Using tags for collecting, organizing and publishing content

Strategic content tagging is one the most overlooked practices online today. Using them strategically not only helps others find your stuff, but it helps you repackage and repurpose content easily and in very targeted ways.

If the basic concept of tagging confuses you – check out this “Tagging 101″ tutorial from ZDnet:

Many people associate tagging with Social Bookmarking – which is a very powerful (and useful) concept worthy of a conversation on its own – Jason Falls provides a great explanation about this on Social Media Explorer.

Most organizations are overwhelmed by the fact that their content and resources live in different places (especially in a web 2.0 world). My organization has content on Flickr, YouTube, Slideshare, Delicious, and have several blogs and podcasts. I also use google news and blog alert feeds from time-to-time as well. We are also having conversations on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Meetup and Ning.

On top of this, we are implementing an enterprise-wide content management system (cms) to manage and publish our core content as well.

The question was, how can I strategically combine and repurpose content from these different online properties efficiently and effectively? How can I repackage them around topics, issues, events, etc., when they come from different places? Even with enough resources – this can be very overwhelming.

This is fairly easy to do if you consistently use tags.  Here is what I do:

  • Create an index of tags to be used throughout my organization – essentially this is a keyword list. It is a living document that we update regularly. This can have many applications but at the very least it helps make content management more efficient.
  • Tag content on all of our online properties accordingly – keeping it as consistent as possible. Everything from blog posts to video  – making it possible for us to create very specific feeds.
  • Create RSS feeds and used feedburner (when appropriate) to publish content on our sites. Feedburner also allows users to subscribe via email, which comes in handy as well. This way the feeds are controlled through feedburner – and I can adjust them accordingly. I also get stats for performance as well.
  • Create “packages” of content accordingly – either via dashboard pages on our websites or through repurposed feeds throughout our social networks.

Using tags this way allows me (and users) to easily combine, repackage and repurpose content in many different ways. It also allows us to manage content in a distributed environment, as long as we are all working off of the same list of tags “keywords” – we are able to quickly combine and organize our content and links – and deliver it accordingly.

I am still experimenting with alternative ways of using tags – so let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas.