How to optimize your technical documentation with structured content authoring

Is your technical documentation process bogged down by endless inefficiencies? Are you stuck working with a legacy system that’s preventing you from optimizing?

If your business is struggling to keep up with its documentation needs due to slow manual processes, poor version controls and clunky communication, it might be time to investigate structured content authoring.

What is structured content authoring?

A structured content authoring system combines authoring, review, approval, translation, reuse and publishing into one platform. Authors using these platforms write their information in “blocks” of content that can be quickly and easily reused any time a new document is needed. Technical writers no longer need to waste their time completely recreating very similar content, freeing them up to do more important tasks.

Writers also have an easier time editing content. Here’s an example: your firm has been audited and, as a result, a portion of your legal disclaimer has changed. Normally, a writer on your team would have to make those adjustments on all associated documents and outputs (PDFs, presentations, user guides, etc.) one by one. This makes compliance very risky, leaves room for inconsistency and paves the way for trouble.

With structured content authoring, all the writer has to do is change the legal disclaimer’s “block” in the platform, and all of the outputs using that block will reflect the edit.

optimize sca

What are the benefits of switching to structured content authoring?

On a fundamental level, structured content authoring platforms drastically improve the technical documentation creation and management process, resulting in increased productivity and content quality.

Let’s break down the biggest benefits:

1. Greater efficiency
Eliminating laborious, old-school manual processes – such as copying and pasting thousands of paragraphs in Word – increases efficiency across the board.

2. Fewer errors and omissions
Unlike traditional copying and pasting, organizations using content blocks have better oversight of their content, eliminating off-brand messaging and replication errors.

3. Simple regulatory and audit compliance
Organizations have much greater control over their documents with a structured content system, allowing for far fewer regulatory errors. Version tracking and histories also facilitate audit requests.

4. Easy collaboration across teams
All-in-one authoring platforms, such as Author-it, offer user-friendly interfaces and no-code options that make collaboration easy between technical writers, SMEs and other team members.

5. Lower translation costs
Content authoring in blocks reduces the cost of translation services, since only individual blocks need to be translated, instead of entire documents. Once a block is translated, that translation can be applied wherever that block exists in your content, saving you from retranslating the same text within multiple documents.

6. Greater speed to market
By reducing the amount of time needed to generate and update content, technical writers will have a much easier time estimating and keeping to deadlines.

7. Personalized user experiences at scale
Content creators can localize their content much more efficiently with structured content authoring blocks, customizing only small pieces of content for specific markets while reusing the rest.

Keep it simple with an all-in-one structured content authoring platform

Technical documentation is a nuanced art form made up of many unique steps, but it’s possible to combine all of them into one platform. All-in-one structured content authoring systems, such as Author-it, consolidate multiple workflows, reduce communication backlogs and offer much greater consistency across your organization.

As the original inventors of component authoring, the Author-it team has over 20 years’ experience catering to the ever-evolving needs of technical writers. The Author-it platform offers support for automated translation plug-ins, multiple output formats, no-code collaboration between users, and legacy content integration.

To learn more about how Author-it can help your organization implement a more effective content management strategy, contact Author-it’s team of experts or request a demo.

View All