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Three Key Benefits to Structured Content Authoring

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By Laura Rives — Feb 4, 2020 11:00 AM

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Structured content authoring enables organizations to easily create, share, and deliver content in different languages, across channels, to AI applications - or all of the above. With this approach, content is managed at the level of titles, paragraphs, authors, images, tags, or concepts through the use of XML-based data.

With structured content authoring, you can eliminate the time-consuming and human-error-prone task of copy pasting content. You’ll also feel confident that published web pages are the best-possible representation of your brand.

Using one large WYSIWYG editor to create and maintain web content can be very appealing to a non-technical end user. But trading best-practice techniques for the ability to see changes in real time is a dangerous approach.

Think about creating materials for a single purpose, each piece residing somewhere in your organization. Think of how quickly materials become outdated and difficult to find via search. Now multiply that experience across all end users at your organization. You will quickly have a costly and frustrating situation on your hands.

Here’s why structured content authoring is better:

Dedicate Areas to Authoring Content

Your content contributors run the gamut of backgrounds, levels of expertise, and willingness to contribute content to a CMS. They are often most comfortable using Microsoft Word or Google Docs to author content - interfaces void of flowery design elements.

Let them focus on getting their valuable thoughts out, not where an image should be placed or if a video should be embedded. Don’t ask them to copy paste what they wrote in multiple places. Save their time and increase CMS adoption by removing advanced formatting decisions and asking them to create content just once.

Similarly, put the onus on them to keep content fresh. Centralized content is quite frankly simpler for Webmasters and Administrators to wrangle. It’s easier to keep assets current via scheduled review dates, stale content reports, task assignments, and more.

Create Discoverable Assets

With a decentralized approach, authors can run into trouble finding the asset they intend on editing. The threat of incorrect versioning amplifies with multiple WYSIWYG editors housing the same content floating around.

You also run the risk of frustrating contributors when they find the content they created exists elsewhere in the CMS, they just couldn’t find it. Enhance searchability with smaller topics, made possible with structured content authoring fields and the use of tags.

Increase Information Exchange

The most compelling reason to choose a CMS with structured content authoring is the ability to import and export XML content. It is imperative that your CMS ‘share with’ and ‘consume from’ third-party applications like ERPs, CRMs, calendar tools, email marketing platforms, and more.

If your content is managed in large WYSIWYG editors, it is very challenging (if not impossible) to publish content to multiple outputs without a copy paste exercise. Structured content authoring saves time, promotes consistency, and eliminates the need to train users and provide credentials to numerous disparate systems.

Looking into the future, authors will soon be pushing content to AI applications including chatbots, speech systems, and custom tools. We implore you to choose a CMS partner that keeps its eye on future trends and focuses on scalability.

Wrap Up

While we recognize the benefit of seeing content changes in real time, end users almost always prefer creating content just once and sharing it across third-party tools. Similarly, Webmasters and Administrators will bypass the headache of maintaining a bloated CMS.

Finally, it’s worth noting that CMSs supporting structured content authoring have tools in place to grant layout, design, and formatting autonomy to end users. Flexible and customizable permissions make this possible. For example, in Cascade CMS, toggling between a one and two-column layout is as simple as selecting from a drop-down menu. The alignment of an image can be changed with the selection of a radio button.

If you are in the market for a CMS, we encourage you to explore the benefits of structured content authoring and how it’s long-term implications can outweigh end-user preference.

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Laura Rives
VP of Sales and Marketing
  laura.rives@hannonhill.com

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