Dinosaurs, Structured Data and the NBN

- Are You Ready or Already Endangered?

Digitally aware or a blissfully ignorant dinosaur?

While there’s been a lot of talk recently about big data, structured data and the NBN, how many businesses really know what it means for them, or are even ready for it?

As I discussed in a previous post, Jim Wyatt, General Manager, Digital Economy, Department of Commerce, and Government of Western Australia.gave an eye opening presentation at the Spacecubed Morning Startup event in Perth recently to some of the smartest digital minds in the city.

And even they were surprised at just how paradigm shifting the NBN will be for business.

In particular more and more businesses are going to become publishers and broadcasters of their own content, streaming it directly into their customers’ homes and pockets via a range of devices.

Get Your Content Ready Now

Now if you have a piece of content, then obviously you want to use it for as many applications and devices as possible.

That is you don’t want to be writing or coding different product descriptions and videos for each device. The smart thing to do is produce it once, and then reuse it for all devices.

This is where structured data comes in. Essentially if you mark up your initial content correctly, then other devices and applications can grab that content and re-purpose it for another device.

EG: If you a write product description for the web page of your online store, any other device or application can grab that description and display it in another format on another device.

That’s the simple explanation.

When you get into the details of it, the possibilities are endless, however the implementation of it can be overwhelming and it is definitely a job for the programmers and coders.

In many ways it is still early days.

Another obvious example is social media and how many of the social applications are able to grab all your relevant details from say, your LinkedIn profile, and create new accounts and profiles for you with other services.

What Business Needs to Do

The immediate thing to do and understand for any business that is online or planning to go online, is to make sure your content is coded correctly for structured data.

Think of your content as an asset, a very valuable asset.

Any content you produce for the web can be enhanced and reused in a multitude of ways. The more options you have to reuse and broadcast it makes it obviously better for your marketing, advertising, public relations, customer service, technical support and more.

You’re Not Just Writing for the Web Anymore

In the past online copy writing and content production (graphics, video etc) have often been the poor cousin of business content – underfunded and under resourced.

The NBN and structured data is going to make this a whole new game. As Jim Wyatt said, it’s huge paradigm shift.

Very soon what you produce for the web, or for digital media, is going to be central to your business communications’ strategy.

To go back to the product description: If that description is going to be reused and broadcast multiple times on multiple mediums to multiple customers, then you had better make sure it’s the best description you can write. The same goes for any graphics, images and video.

Your content is going to become a huge strategic asset. Now I know the content marketing industry has been saying this for some time, but infrastructure like the NBN takes it to a whole new level.

And as I said at the beginning, it’s a level and opportunity that even those at the forefront of digital business hadn’t contemplated.

If You’re Not Going Digital, You’re Road Kill

This is both good news and very bad news for some businesses, especially retail. Those who embrace the digital paradigm shift will reap the rewards. Those who are too slow or simply fail to get on board will be left behind and become extinct.

I've covered this before in:

Digital Darwinism - Are You a Swinger or Dead Meat?

Fake Thai Boobs and the Future of Professional Service Markeitng

Social Media is the Media

More interestingly, as Jim Wyatt said, the digital economy produces more in Australia than the resource industry, and digital is only going to grow faster, whereas the resources industry is widely expected to take a hit as commodity prices fall.

Think I’m being over dramatic?

Then read this article from Business Spectator that asserts Australia’s top 100 companies are dinosaurs that will be overtaken by fast moving, better educated entrepreneurs and start-ups, especially in the technology sector.

Top 100 Aussie Companies are Dinosaurs - prepare for an Aussie start-up eruption

More on Structured Data

If you want to know more about structured data then here are a few places to start:

Strucured Data - What it is and How it Affects You

Behind the Scenes of Structured Data

Schema.Org/ Product

Google's Guide to Strutured Data

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