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By Ricky Fritzsching

Account Director at Brightcove

Building Blocks for Video Strategy: Why Taxonomy is Critical

Brightcove News

When an enterprise embarks on a new video initiative, beginning the process can seem daunting and overwhelming--even unmanageable. So, what's the solution to ensuring that any major brand with a video presence can easily, effectively organize all of their content assets--photography, text, graphics and video--for maximum benefit? In one word, it's taxonomy. More than just a process you learned about in tenth grade biology class, taxonomy takes on new meaning when applied to content management. In fact, the major global enterprises I work with have created familial, hierarchical relationships in order to classify their online video content and to make certain that the visual content they have so heavily invested in is easily searchable and ultimately contributes to the bottom line. By creating a game plan for video content tagging and metadata, enterprises can track and understand the complete end-viewer experience.

Okay--so now that I have convinced you that your organization needs video taxonomy, how do you get started? My top "tricks and tips" include:

Think of taxonomy as pouring the foundation for a house
Pouring a foundation and watching cement dry and solidify is not exactly exciting. But, it's necessary; without the foundation, your house wouldn't be a stable shelter--its primary purpose. Taxonomy should be viewed in the same context. For instance, if your videos aren't reaching your target audiences, why bother? After you have aggregated all of your video content, but before you have uploaded to Video Cloud and distributed it to your Web properties, you must identify and confirm the destination where that video will live, and how it will interact and interface with all of the other content that lives on your website.

Assign a patriarch of your taxonomy
Taxonomy requires strong project management and accountability. Somebody has to own and maintain the process to ensure that the "engines are running," and that taxonomy is actually accomplishing what it sets out to do--which is to drive awareness and engagement for video content.

Create templates and placeholders
To account for new content that will undoubtedly join your taxonomy in the future, create templates for various types of content (perhaps organized by news items, products, thought leadership platforms or corporate initiatives) and assign placeholder classifications. Then, when you need to update your featured video, for instance, you can rest assured that it is already tagged and "taxonomized" correctly in alignment with your search engine marketing goals.

Be flexible
A taxonomy is never complete. When your organization releases new products or new features, be nimble enough to adjust your processes. New "grandparent/parent/children/grandchildren" or "aunts/uncles/cousins" designations will have to be created, updated or even deleted. All of your content needs to be viewed through the taxonomy lens in order to measure the success of all video on the same playing field.

Have fun with it
Just like you may dread cleaning out your garage or organizing your closets, nobody really wants to make the effort to analyze video content and assign it to family roles. But, it's necessary. And, you'll feel so accomplished when it’s complete. My advice? Have fun with it, and do it in one fell swoop. Bring all of your brightest minds into a conference room for a marathon whiteboarding session. Agree on metrics and processes at the outset. And, bring in pizza, beer, and a few bottles of wine to make it all just a bit more palatable for those involved. You won't ever regret investing the time and energy necessary to establish an enterprise video taxonomy.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on video taxonomy, as well as insight into your own taxonomy experiences. Please let me know in the comments section.

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