With the sheer amount of digital content being published, and the various ways in which that content is found and consumed, ensuring effective delivery of web content can be challenging. Content won’t always find its way to the right person at the right time, however, implementing structured content can mitigate both internal and external issues related to content delivery.
What is Structured Content?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, structured content methodology aims to make it easier for internet users and customers to access digital content, and allows for more efficient redeployment of that content across multiple formats. In practice, structured content dictates that digital content is organized and treated like data.
Treating content like data means that it is reduced to its most granular form, and handled separately from any styling, formatting, or interactivity that may be expressed on the frontend. This data is then organized and sorted into different content types using a content management system.
For content to be considered structured, these content types need to feature similar attributes or elements, which are then applied with consistent metadata within a CMS. For example, your various blogs across your site should be similar in structure. They feature different elements, like headings and paragraphs, which through consistent metadata are expressed in distinct ways. Headings may appear in a larger font, perhaps bolded, while your paragraphs will feature a smaller font at a normal weight.
What Are the Benefits of Structured Content?
Specific pieces of your content may very well need to be formatted individually to aid their function, however implementing structured content can allow you to publish content into various formats without actually editing the content itself. Structured content also makes content easier to find, and allows for content to be served to users regardless of device type, or channel.
On the backend, to publish content, you simply need to predefine a set of instructions that interpret how specific content is expressed. To return to the earlier example of a blog post, when adding a new blog to your site, your blog post "instructions" will interpret that data to express it under a uniform, predetermined structure. This not only saves you time in publishing, but allows you to deliver high quality content in a consistent manner that you have already fine tuned.
If you wanted to turn this blog post into a different piece of content, you would simply select a different predetermined content type that would not alter the content, but just interpret it to be expressed in a different way using different instructions. Structured content allows for you to redeploy, and reuse valuable information without the lengthy process of duplicating and reformatting information that already exists.
Other benefits of structured content include easier language translation, and content updating and modification that doesn’t affect already published materials.