January 17, 2018
Structured Content: Today’s Best Practice

If you want to understand structured content and its benefits, there's no better person to talk to than Ann Rockley.

Ann Rockley is often referred to as the "mother of content strategy." She is also the creator of the concept "intelligent content" (what we also call "structured content"). This is why we invited her to host a webinar with us on the topic - and were thrilled when she accepted.

Rockley kicked off the webinar by explaining that structured (intelligent) content is "...designed to be modular, structured, reusable, format-free, and semantically rich."

Continue reading for a full overview of our webinar with Ann Rockley, Structured Content: The Key to Competitive Advantage

Content is Structured

One of the first points that Ann Rockley makes in the webinar is that structured or intelligent content is structured in a way that is both human and machine-readable. This makes content predictable - you describe how it is structured and organized, which requires companies to provide authors with some type of guidance to ensure consistency.

Structured does not mean you break down a piece of content into paragraph 1 and paragraph 2. It means you break content down into descriptive, logical sections. For example, title, abstract, teaser, quote and so on.

Rockley talked about the different industry verticals that leverage structured content. Verticals such as Financial Services, Life Sciences and high-tech benefit greatly from structured content. And this type of content is used across the organization - in marketing, product content, and even learning content.

The Benefits of Structured Content

You probably never thought about how to manage content for chatbots or AI, but the content is a key element of both. For chatbots to work well, you need structured content. There are three main elements to chatbot interactions: context, intent, entity.

  • Context - the reason for the interaction 
  • Intent - the purpose or goal of the interaction
  • Entity - delivering the content that is required as a result of the interaction (this is where structured content comes into play)

Any entity can be a granular component of information, or if it's a larger piece of content, it can be semantically tagged. The chatbot can then interface with it and pull out a smaller piece of information it requires.

When dealing with augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR), structured content is the audio, video and animation content. This content is tagged with metadata that tells the service what the content is, who the person is using it, where they are located, and what they are looking at.

Finally, AI involves the use of machine learning to pull together information, analyze it and identify relationships between the content. Machine learning drives constant learning, and as a result, it gets smarter and builds better relationships. While AI can work with unstructured content, it is often more robust and faster when it works with structured content.

Designing for Structured Content

Rockley said the most important thing is to look at content and identify what it is, not what it looks like. Again, we're talking about defining elements (e.g., teasers, title, call to action), not paragraphs.

When you define the structure, ask yourself:

  • Does the structure help authors create better content?
  • Does the structure make the content reusable? Do you need the structure for processing?
  • Do you need to filter the content (hide and show different elements of the content depending on the situation)?
  • Do you want to display content differently for different channels or audiences?
  • Do you need to deliver targeted content?

These are all key questions for structured content best practices.

Rockley's main takeaway is that you need to be able to identify content to:

  • Write to the structure
  • Extract the structure
  • Manipulate the structure

Learn More: Watch the Webinar!

This summary just touches the surface. In the webinar, Ann Rockley offers a lot of information and guidance that will help anyone getting started with structured content.  

Watch the Full Webinar Here!

Posted by Riley Edmunds
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