Tagging is an important aspect of web use these days. It not only filters the content for people looking for specifics, but it helps people broaden the reach of their own content.
This is why tagging should be done thoughtfully and with care. Tagging also usually doesn’t have to be just one word either, at least if the website is run properly. It is important to keep in mind the way that tagging produces results. Usually content is filtered by tags when a search is done. It may be trivial to say that, but think about it when tagging. It is important to try to put yourself in the shoes of the people who may be looking for your content, and try to almost guess what they would be looking for. Some important questions to ask when tagging something are:
“Who do I want to find this?”
“Who can this content help?”
“What is my preferred reaction to this content?”
“Why is this content important?”
Let’s start with the first question: “Who do I want to find this?” It is always good to include tags of the kinds of people who would be interested, but do it in a way that would appeal to them. For example, if I want hackers to see my post, for some reason, I may put something like “Hacker’s Guide,” “Hacker Help” or “Hacker Update.” Be specific. People often include their interests in their searches, which usually gives away what kinds of things they enjoy. It’s a good idea to try to anticipate what your targets would be interested in when entering tags.
Moving on. “Who can this content help?” This goes along the lines of the first one, but with a little twist. Maybe this content is an awesome music video you just did. Including some tags like “cure for sadness” or “brighten my day” would be a good idea, if it was that kind of video. Remember, people usually search in phrases, not just words.
“What is my preferred reaction to this content?” It is always good to classify the content by how it makes you feel, or how you would like it to make others feel. This will help you find the people who are looking just for that remedy.
“Why is this content important?” Asking this is a great way to attract interest to your content. Make claims about it like “Best Music Non-Proffit Ever,” “The cure for the mondays” or “The Key to Solving (enter problem)” Of course, if your content does not actually do what you claim it does, people will get pretty pissed and eventually catch on, so it is always important to stay honest.
Eventually tagging won’t just be done by the content creator, but by the viewers as well, as it’s already begun to happen in some places. It’s best to be up front from the start, to avoid people giving you bad tags in the future due to misleading them.
Tagging will have a bigger role in content distribution and discovery in the upcoming years, as it is a more natural, more social way of classifying and discovering content, that can not only adapt and evolve over time, but that can actually capture abstract variables like what the content means to people, instead of just what it directly includes.
I hope this post helped you understand the importance in tagging, and left you with a better sense of how to go about it effectively. Happy Tagging!
Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC