XML Marks the Spot: Tips on Finding New Uses for Old Content
Extensible Markup Language—better known simply as XML—has become part of the popular vernacular for magazine publishers since it was first introduced 10 years ago. (For those still unfamiliar with the term and wondering what exactly all of the hubbub is about, XML is essentially a way to tag content with metadata to help it be more easily identified and found for reuse, especially on the Web.)
Barry Bealer, the president, CEO and co-founder of Really Strategies, a content management and publishing solutions firm, says more and more publishers have begun to embrace native XML repositories now that they’ve discovered they can create derivative products from their older content.
“You essentially publish more content packaged in a different way without generating new content,” he says.
Bealer chatted with Publishing Executive Inbox about the opportunity that exists with these new content management systems and offers up some tips for publishers to leverage existing content through XML.
Publishers who haven’t yet embraced XML technology need to start.
“A lot of their back issues are golden nuggets of information if it was in XML,” Bealer says. “Magazine publishing is all over the map with this. There are very progressive publishers and others that haven’t touched XML.”
Just as if you took apart your car and sold it piece by piece, XML can help publishers sell off separate pieces of content.
“The same thing is true for content,” he says. “If you have really good content and logically sell it off or create new derivative products, you can create a whole heck of a lot of money for those parts.”
Understand the content you produce and how it could fit together to create something new.
“The first step is taking a look at the products you have and how the content is structured,” he says. “If you have disparate types of product but not a common content model, we recommend taking a look at different products and coming up with a content model. Regardless of the container, you are able to reuse the content and create the derivative product.”
Think outside the box when it comes to pulling different forms of content together and finding a common thread.
“Aggregate the info that you may think is disparate, but find that commonality across it and create new product streams,” he says. “One of our clients is a publisher in Lexington, Ky.— Blood-Horse Publications. They do exactly what it sounds—they follow bloodlines of horse racing. They’re using our product for daily feeds and they are pushing all of its content to a subscription base. … It’s the aggregation of disparate content sets—horse racing results, auctions and editorial content. That’s allowing them to create content on the fly.”
In the magazine business, time is money. A native XML repository can help save both.
“What we have found is that publishers struggle getting content to licensing partners. If you have a native XML repository, you can set it up on an automated fashion, minimizing the manual intervention by production staff.”