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structured content

Contributor(s): Dennis Shiao

Structured content is a modular approach to managing digital content that uses metadata tags and automation to publish content from a single source to multiple distribution channels. Structured content allows content creators to enter text once and use rules-based publishing to tailor the output for a specific delivery platform. For example, content can be structured in such a way that on a desktop monitor, the entire content body is displayed, while on a mobile device only the summary displays.

Once content has been tagged, it is treated like data that can be accessed by a software application or an application programming interface (API). The higher the granularity of the metadata, the more structured the content becomes and the easier it is to use the content for different purposes. Tagged content is posted as one record and any changes to the record are applied to all instances of the content no matter where it lives.

The return of investment (ROI) for structuring content includes:

Increased productivity – There is no need to modify style, tables, images or page breaks for different device types.

Enhanced organic search results – the additional metadata allows search engines to discover content and index it more accurately.

Personalization capabilities - marketing content can easily be assembled in different ways to meet the needs of specific audience segments or named accounts.

Structured content and the ability to use a single block of content to target multiple audiences requires a content management system (CMS) that supports the creation, organization and storage of content independent from layout. Structured content management is especially useful for marketers who want to customize messaging for account-based marketing initiatives. It is also useful in highly regulated industries in which a company could find itself in legal trouble if the content the company produces is inconsistent.

Structured content may also be referred to as intelligent content or semantic content.

This was last updated in December 2016

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