This is one of the 52 terms in The Language of Content Strategy published by XML Press in 2014 and the contributor for this term is Joe Gollner.

What is it?

The application of engineering discipline to the design, acquisition, management, delivery, and use of content and the technologies deployed to support the full content lifecycle.

Why is it important?

Ensures that improvement investments achieve the greatest benefits by introducing rigorous discipline to the design of content and associated technical and business processes.

Why does a content strategist need to know this?

Engineering applies scientific principles to the design, development, support, and use of systems that are themselves made up of structures and processes. The challenge of engineering is to design systems that balance and integrate a variety of considerations including usability, sustainability, affordability, manufacturability, efficiency, and effectiveness. To overcome this challenge, engineering approaches these objectives with a methodical use of precedents, standards, frameworks, measurement, testing, and state-of-the-art technologies.

It has become increasingly obvious that, in the 21st century, the business of content cannot continue to operate as a cottage industry. However well-intentioned they may be, professionals working in isolation and leveraging their preferred desktop tools and personalized techniques simply cannot keep up with the demands of a rapidly evolving, and increasingly digital, global economy.

Content engineering seeks to bring the business of content into the modern era by ensuring that content structures, tools, and processes are designed in a way that will make the most of current best practices, proven content technologies, applicable design patterns, and existing implementation experience.

Simply put, the discipline of content engineering represents the context within which content strategists, and indeed everyone involved in the content lifecycle, will operate from now on.