Article

Henry Kogan
Henry Kogan 19 September 2016
Categories B2B, Ecommerce, Technology

5 Benefits of Structured Content

Content publishing used to be like a chicken rotisserie. You could just  "set it and forget it." But not anymore. Users are mobile and they’re engaging with brands on a wide range of platforms, channels and devices.

Gone are the days of simply publishing content on a website. You need to deliver your content on many devices, channels and platforms or you risk losing customers, or never getting their attention in the first place.  

In this post, we’re going to talk about one of the most critical components of any business’s digital strategy: structured content. There’s a lot here to chew on, so let’s get started.

What is Structured Content?

Structured content means content  is  separated into independent parts, making its behavior more predictable. The independent parts are often labeled "fields" in the context of a Content  Management System, but are commonly called "chunks" by content strategists. Because these parts are separate entities, they can be edited independently, and used in different contexts. Fields for a blog post may include: blog post title, author name, author job title, author organization, blog post description and so on. By structuring your content, you can take advantage of a CMS to draw semantic relationships between pieces of content, reuse your content and much more.

In eZ Platform, fields are defined for a blog post allowing users to control their content effectively.

Let’s take a recipe as an example. A structure for a cooking recipe could include the following fields: the name of the recipe, the author, the ingredients, the instructions, a short description of the recipe, a gallery of images and the categorization of the recipe (sweet, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free...). If we structure our recipe content, we can semantically link a recipe to its ingredients. In turn, we can easily suggest to the user a list of recipes that contain a specific ingredient. This would not be possible if the content was just a blob without any structure. By keeping the content on your website properly organized, your company possesses an immense competitive advantage.  

As Bård Farstad, Chief of Strategy and Co-founder of eZ, says in his blog post, “When content is stored in chunks [structured], your organization has access to clean REST APIs, web to print capabilities, simple digital signage creation and integrations with a wide variety of devices like the Apple Watch... The chunks approach makes your content flexible. You’re no longer restrained by the boundaries of blobs.”

eZ Platform's content model allows editors to easily structure their content. The content tree  provides an efficient method to access and modify blog posts.

Here are the top five reasons you should structure your content.

1. Structured Content Enables You to Publish to Multiple Platforms Automatically

It’s important to be able to reach your customers in various channels, platforms and environments. By structuring your content and maintaining a separation between content and presentation, it is easy to pick and choose content elements to reuse and repurpose for different devices and channels. For example, you may want to repurpose an audio file from a website for a podcast app or combine several articles into a special collection.  Storing structured content allows you to create once and publish everywhere. This lessens the burden of your editorial team,ensures there is a steady flow of content across all channels and creates more touch points with your customers. 

Structured Content Diagram Multichannel

 

2. Structured Content is Great for Monetization

You can provide various levels of access to your content. A magazine article may be presented in its summary abstract form for free and in entirety to paying users. Or perhaps the text of an article is free and the accompanying video is a paid item. Structured content gives great flexibility to your content strategy and provides innovative ways to maintain engagement on your site as well as capture revenue.  

3. Structured Content Simplifies the Translation Process

For an international brand, being efficient means having the ability to reuse the same content in different languages. We all know the translation process can be time consuming. By having your content structured, management of translations becomes streamlined and enhances the editor's experience. It also ensures localized content follows the same format as the original content. By implementing a CMS with a flexible content model, you’re able to set up translated content easily and even though the language is different, the presentation will be consistent and any original assets such as images can easily be reused (unless images will be localized as well, of course).    

 4. Structured Content Enables Readers to Discover Information More Easily

Discovery is an important part of the content consumption experience. By having your content structured, you can provide taxonomy-based search navigation for your users and allow them to dig deeper into related media. They select categories of interest to browse content, or search for a term first and use the categories to filter the search results.

 5. Structured Content Means Adaptive Content

Adaptive content is a content strategy technique designed to support meaningful, personalized interactions across all channels. It is a trend that is here to stay and supports many use cases. One of the most advantageous aspects of adaptive content is the ability to provide intelligent and personalized marketing. When your content is structured appropriately, your website can be optimized to deliver specific content to a target audience. You might be a bookseller and would like to present recommended books based on a user’s browsing history. When your content is structured appropriately, you can easily recommend other books by an author or in a specific genre, for example.

Conclusion

Defining the right content structure is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Make sure you invest in a CMS that enables structured content and allows you to customize the content model. We’d love to hear how your organization is reusing its content. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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