Shufflrr Stories

Functional Content

You’ve heard it before—”maximize content efficiency with content reuse.” LinkedIn visionaries and armchair professionals spout with confidence the power behind “making your content work for you.” If it were that simple, wouldn’t all businesses find success on the heels of their content strategy?

The truth: Issues plaguing most content strategies are difficult to overcome and require a change in thinking.

The Problem

Consider this quote from software engineer and writer Joel Spolsky.

“It’s harder to read code than to write it.”

— Joel Spolsky, creator of Trello and co-founder of Stack Overflow

Programmers are familiar with this concept; it is more challenging to understand how a machine works by digesting bits and pieces than it is to create an entirely new machine. Furthermore, there is a phenomena in which reviewing pieces of a machine results in the perception of sub-optimal components, yet “fixing” them would require a great deal of work. These principles reliably traverse disciplines. Time is the enemy of complexity.

Remember an instance where you began a long writing, coding, or art project. It was imperative for you to remain very organized and work at an active cadence to ensure the details and complexities of your project were top of mind. If you became lazy, you were faced with a steeper incline to get back on track and continue the project for each passing day.

Now, envision the same challenges of creating complex content with an additional element: rather than working independently, you are part of a team. All members are responsible for documenting and communicating their work. And when innumerable collective hours have been invested into this content, it’s important that anyone can take ownership and modify or update it as needed. This is the point of failure.

Multiple components of a project need to be maintained.

  • Are you able to find exactly where those components are located?
  • Do multiple projects contain a repetition of that content, all of which require maintaining?
  • Would you rather distribute a newly created document than attempt to correct multiple documents with outdated information?

If the path of least resistance is to create new content, then your content strategy can be improved dramatically to save significant amounts of time and increase marketing ROI.

Functional Content

Programmers have found ways to solve the issue of complexity with concepts drawn from mathematics. Using a functional style, projects are composed of many small, independent building blocks rather than context-dependent and tightly interwoven components.

Content can achieve this, too; it’s called functional content. Blog articles, books, presentations, artwork, and other content vectors can be created using a composition of parts. The difficulty becomes adapting team workflows to embrace this modular “building block-oriented” approach.

The impact is profound. Your data, figures, artwork, videos, slides, documents, and presentations can be maintained and updated without breaking context. You’ll know exactly what your content means or represents without needing to dig for additional, equally delicate content to obtain a full picture.

Metaphorically, the shape of your content modules changes. Rather than existing uniquely within the specific context of its originally intended location, you have amorphous, context-independent blocks that can be inserted effectively and shamelessly wherever the information contained within is needed.

Get in the habit of composing rather than recreating.


Presentations are, by design, perfect candidates for a functional content style. Each slide or subset of slides within a presentation can encapsulate a concept. When others wish to refer to that same concept, they can insert your subset of slides (in a parent-child relationship) and receive updates to their content without any additional work on their part (this is composition). It allows you to sculpt your content to your specific audiences and ensure each presentation for each audience is always accurate.

Even better, your current presentations can be easily adapted to this highly efficient form of content management. Shufflrr, the leader in presentation management, offers all the necessary tools to support your business in making efficient content decisions. Create slide subsets (builder templates), search your indexed content with advanced content and metadata analysis, and develop a powerful network of up-to-date content without the need for content recreation.

Time is money. Let’s get saving.

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