Enterprise content marketing teams create lots of digital assets. Managing all these requires collaboration between your content operations staff and technology partners, both of which are critical parts of your ecosystem. A big part of this organizational effort is a reliance on metadata. Metadata management can be complex without the right strategy and systems (like a content marketing platform) to support it.
If you’re new to the term metadata management or want to learn how to operationalize it, keep reading to get the scoop.
What Is Metadata?
Among all the data that is created and stored within your internal systems, metadata is data that provides information or context about other data. It doesn’t reflect the content of the data. In most cases, metadata is used for classification, discovery and identification.
Check out this short video below that explains all the intricacies of metadata.
So, why is this important in content operations? As noted, you have lots of assets. Your team could be completing hundreds of projects each month, which involve lots of documents. It would be impossible to organize and track these without metadata.
That leads to metadata management.
What Is Metadata Management?
Metadata management is a process and approach of governing “data about data.” It gives meaning to and descriptions of digital assets within an organization. It enables you to derive value from data by improving usability and findability. It can play a significant role in content planning in several ways:
- Classification: Use metadata to organize and categorize your content. Examples could be content types, different product groups, audience segments, internal vs. external, etc.
- Gap Analysis: When leveraging metadata for reporting, you can identify gaps where your content output has been too heavy or light. Ex: we haven’t covered topic XYZ enough.
- Security: Some digital assets may need a security setting to control distribution. Confidential documents or IP (intellectual property) could benefit from this, requiring validation before access.
- Capturing sentiment: Metadata can identify user ratings of content, providing you with insights on what resonates with them.
- Searchability: Finding digital assets doesn’t need to be time-intensive and inefficient. By having search as an option, anyone can find what they need fast.
Metadata can be useful throughout the content lifecycle, from creation to distribution to measurement.
Now that you understand the concept of metadata management, what does that look like in real life? And what benefits can you expect?
Creating Metadata Governance
Before you can find value from metadata management, you’ll need to develop guidelines that every team member understands and uses. This content taxonomy will look different for every company. Here are some basics to consider when devising your taxonomical structure:
- Persona: Who is the target audience for this piece of content?
- Buying stage: For which stage (ex: awareness, consideration, decision, etc.) is this content piece best suited?
- Products: What products or services does the content pertain to?
- Industry: Is the content vertical-specific?
- Geography: Is the content for a particular geo or language?
- Publish and expiration date: When did you publish it, and when should you revisit it for updating?
- Content type: What format is the content (i.e., blog, infographic, video, whitepaper, ebook, etc.)?
- Distribution channel: Where does the content live, and how will you distribute it (i.e., website, social media, email marketing, third-party sites, etc.)?
- Content owner: Who is the owner of this content (i.e., content team, sales, product marketing, etc.)?
- Resources: What roles did the content creation need?
- Content cluster: What content pillar does the content fall under?
- Campaign: Does the content support a specific campaign?
- Compliance-related: Is the content subject to regulatory scrutiny?
- Governance: Is this piece evergreen? Or is it a more timely topic that will need maintenance in the near future?
With all these contextual tags, you can have visibility over various segments. That will become very useful in many ways.
Metadata Management Use Cases and Benefits
So far, we’ve talked about metadata in general terms as a model. But how does it relate to the daily production of content?
Metadata Creates a Hierarchy
Organization of your content is critical to its lifecycle. Metadata provides that foundation to enable you to categorize assets in whichever way that is valuable to you. And the more content you create, the larger your ecosystem becomes.
The hierarchy works for you by grouping like content by content clusters, formats, products, audiences, or any other segment. That way, when you have a new project that falls into this, you can easily find existing pieces. Doing this ensures consistency of messaging and opens the door to repurposing past assets so you’re not wasting time duplicating content.
Metadata Enables Content Inventory Analysis
Remember the tags above? This is where they demonstrate their usefulness. Content audits are essential to ensuring your content aligns with your content strategy. It helps you identify gaps and opportunities. With metadata, content audits are much faster. You can search by tag to assess inventory.
For example, if you’re planning a new content campaign to target a specific segment, you’d want to look at personas and industry tags. That gives you a starting point for your new tactic and how you can leverage existing assets.
Such an endeavor would be painfully manual without metadata management capabilities.
Metadata Can Be a Factor in Compliance
Many industries, such as healthcare and financial, must factor compliance with regulations into content. Failure to do this could be costly. For example, pharmaceutical companies must adhere to strict guidelines regarding medication promotional content. Regulatory bodies could demand an audit of content to ensure compliance. Metadata explains what the assets are about, the date of publication, and much more. Having such a system can ease worries and concerns about compliance.
Personalization Is Easier with Metadata
Another critical use case for metadata is personalization. That’s a priority for most companies, as they know it leads to better engagement. When making plans for dynamic personalization, metadata informs you what assets you have that fit each buyer segment, industry vertical, or persona. You can then quickly determine what you need to create to launch the campaign.
Additionally, you can repurpose content. For example, your company serves multiple industries. You built out one nurture series for vertical A. Months later, you’re ready to develop one for vertical B. Look back to the assets tagged from that campaign. What can you use from this that just needs some industry-specific adjustments? That will save you lots of time and resources!
Metadata Management: Powering the Data-Driven Future of Content Marketing
These are just a sample of what metadata can deliver for your content marketing operations. It may seem like a huge endeavor, but it can be easy and convenient with the right technology. DivvyHQ comes equipped with a very robust tagging architecture and metadata management capabilities, built especially for content marketing. If you’d like a quick walkthrough to see these capabilities in action, request a demo today!