What is structured content? If you’ve ever looked into the various complex components of content marketing, you might have encountered the term “structured content”. This phrase appears frequently in SEO campaigns and website building strategies – but what does it really mean?
Simply put, structured content is discoverable, reusable, and adaptable content. It’s the content you develop and plan outside of an interface so it’s ready to adhere to any environment in today’s digital world. Used correctly, structured content can help you to accomplish much more with a lot less time, money, and hassle.
Today, we’re going to explain exactly what the term “structured content” means, why it’s valuable in your content marketing strategy, and where B2B marketing teams can start using it.
Let’s dive in.
What is Structured Content? Defining Structured Content
Most companies know that content production is one of the most valuable ways to develop interest in your brand and boost your presence. To succeed in a competitive landscape, you need to publish various content assets on a regular basis, from eBooks and blogs to social media content and eBooks.
Structured content helps you to get the most of your various assets in a more systematic way. With structured content, you plan, develop, and connect content outside of a specific interface, so it’s ready to thrive in any environment. Essentially, you atomize your content into the smallest reasonable pieces or individual components.
For example, in a blog, the structured content available would include the post’s headline, by-line, snippet for the search engines, publishing date, and keyword tags. Each of these pieces of structured content are flagged within an CMS environment.
For some time, structured content was primarily used by technologist sand technical communications. Technologists used this methodology as a way of solving complex problems in business, like pulling data from customers into automatic invoicing applications, while technical communicators used it to make product documentation more manageable.
Today, more marketers than ever before are beginning to see the value of structured content as a tool for scaling content management efforts. After all, giving content more structure means giving it greater flexibility and freedom. You’re not tying your content to a specific delivery method or representation. Instead, you end up with a variety of building blocks (like Lego), which you can take apart and put together to make different things.
Structured Content in Practice: A Close Look
One of the major reasons why structured content has become so compelling in recent years, is its ability to influence SEO. Learning how to properly structure content for the search engines and customers alike can make content more searchable. If you want to see an example of structured content in action, all you need to do is type a product name into Google.
Google’s search engine will immediately provide a number of “structured elements” designed to provide quick and convenient information about the product, such as the name of the brand owner, and a description of what an item is.
Google also uses the panel on the right-hand side of the results page to deliver a convenient segment of information for the searcher. For instance, On the right, you’ll see information about the company, the serving size (in this case), when the product was first introduced, and more. To create this “fact file”, Google pulls information from various sources to assemble a comprehensive knowledge panel.
Plucking structured information from a range of environments allows Googles to drastically improve the user experience for people using the search engine. The result is faster answers to questions and better collections of information in a digital world.
The Benefits of Using Structured Content
Structured content represents a valuable opportunity for a number of content strategists and content marketers. Deploying structured content correctly is often crucial to achieving efficiency and scale. The primary use case for structured content is the ability to create content components once, then use the same components whenever appropriate across a host of environments.
Structured content can even help brands with creating a more consistent multi-channel experience. You can use fewer resources to manage larger amounts of dynamic content for a large enterprise, reducing the time taken to manage a content strategy. Structured content also helps to reduce the risk of errors in comprehensive content plans, because there are fewer chances to mis-type something.
The benefits of structured content for most companies include:
- Reusability: Structured content can be repurposed for various different deliverables, uses, and languages. This makes it ideal for cross-platform and global marketing campaigns. Reusing assets also means it’s less likely mistakes will be made when re-creating them.
- Discoverability: Most discoverable content can be feature metadata that allows users to find and navigate content more easily. This improves the position of brands in search engines and makes it easier for customers to track down the right organisations.
- Savings: Using the right technology, it’s possible for brands leveraging structured content to make updates to their content with ease, saving significant money and time in the process. This can make a huge difference to brand budgets.
- Productivity: Content strategists can significantly improve the way they manage, organize, arrange, and deploy structured content. A more efficient workflow paves the way to better opportunities for cost-savings and performance.
- Personalisation: In some cases, structured content can also be a valuable tool for creating frameworks in which companies can personalize segments of content to support the interests of different audiences.
Unlocking the Value of Structured Content
In today’s content marketing world, structured content can significantly improve the rankings of a company in the search engine, as well as providing that brand with new opportunities to find and connect with its target audience. Using structured content can save your business time and unlock new opportunities for growth.
As concepts like personalization and dynamic content become more common in marketing and advertising, it’s likely the demand for structured content will only continue to grow, as it allows websites to serve more specific pieces of personalized content based on user location, behavior, or persona.