Rethinking Online Video Content Management
A couple of weeks ago CMS Myth attended the 2011 FutureM conference in Boston/Cambridge, MA. The event kicked off with a well attended Higher Ed panel moderated by none other than head CMS Mythbuster and Connective DX Chief Strategy Officer, Jeff Cram. The official title of the panel was “Beyond the University Website: The Future of Digital Marketing in Higher Education” and the panel included:
- Perry Hewitt, Chief Digital Officer, Harvard
- Gene Begin, Digital Marketing Director, Babson College
- Tom Baird, Vice Chancellor, University of Michigan Dearborn
- Mike Petroff, Web and Technology Enrollment Manager, Emerson
Many things were discussed as the morning progressed but I was particularly interested in a question and response regarding the role of video in digital marketing. You can check out a video of this segment after the break or watch the entire panel on Youtube.
The question, from the audience, was: “How do you (the panel) see video playing a role in your digital marketing strategy?” Interestingly, making the segment relevant to our CMS Myth blog, the answer trended more towards content strategy/management than marketing.
Gene Begin replied with ideas on prioritization of content, editorial management and building a solid use case for the content. Mike Petroff followed up with thoughts on managing content contributors, seeding ideas and specifying quality standards.
Web based video is on every marketers mind these days and for good reason. Even after stripping away all the other metrics for a successful digital strategy such as reach, engagement or lift, you’re left with what is undeniably one of the best ways to capture and keep your audiences attention: moving pictures.
However, as Perry Hewitt points out in the video segment: “Video is easy to do, hard to do right.” Nowhere is this more obvious than the intersection of video and content management systems. This is something we Mythbusters spend a lot of time thinking about.
So what’s the right approach?
These are very interesting times for managing online video content. In terms of technology there are multiple, well-known, mature solutions like Brightcove, Kaltura and Vimeo. These examples have varying cost structures and features but similar core functionality: transcoding, storage, organization, embed players and a strong delivery mechanism. In some cases they can also be used to create embedded channels, pages or even a micro site. The most basic available ‘players’ are rich with features on the marketing wish list like embedding, sharing and measurement.
Many popular content management systems have plug-ins or modules that allow content editors to upload and organize their video library without having to sign into the video platform administration tool. Although all the platforms I have worked with have rich feature sets within the administration panel, it’s not uncommon for content managers to avoid them. On a number of recent projects I’ve worked on, the client made the decision to abandon the video platform’s organizational structures, such as tagging and taxonomy, and ditch modules or plugins for integrating the platform directly into their web CMS.
Reasons for this decision will vary but from my perspective, unless you are using the video platform independent of a CMS, I encourage it. Managing content and taxonomy is difficult enough without introducing tools that duplicate existing CMS functionality. Instead, let the CMS handle the meta information and relationships between videos and let the video platform handle delivery, sharing and embedding.
This approach also supports a work flow we’ve seen emerge in many cases. Allow video producers to have access to the video platform’s administrative account where they can upload final, edited videos. Once the videos are uploaded and transcoded, embed codes can then be shared with web content editors via email or job tickets with ease. This is a natural way to divide labor and allows the web content specialist to focus on meta information, taxonomy and associated text content.
We’re hoping to discuss the topic of video content management a lot more. What’s your experience? What works and doesn’t work for your organization?