How to reuse content in chunks

Posted on August 15, 2017


Reusing content is an attractive way to reach more potential customers, but it needs to be done in a way that adds value for readers, such as by giving content a different spin depending on the intended audience. One way to achieve this is by writing content in chunks, which can be thought of as discrete units of content.

A chunk is anything that can be potentially reused. It could be a block of text, but it could also be a chart, an infographic or a table, for example. To maximise the potential for reuse, however, you need to consider information types when you create content, so you can avoid mixing up different kinds of information. In addition to making your content easier to use, it also makes it simpler to pull out and reuse elements.

Frameworks already exist for information typing, such as the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) from topic-based authoring, but you can also create your own types.

DITA’s five information types include:
• A task topic provides detailed instructions for how to achieve something.
• Concept information defines something and helps users to understand it.
• A reference topic provides detailed, accurate information.
• A glossary entry defines various terms.
• Troubleshooting topics describe how to remedy undesirable outcomes.

It’s worth noting here that many content marketers overlook the aftersales portion of content while trying to attract new customers into the sales funnel. Task topics can be particularly useful, because they can inform existing customers about useful features they may not even be aware of.

The information for all this may be buried within a 200-page manual, but there is scope here to take this content and reuse it in a task topic for your website news feed, perhaps with some illustrations added.

In short, delighting your loyal customers with useful content is just as important, if not more so, as attracting new ones.

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