DAM for Dummies: Introducing Digital Asset Management for WordPress

Digital Asset Management

Last updated - July 8, 2021

The primary goal of Digital Asset Management (DAM) is to help you keep your rich media library in order. Rich media files, including photos, videos, illustrations, and podcasts are essential for the visitor’s experience and help build your online presence.

To avoid spending hours searching for media files, you can use a DAM solution for file storage, organization, and retrieval. This can be in the form of an integrated DAM solution, a WordPress DAM plugin, or a manual code embedding process. Read on to learn about different DAM solutions, use cases, and the benefits of setting up a DAM infrastructure for your WordPress website.

What Is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a business process that helps organizations define how and where they store, organize, and retrieve their digital assets. DAM tools are a subset of Enterprise Content Management (ECM), which handles all of the organization’s content. While ECM handles all the content, DAM primarily covers rich media assets, which are typically Web ads presented as interactive multimedia to users.

Digital Asset Management

DAM processes help organizations manage rich media assets, including:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Audio files
  • Web documents
  • PDFs
  • Spreadsheets
  • Presentations
  • Plain-text files

Keep in mind that a digital asset is only considered an asset when you have sole ownership or a license that grants you rights of usage.

DAM can include a set of guidelines and a suite of technological tools. Basic DAM tools operate like databases. Inside the database, you have records of digital assets. Each record contains metadata, which is identifying information such as name, format, content, and a usage license. Advanced DAM solutions provide added capabilities such as customized cataloging, smart search, automation, access control, and integration with your media channel of choice.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) Use Cases

A good organization system can help make work processes more efficient and cost-effective while promoting simple collaboration between all parties involved.

DAM can help your business in a number of ways, including:

  1. Marketing

Organize all of your branded content and use it on the fly:

  • Use smart search features to easily find the media files you need
  • Create dynamic templates and workflows to improve your content distribution speed
  • Prevent rights disputes by automatically managing licenses
  • Edit media files in real time and get them published faster
  1. Sales

Provide your sales teams with all the information they need to close a deal:

  • Create and share branded proposals and presentations
  • Collaborate with all key players in real time
  • Provide customers with personalized content
  1. User experience

Agencies that deliver huge amounts of content on a regular basis can use DAM to improve the user experience of their customers:

  • Use automation to distribute content faster
  • Create collections and portals for each customer
  • Grant or deny customers access to relevant content
  1. IT

Reduce in-house IT costs and risks by delegating tasks to a third-party DAM provider. Cloud-based DAM solutions often take on the responsibility of managing File Transfer Protocol

(FTP) servers and securing the files.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) Solutions for WordPress

WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS). WordPress holds over 60% of the market share and runs over 33% of all websites. The open source nature of WordPress attracts developers, and the simple drag-and-drop interface attracts creatives and users interested in code-free website design and management.

While WordPress comes packed with many features that simplify web design, the platform’s digital asset management lacks sophistication. You can’t do much in the way of organizing your rich media files in WordPress. Unless, of course, you’re a programmer or a Database Administrator (DBA).

If you don’t know how to use code to create organizational structures that make sense of your files, you can use a DAM solution for WordPress. Below, you’ll find a review of basic DAM plugins and advanced DAM tools for WordPress.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) Plugins for WordPress

A plugin is a software that you can download to your WordPress website. WordPress plugins are written in PHP and integrate with the WordPress system. The benefit of using a plugin is that it helps you add functionality to your website without the need to write or editing the code. For example, a WordPress plugin can add a call to action button to your home page.

Phraseanet Plugin—an Open Source DAM Solution

Phraseanet offers two DAM tools:

  • The Phraseanet DAM software—offers robust capabilities such as smart search, real-time modification, and the creation of database collections.
  • The Phraseanet DAM plugin—offers integration with WordPress for a user-friendly interface.

To integrate with WordPress, you need to download and install the Phraseanet DAM software and then set up your account. Next, you need to install the Phraseanet DAM plugin.

Enhanced Media Library Plugin—a Free Cataloguing Tool

You can use the Enhanced Media Library plugin to create a catalog of your rich media files. This plugin lets you use tags to organize your files. The plugin integrates seamlessly with the WordPress media library, which enables you to use the DAM functionalities inside your CMS. The plugin is free and offers support.

Integrated Digital Asset Management (DAM) Solutions for WordPress

Developers create or modify integrated software to work with other software in the same or a similar environment. A WordPress-integrated DAM is designed especially for use with WordPress. In most cases, that means you get all of the advantages of two systems within one centralized interface, so you don’t need to switch between systems. You can use the DAM solution from the WordPress dashboard while enjoying the ease of use and advanced DAM capabilities offered by your chosen provider.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) Best Practices

There are no set rules that specify how you should set up your DAM infrastructure. DAM solutions vary in capabilities from one provider to another. Choose the solution that best fits the needs of your organization or the specs of an individual project. In a dynamic technological landscape, it is wise to invest in software that provides automatic and regular updates. Software providers use updates to keep the software secure and in line with the needs of the customers.

Whether you’re just starting up with DAM or you’re a veteran looking to improve your infrastructure, make sure to incorporate the following capabilities into your DAM system:

  • Organization—a DAM solution should provide you with the features you need to organize your rich media files. This can include basic cataloging and metadata or AI-powered tagging and automated metadata.
  • Search—the ability to easily find a rich media file can be vital to business continuity. To avoid wasting time searching for a file, choose a DAM solution that allows you to set filters such as file type, size, and folder location.
  • Version control—enables you to save copies of rich media versions to ensure that no data is lost. Thus, if the file is modified, you’ll still have snapshots of earlier versions. You can also use this feature to track the progress of ongoing projects and the contribution made by each collaborator.
  • Access control—allows you to grant or deny access to rich media files. This functionality helps you secure your files by controlling who can access the library and what modifications (if any) they can make.
  • Sharing—when it comes to marketing material, you want to provide people with the ability to spread the good word about your company and product. Choose a DAM solution that makes the process of downloading, uploading, and sharing as simple as possible.
  • WordPress integration—allows you to use DAM features from within WordPress. Integrated tools can come in the form of a plugin, an integrated software, or embedded code. The ‘embedding code’ is a manual process that involves pasting a piece of HTML code in the backend of your website. The code retrieves the media file and shows it on your website.

Wrap Up

There are many Digital Asset Management (DAM) methods and solutions to choose from. Whether you opt for a free tool or a paid license, your chosen DAM should last more than a few months. To ensure stability in your DAM processes, you can choose a solution that receives regulars updates or that you can maintain in-house.

A DAM solution can unclutter your media library and free up your time. At the end of the day, it’s a tool that is meant to infuse efficiency into your workflow. Identify the key features you need for a specific project or on an ongoing basis, and choose the appropriate tool. The more specific you get in your list of qualifications, the easier it’ll be to find the right DAM for you.


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