Metadata Means Marketing

It's an old adage that when times are tough you should spend more on advertising, not less. Yet many photo libraries ignore one of the most important advertisements they can run - effective metadata.

Perhaps because keywording and inputting metadata seems like such a mundane task, it is tempting to see it like cleaning the office, or maintaining the computer systems - something you can and should trim the budget for. That's a bad mistake.

If you consider that the purpose of advertising and marketing is to get people to choose your products ahead of the competition and to improve sales figures, then keywording satisfies that definition perfectly. What helps beat the competition better than having your images turn up ahead of theirs in a search? What boosts sales better than making your images easy to find?

Keywording helps in the same way as a billboard or an entry in the Yellow Pages helps people find a store.

The truth of all this came through to me a few weeks ago when I followed up on a prospective client who approached us to have his archive keyworded many months ago. He told me when I first spoke to him that his keywords were poor - no consistency and poor quality because keywording had been left to the photographers.

When I spoke to him recently, he said his business wasn't doing so well. Sales weren't doing what they should, despite the fact he was in a growing market niche. It was hard not to wonder what shape the business would have been in had the archive been properly keyworded.