I think every marketer has experienced it at least once. You look for an important piece of firm information, but it’s not readily available. Or at least, it’s not where you think it should be. So, you spend more time than you should trying to dig it up.
It’s not uncommon for even the smallest marketing department to deal with thousands of electronic files. Even if you have an information/content database, you will still have thousands of electronic files.
So, it’s important to set up a file structure that makes it easy to quickly find the files and information you need.
One of the biggest wins you can set yourself up for in the marketing game is easy and quick access to your information.
The Two Rules Of Thumb For Marketing File Organization
There are two general rules of thumb when it comes to organizing electronic files.
- You should be able to get to any file within 3-4 clicks.
- You should have no fewer or more folders than you need.
For example, one person might set it up like this:
Proposals/Construction Management/P0101 Brayard School Library Renovation
Another person might set it up like this:
Proposals/Schools/P0101 Brayard School Library Renovation
You wouldn’t want this:
Proposals/Construction Management/Schools/Renovations/Middle Schools/Libraries/PA/P0101 Brayard School Library Renovation
That does seem organized. And sure, you’ll be able to find the Brayard school proposal quickly (if you know it’s a middle school library renovation project). But not everybody potentially looking for that file will have that kind of knowledge.
So, you need to be careful to walk the tightrope between not enough organization and too much granularity.
Using these two guidelines, you’ll be fine.
Regarding project photos, you will eventually have a lot of them. While at first it will be fine to use a simple file structure (like outlined above), ultimately I think you want to use a photo management tool that can draw from one shared library.
Apple Photos can do this. I also believe Google’s photos desktop app works like this too. There are many desktop apps out there that do this.
If you have your photos, properly tagged, in a trusted system…they’ll be easy to get to.
People Will Disrespect Your File System
Here’s another important note. I promise that someone will disrespect your filing system. Someone will throw a file in the root folder. Or they will make a new folder and misfile something in it.
One way to deal with this is to restrict writing access to the root folder. But that can get tricky. A better, but more time consuming approach you can do is have someone look through your files once a month and properly file any outlaw files or folders.
Like anything else, if you let your file system become the “wild west” without a sheriff, it will be too time consuming to clean things up after a few years. That’s what happens to a lot of firms.
Now let’s hear from you. Leave a comment and tell us what’s the best way to manage your firm’s electronic files?