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9 Reasons to Build a Content Engineering Practice

Content engineering involves organizing the shape, structure and application of intelligent content. The promise of personalized digital customer experiences can only be realized through intelligent content that’s atomic and can be reused in multiple contexts and channels. Intelligent content is only possible through engineering.

Content engineering opens the door to a personal, cognitive, more human era.

The practice of content engineering involves content modeling, metadata, microdata markup, schema and taxonomy. These disciplines help to connect the dots between content strategy and development and between marketing and IT.

Content engineering transforms old-school content management into true customer experience management (CEM). Adopting the practice gives organizations the ability to engage at every stage of the customer’s journey and relationship lifecycle.

Content engineering impacts the bottom line of an organization. It improves return on content assets. It makes CMOs, CIOs, CTOs lives’ easier and more efficient. It provides CEOs a competitive advantage with a strategic function that gives them more flexibility.

While [A] can step in and provide content engineering consulting and services, in the long-term content engineering needs to be owned internally.

Let’s take a brief look at 9 real and tangible values of building a content engineering practice:

1. Efficient development cycles and time

Without content engineering, software engineers spend more time on configuration and strategy than on developing software. This reduces the efficiency of highly-paid software engineers, significantly lengthens development cycles and diminishes the overall quality of CEM.

2. Better ROI on CEM investment

CEM software is expensive. Implementing it poorly is even more expensive. Leaving valuable marketing functionality underutilized isn’t just wasting opportunity, it’s wasting money. By investing in content engineering, an organization’s return on investment (ROI) for CEM accelerates and its effectiveness improves.

3. Long-term CEM planning

Reaching the full potential of customer experience management capabilities may seem like a far-off dream compared to the current level of maturity in most organization’s marketing departments. Content engineers can help in selecting and implementing a content platform and designing and applying intelligent content strategies to ensure long-term return on customer experience campaigns and initiatives.

4. Improved sales lifecycle, performance, metrics and channels

Content engineering improves sales by connecting buyers with the related content and products they want and need. It also allows organizations to segment content types and create detailed reports showing content engagement and how it relates to sales. Content engineering also enables multichannel publishing which expands selling channels.

5. Better customer satisfaction through personalization

Content personalization significantly improves customer’s experience by making interactions more relevant and rewarding. It’s only through intelligent content engineering that true content personalization is possible, because only cleanly-structured content can be reused in parts and in reaction to customer session behavior.

6. Connected IT and marketing departments

Without content engineering, content strategists and marketers find themselves with visions left unrealized, while IT teams feel frustrated with what they see as ill-defined requirements from marketing. Content engineering solves team disconnects by bridging the gap between siloed departments by giving teams a common language and tools.

7. Structured content for robots

Robots need structured content in order to better provide answer and value to humans. Google, Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Watson and other cognitive learning systems function on the basis of understanding relationships between semantic concepts. Content engineering allows organizations to develop presence and authority by ensuring that all of their content assets can speak to and be understood by search robots and other AI’s that find and deliver content to make human life better.

As intelligent agents become a bigger part of the way organizations understand themselves, their vendors, customers and the world around them, structured content improves an organization’s relevance in a cognitive era.

8. Atomic, reusable and adaptive content

Engineered content assets can be used in many places at once, related, discovered and reused to deliver value at the fastest possible throughput.

Content and data assets need to be able to move seamlessly across organizational silos, web services, search tools, CRM, ERP and CEM platforms. Content must be like electricity, moving and transforming in order to power organizations. But for many organizations, content is more like a rock: chiseled and placed as a brick in some wall, never to be moved.

9. Digital maturity

Content engineering makes organizations smarter by improving the value of content assets and connecting those assets with customers intelligently. Smarter organizations with more nimble content assets will be better prepared to compete for market position and customer mindshare. In a recent Cap Gemini study, organizations with stronger digital maturity were found to be 26% more profitable, had 9% more revenue and boosted valuations by 12%.

Bonus Reasons for Engineering Content

  • Testing and optimization: structured content can more easily be adapted for use with A/B and multivariate testing within CEM platforms. For example, if you want to test variants of a call to action, having a structured content element defined for CTA shortens the time it takes to manage variant testing and improve on-page performance of specific content elements.
  • Translation and localization: structured content can more easily be sent in pieces to a translation to localization vendors or members of your in-house translation team, while still being associated with the origin language content ID. Exchanging structured content feeds with external localization vendors saves potentially hundreds of hours of manual processing time compared to maintaining distinct and unrelated content IDs for unstructured content in various languages.
  • Distribution and syndication: intelligent, structured content can be more easily shared, not only within your own digital properties, but also outside of your digital infrastructure to other publishers, websites, and properties. The classic old-school example of this is blog syndication through RSS, but now with Schema.org and Open Graph, various search and social destinations are better able to embed your content into their digital experiences, creating a more inner-connected experience for readers to engage with content in diverse contexts.

…in short, building a formal content engineering practice allows organizations to manage intelligent content assets and structure with process, discipline, accountability, centralization, standards, hygiene, scale, ROI, security and efficiency.

This is the new face of digital marketing and the path to full digital maturity.

Founder of [A] (simplea.com), content engineering author & speaker. Topics: content systems, customer experience, strategy, digital transformation, AI

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