Content is found in many different forms, whether that be text, images, audio, or video. Most text content we engage with holds some degree of structure, such as a recipe, a news article, or even a school essay. However, this content is typically implicitly and informally structured because it is observed through the presentation of the content. This helps the reader identify and sort the information they need.
On the other hand, structured content has an explicit and formal structure, where content is broken down into meaningful pieces – or components – facilitating the aggregation, re-structuring, re-purposing, and efficient search (or discovery) of content. By identifying these components and assigning metadata to them, authors unlock a completely new world of efficiency, consistency, and accuracy.
Lego bricks are a common example used to help people visualize the idea of structured content. With Legos, interlocking bricks can be assembled to create any figure, structure, or object – limited only by the imagination. Anything constructed can be taken apart and the pieces reused to make new things. These bricks, which are components of the build, are defined and rigid on their own but when put together, are flexible and malleable. This same concept applies to structured content.
Implementing a structured content strategy offers a few core advantages that can directly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your business; these include content re-use, content findability, content enhancement, and future-friendly content.
One of the primary benefits of structured content is content reuse. By re-using content, you ensure consistency and efficiency across your entire organization. Inconsistent content can distract and confuse users, resulting in less trust in a company’s content or products.
Large organizations often have problems finding the right content they are looking for. This results in an inefficient use of your employees’ time. Structured content, paired with metadata assigned to components, allows for search engines to understand and deliver the content being searched for more effectively. By improving findability, efficiency is increased, which reduces time and money costs.
Content is a business asset. Improving the quality of your published content increases the value of this asset. By reconstructing content using these components (or “Lego bricks”) that were previously created and used, organizations can spend their time delivering more value with existing content, rather than wasting time by having to create more.
Technologies are always changing, improving, and growing. This constant growth calls for adaptable structures and processes that don’t require costly business transformations. Structured content easily adapts to new designs, platforms, and technologies. With structured content, you can avoid blending together your content and formatting, keeping companies from being tied to a specific technology or configuration. This enables growth in your company, as newly developed technologies get added to the market.
If your company is struggling with unorganized, inconsistent, or inefficient content, you should consider implementing structured content initiatives. We at Tahzoo have the solution you’re looking for. Our extensive experience with knowledge portal integration and customization, paired with our structured content and DITA expertise, will take your organization’s content in the right direction.