If you’re part of a team that deals with web content you’ve probably dealt with how difficult it can be (read: pain in the you know what) to wrangle certain pieces of content that are needed for various projects. Whether it’s a website background image, the last 20 blog posts or a few audio tracks, tracking down and managing content can be a constant struggle. Today, I’d like to share with you something I like to do for almost all of my clients who manage a large amount of content online. I call it a virtual content database which is just a fancy way of saying “this is where your stuff is.” Here’s the process for setting up your very on Virtual Content Database
Before you get stared setting everything up, it’s important to identify which content you need to house and why. This starts with taking an assessment of all the content you and your team regularly use. If you’re a web design company it’s probably a good idea to get all of the content (images, code, notes) you’ll be using on a given project and store them in one place. Let’s say you’re a media company and have a series of videos you want to upload to YouTube and Vimeo. Put those bad boys in the database. It’s also a good idea to house a Masterlist of all accounts you and your team are managing. With all of the available channels and platforms it’s easy for a few accounts and their credentials to get lost in the shuffle, so have a list that any one you choose can access quickly. The point is, make sure you organize everything from the beginning, don’t just upload everything and make you or your team sift through a large folder of content.
There are plenty of options out there for storing content online. Dropbox is an extremely powerful tool that a lot of people swear by. Personally, I’ve been gravitating towards Google Drive. If your team happens to be using Google Apps, then going with Drive is a no brainer. Even if you’re not using Google Apps, Drive makes a lot of sense. Drive seamlessly integrates with all of the other Google tools so it makes it a breeze when it comes to actually sharing and accessing the uploaded content. You can also set up your own virtual private folder if you want to do it yourself. For most people going with Dropbox or Google Drive is probably the easiest route but there are certainly other options available.
After you set everything up it’s time to get everyone on your team up to speed. Both Dropbox and Drive are pretty simple to use but it’s a good idea to have a quick catch-up session for everyone who will be using the virtual content database. Once everyone is on the same page they can start uploading and organizing content so everyone has access at all times.
You did it. Don’t be fooled by how easy it was to set something like this up. The power lies in setting up a tool that anyone can access at any time. No more emails that go like this, “Do you have the background for web project X?” or “I need to the credentials for X client’s twitter account.” Now everyone knows where everything is and your team can focus on things that make your business a lean mean fighting machine.