The omnichannel imperative, better content organization, and headless distribution
With today’s proliferation of digital devices and channels, customers often start, stop, and resume their buying journeys several times before purchase, and they expect this process to be seamless. Every brand’s goal is, or should be, to provide these customers a consistent and seamless experience every step of the way.
Successful omnichannel experiences are the key. This means brands must deliver consistent experiences across all channels — such as websites, email, and physical stores — and all devices from desktop to mobile and all the smart ones in between. If done well, experiences adjust to customers based on where they are in their journey and are consistent regardless of the point of engagement.
Marketers can and should lead the charge here.
Shifting strategy from single to multiple channels requires changing your relationship to content. This begins with a fundamental change in mindset — separating content from its presentation. You can then reorganize how your content is created and stored, to increase the ease of reusing and repurposing. Structured content is one of the key methods for doing so, improving the quality of your final content while also saving time.
Organizing your content in a structured way also facilitates headless content publishing or distribution, where the architecture separates back-end content functions (like creation, management, and storage) from front-end functions (like presentation and delivery to any channel).
With a headless architecture and structured content, marketers can create content once while enabling their developers to display it anywhere. That means less time spent on administration and more time for building beautiful, cohesive experiences.
Let’s take a closer look at how to structure your content.
An easy way of structuring your content
When structuring your content, the first step is to think of it as building blocks. Start with questions like these. Which of the pieces of your content can you re-use later? Which parts of your content might change from one channel to another? Or one audience to another?
Dividing the content into smaller pieces and identifying the variables per channel and audience requires a little more time up front, but the ROI in terms of time saved is well worth it. Once you’ve created content, you can reuse, and repurpose it with ease. This is often as simple as putting it together in different ways. At times you may need to create a new heading, for example, but even in the most extreme cases, such as having to create an entirely new section for a blog you’ve rearranged to repurpose as a guide, you still save tons of time overall.
How Content Hub: Reference Content helps you structure your content better — faster
With Content Hub’s Reference Content feature, you can create relationships between content items, which will allow you to combine the building blocks and produce the final content faster.
Let's look at some examples; we’ll start with an easy one.
Structuring a case study
Say you need to produce a case study, which contains the following information:
- Customer information such as name, logo, industry, size, region
- Information about the case, such as title, headline, challenge, solution, quick facts
- Author information such as name, profession, company
In this scenario, customer and author information is something that can be re-used in other content types or other case studies. In this case, it makes sense to store this information in a reusable way. How do you do that? By creating new content types called Author and Customer.
With this approach, once you created your content types and fill in the information about customer and author, you will be able to reuse it any time, whether for a new case study or to update this one.
Structuring your content for a homepage
Let’s now consider a bit more complicated example — using the Reference Content feature to structure your content for different channels.
Say you work for an organization with a variety of brands, and you need to create new homepages for different brands and campaigns all the time. Even though the homepages are shown in different websites (or even other channels), they have the same structure, which looks like this:
- Navigation bar, including a logo and three menu items
- Hero image with an alt text
- Blog posts
In this example, the Name and Slug information will be homepage specific. But the rest of the information can be reused by other homepages, channels, or even other content types. In this case, the best approach would be this:
These are just two examples. But I hope you can see the benefit. When you structure your content wisely, you can reuse it with ease across sites, channels, and assets. Content Hub is designed to enable you to do this simply and with ease. You can learn more about Content Hub, or request a demo to see it in action.
Ezgi Göçücü is the Principal Product Manager of Headless Content & Content Operations at Sitecore. Follow her on LinkedIn.