Building Your Content Reuse Strategy

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Article ImageIf you're like other publishers, you have a lot of content; a lot of great content. You also have a lot of channels on which you're pushing out that content and an equally diverse group of users to whom you're delivering it.

But how do you make the most of that content? By ensuring you can reuse and repurpose it many times across multiple channels and platforms. Through its reuse, companies can get more mileage out of their, often expensive, content. Yes, there's also the cost factor that can't be ignored. "The main reason content is reused is it saves a huge amount of money," says global content strategist Scott Abel.

Another argument for repurposing is engagement. Because of the sheer volume of content needed to fulfill your users' desire for information, reusing content enables you to do more with less. It is perhaps the most effective way to accomplish that goal, while keeping your organization's bottom line in check.

What's making the implementation of a content reuse strategy so important? Mobile publishing is at the root of it, according to content strategy expert Ann Rockley of The Rockley Group and co-author of Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy. "This whole concept of being able to reach your customers ... anywhere, anytime, and on any device is now becoming a key requirement," says Rockley. "Originally, there was a lot of print content and there was a lot of web content. Now that web content is being pushed out ... it's not enough to have your customers access your website in two point type on a smartphone. It's min[u]scule because they haven't designed their content appropriately.

"If people can't find what they need, they give up," Rockley adds. It's imperative that your content be accessible wherever and whenever users want it. And with so many users and channels to serve, it's becoming increasingly challenging for content producers to keep up. 

Start With a Strategy

Begin with a complete analysis and examination of your content. Essentially, a content reuse strategy requires content creators to change how they define those pieces of content and how they write them. "A content strategy is [about asking] who needs the content, what content do they need?" Rockley explains. "Given that we know what content and who needs it, and we know where we need to deliver it from, what is our strategy for actually getting it there?

"You need to understand your goals and objectives, your customer requirements, the channels or devices you plan to deliver to, your content itself, and understand how to structure your content, how to modularize your content, how to map those to your goals and objectives in the ways in which you want to deliver," adds Rockley. "You need to know what the constraints are and the requirements for successfully delivering in a certain way." Rockley explains that a content strategy involving the reuse of content consists of creating structured content models. 

When creating the content, business rules will identify it and help you to decide how to best deliver it. For instance, explains Rockley, when you're delivering a teaser to a smartphone, you want to show it a particular way and when delivering a teaser to the desktop, you may want to do it another way. "[Content strategy] maps your semantic structure to your business rules in terms of how you want to handle it," says Rockley. "That matches and maps to your style sheet, which says what you want to do with this, where you want it to appear, and how you want it to look."

Another piece of the content strategy, according to Rockley, is taxonomy. "Because you chunk the content, you structure the content, you then need to add tags to that content and those metadata tags are then part of that interpretation of what you need to do with it," says Rockley.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)

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