include all the legal and compliance-oriented content you are using today, such as trademarks, copyrights, disclaimers, footnotes, and disclosures for the life sciences or pharma.  

Don’t panic; most people don’t have that content within their DAM. But if you truly want to mix and match content in modular experiences and accelerate time to market, you should really try to store and govern all content centrally to simplify and streamline reviews and approvals.

Next steps

If this all sounds overwhelming, keep in mind you don’t have to conquer this entire journey at once. You can put some of these tips into practice right away; just take it one step at a time—I promise it will be worth it.

When optimized for your DAM, modular content will enable you to scale customer experiences, react to market opportunities quicker, create content faster, exponentially increase content re-use, lower regulatory and brand reputation risks, improve performance of customer experience, and measure the success of all content and content experiences.

For an in-depth discussion on each of these tips, watch my recent webinar, “Practical Tips on Preparing a Content Library for Modular Content.”

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