Organizations today serve increasingly diverse audiences — each of which demands a personalized content experience.
But how do you personalize content at scale without creating an unmanageable content maintenance burden? The key is content reuse.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but in order to personalize, you must first standardize.
Simply put, you can’t achieve personalization at scale without first implementing a content reuse strategy that allows you to repackage and repurpose succinct, standardized content components across countless unique deliverables and configurations.
And this rule isn’t exclusive to content.
When you buy a new house from a “custom” home builder, for example, you’re offered an array of pre-set options that are all designed to work together. You select from a standard list of options — breakfast nook, two-car garage, den, fireplace, additional storage — to create your own customized dream home. None of the homes in the development will be exactly alike, but they all contain at least some of the same basic components.
If you want to efficiently personalize content at scale for a wide range of audiences, business needs and distribution channels, you first need to rethink the way your organization designs and develops content, and implement a content strategy centered on reuse.
What makes content reusable?
1. Reusable content is succinct & self-contained
Reusable content must be self-contained in short, logical chunks (often called components,) that can stand on their own or be grouped together with other unique content components. Reusable content isn’t created as a long-form document, instead it’s built with many individual content building blocks, free from contextual ties (e.g., language like “as stated in the previous section”) that limit reuse potential.
2. Reusable content is flexible & format agnostic
Reusable content isn’t tied to a specific format, such as PowerPoint, Word, PDF, Captivate, Articulate, etc. — instead, it’s format agnostic. Xyleme’s Component Content Management System (CCMS) achieves this by saving content in XML, so it can be endlessly reused across any desired format, including those that don’t even exist yet.
3. Reusable content is evergreen & built to last
Reusable content must be built to last. It shouldn’t reference specific audiences or procedures that may change. Instead, it should focus on descriptions, instructions, examples, etc., that aren’t likely to change often (and if they do change, it’s imperative to have a reuse strategy that allows you to update them efficiently). Contextual content can then be added around the evergreen, reusable content to tailor the overall content experience for the appropriate audience, channel, location, and use case.