Content transformation is the process of making existing content more versatile and reusable. It’s about liberating content that is locked inside legacy formats and transforming it into a library of modular and dynamic content assets.

In this blog series, we look at each of the four steps of content transformation. For a more detailed resource, including content transformation best practices and an overview of the content transformation toolkit, download our eBook Content Transformation: Breathing New Life into Legacy Content.

Step 3. Determine the Transformation Method

Now that you have located your content and decided which content to transform, it is time to determine the transformation methods to use.

There are three methods for transforming content:

  • Software only
  • Software + revision
  • Software + revision + optimization

Software Only

Conversion software migrates content from one format, such as Adobe FrameMaker or Microsoft Word, into another format, such as XML. It does not rewrite content or optimize it for reuse. However, it can convert large volumes of content very quickly. Because the content itself is not revised in any way, we recommend this method for content that you want to bring into the central repository, but that you do not plan to reuse or update very often.

The result is legacy content that you can search, manage, and publish from your repository.

Software + Revision

The software + revision method combines software conversion with an editorial pass. The editorial pass focuses on modernizing the content and making it reusable. Here are some things an editor will do:

  • Revise content to comply with your content models or templates
  • Organize content according to your taxonomy
  • Tag content with your metadata
  • De-duplicate and consolidate redundant information into single-sourced, reusable content

Editors can also archive or delete obsolete content and work with SMEs to ensure that all revised content remains accurate and approved. If you have vast amounts of content – and most companies do – you might use software to automate the discovery of content that is potentially reusable. Editors can then consolidate, revise, and update as necessary to make the content truly reusable.

If you’re planning to add personalization to your content delivery or if you are undergoing a digital transformation across the enterprise, you’ll want to add optimization.

Software + Revision + Optimization

This method is a complete content transformation. In addition to conversion software, you use optimization software in conjunction with editorial revision to ensure that all content uses the correct terminology, grammar, style, and tone of voice.

Content optimization software is configured to match your corporate style guide and your corporate terminology. It enforces compliance by flagging every term and sentence that does not follow the corporate rules.

In addition to converting the file format and revising the content, as above, the editor also runs your content through the content optimization software and corrects any errors.

We recommend this method for content that you intend to personalize, deliver dynamically, or present using emerging technologies such as virtual assistants.

This method results in content that you can deliver in a fully dynamic, automated, “intelligent content” ecosystem. This content is future-proof and ready for reuse in any output. If you plan to move toward machine learning or training a cognitive system, this method is a must.

Now that you have located your content, decided which content to transform, and determined the transformation methods to use, you’re ready to move on to Step 4: Do the Work.

Content Transformation: Breathing New Life into Legacy Content

Ready to liberate content from legacy formats? Want to transform it into modular, dynamic content assets? This eBook shows you how.

Val Swisher
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