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Why modular content is a big deal

image of two men in office working on modular content tasks in Brightspot CMS

How content reuse can set your business up for success

Modular content, at its absolute simplest, can be defined as content reuse. It’s an approach to content management that has soared in popularity recently, for any number of reasons—from a need to deliver content on multiple devices and screens to a desire to present variations of content to different audiences based on location.

Whereas content creators could previously focus on one single medium (say, a print newspaper or a website) or single audience (such as a U.S.-based readership), what they create now must be delivered to print, desktop, mobile, apps, wearables and voice-driven technology, as well as in a multitude of languages.

For content creators, tackling this problem can be difficult:

  • Focusing attention on any one channel or audience is too limiting, and misses valuable opportunities to connect with consumers where they are. 
  • Focusing delivery on every possible channel and audience introduces an avalanche of variations that require editing and maintenance, making it a near-impossible task for content teams, especially those that are already strapped for valuable resources.

This is the problem that modular content sets out to solve.

A building block approach to content

A great way to understand modular content is to picture your content as a child's set of building blocks. The way modular content is defined varies by business use case and needs. Depending on your business needs, the smallest block could equate to a single sentence or a single module on a page.

Stack several of those small sentence "blocks" together, and you've created an article that can be displayed on a website. Deliver a smaller set of those blocks for use in the print version of that article (to accommodate for the space restrictions inherent in print); designate a handful of blocks for use as pull quotes that can be styled differently and pushed to a reviews section.

If your business' definition of modular content is, literally, modules, then stacking several of those "blocks" together builds a page that might be used for your desktop website as well as your Apple, Android and Roku apps.

With this approach, the possibilities for reuse are endless, but the source text of truth—which must be edited and maintained—remains singular, thereby simplifying editorial workflows.

How Brightspot approaches modular content

Brightspot was built from the beginning to support a modular content approach. There are several built-in capabilities that lend themselves to delivering modular content. Let’s highlight a few.

Text-based assets as modular content

Within text-based content types such as Article, Blog Post or Gallery, Brightspot offers a rich set of modeled fields, such as Headline, Subheadline, Author and Body. Each of those fields is, in a sense, a piece of content that can be made available for use elsewhere. In fact, that sort of reuse is built-in to the Article content type, in that the Headline is automatically used to power the SEO Title.

screenshot highlighting modular content example in Brightspot's CMS

In addition to the fielded approach to content types, Brightspot’s enhancements system (part of our rich-text editor on the Body field) is another example of a modular approach to content management. Enhancements, such as social media posts, images or galleries, can be embedded as “single use” assets within the Body field, or they can be created as “reusable” assets—which means that any other editor can find a given tweet or gallery and reuse it in a future story.

screenshot showing image as reusable modular content element in Brightspot CMS

Images as modular content

Similarly, Brightspot supports two ways of using images—as “one-off” single use assets or as “shared.” Shared images can be used again and again, and can be discovered via search. One-off images exist only in the context of the image they were placed in.

screenshot showing image flexibility when building modular content elements in the Brightspot CMS

Modules also become modular content

Perhaps most relevant to modular content is how Brightspot treats modules. Like images, modules can be built to be embedded within a page, meaning they only are associated to that specific CMS asset. Or they can be created as Shared, allowing them to be reused again and again on pages and in assets elsewhere.

screenshot showing modular content for modules used in the Brightspot CMS

Publisher-informed and publisher-focused, Brightspot has successfully implemented several modular content approaches for our customers, from seminaries and institutes, global consultancy firms, news media publishers, and life sciences organizations. If your company needs a way to capitalize on content reuse to fit the right content into the right place, no matter the interface, Brightspot has the tools to help you get there. Contact us today to book a demo and see for yourself how the modular content concept works in the Brightspot CMS.

Start building in a free trial environment, see a demo, or talk to an expert—select one of these paths and start however you would like to!

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image of Brightspot employee Meredith Rodkey
About the Author
Meredith Rodkey is VP of Platform Product Management & Solutions at Brightspot. She has focused on product management for nearly 10 years, contributing to major Brightspot engagements from U.S. News & World Report to Arizent and Healthgrades. In her previous life, Meredith worked as a homepage editor and writer for AOL.com, curating a daily experience for millions of users.

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