Calculating Content Reuse: Where Do I Start?
Updated: Feb 12
A guest blog by Tim Ludwig, easyDITA
What does reuse mean for your organization, why do you want to do it, and how will you go about it?
Content reuse is a key metric to gauging your company’s ability to scale content production and deployment. Effective reuse liberates information developers from low-value tasks, boosts their efficiency dramatically, and reduces risk in many areas.
Knowing your content reuse and expected reuse means having a better grasp of the cost and time to market for new content projects.
Let’s first define content reuse:
Writing something one time, in one place, and being able to publish it to multiple outputs at the same time. That’s the gist of reuse.
Finding how much content your organization has that’s identical or similar enough that it can be reused multiple times in different content deliverables. Then doing it.
How Reuse Revolutionizes Your Content Development
Reuse is a powerful time-saver that makes information development leagues more efficient. The difficult part is figuring out how to harness content reuse, especially when it’s never been introduced to your content development processes before. We’re going to get you started so that when you start to implement content reuse, you’ll have the foundation you need to showcase its effectiveness.
An unfortunate number of organizations tend to jump into the process too quickly, lacking clear reasoning and direction for implementing reuse. This can wreak havoc on an information architecture thus it’s best to start by laying plans before making moves.
The obvious starting place, the reasons you’re considering reuse in the first place, boil down to a couple of simple business goals:
Reuse saves time
Reuse saves money
I should say, good content reuse saves time and money. And good reuse starts with organizing.
Start With Obvious Pains & Quick Wins
Solving obvious problems and quick wins are the proof stakeholders need to see for proof of the worth of reuse.
Since reuse is new to your department, it’s smart to start with a compelling case. Part of getting started is getting your writers on board. So, guide them toward what would make their jobs easier. Ask them a few content pain-related questions:
What parts of content do they copy-paste the most?
What pieces of content do you find yourself going to make frequent changes to?
Because writers are in the weeds of content development on a daily basis, they’ll usually have a good idea where this stuff is. In a way, you could probably gamefy identifying pieces of content fit for reuse.
It starts with getting teams together and identifying a set of manageable cases. I say manageable because it’s certainly possible to start with too much. It’s impossible to implement reuse across an entire enterprise in a day.
Set aside a manageable, realistic set of cases. Once you have these, confer with your teams to choose which ones make the most sense to tackle first. And then do it.
Here at DCL, we always recommend Harmonizer as the first step toward content reuse.
Harmonizer is a software application that analyzes document collections using natural language processing (NLP) to identify redundant content in the collection. DCL has developed extensive artificial intelligence (AI) training sets over the decades. Consequently, the algorithms in Harmonizer process text not only faster, but also with deeper intelligence and accuracy.