If you’re already using the Contentful Composable Content Platform, then you’re empowered to free your content and make it endlessly reusable. Congratulations! Going composable is especially beneficial for global organizations that require localized assets for rapid go-to-market in multiple regions.
Here at Incentro, a digital change company and Contentful Solution Partner, we recognize the challenges faced by content teams dealing with vast amounts of translation and localization. We know from experience that a helping hand on the path to composability is appreciated.
That's why we created the Incentro Publication Manager, an integration on the Marketplace that allows you to easily push content live per region — without waiting for content from other regions to be completed. No more dependencies, no more bottlenecks.
We call it asynchronous publishing, and businesses rely on it to keep the go-to-market time as short as possible. In this post, we’ll explain more about how it works and how we successfully implemented it for one of our clients.
Cross-border localization AND a smooth transition to composable content
According to a recent survey, 84% of marketers say that localizing content has had a moderately positive or extremely positive impact on revenue growth. Brands and manufacturers want to deliver new digital experiences faster and faster to customers located in multiple markets and use multiple touchpoints. This naturally calls for cross-disciplinary teams of marketing and development, and for flexible applications that both teams can use.
While it’s easy enough to recognize the necessity, a correct implementation is something else. For cross-border organizations that require localized content, complexities can arise, for example, when delivering translations all in one batch for a global rollout. But as a content marketer in Germany, why should you lose valuable time with your campaign in Bavaria while waiting for the content for Portugal and Poland to be approved and delivered?
We believe that composability is the answer, offering a future-proof solution where you have the freedom to deploy your translations either simultaneously or asynchronously.
How does localization work in Contentful?
There are a few ways you can approach localization in Contentful, but in this post we'll focus on two of them: field-level and entry-level.
Field-level comes close to the traditional way of managing content for websites. This means a clear overview when editing a complete page, with the option to switch between different languages. But while you have a centralized view, you won’t be able to publish the different language versions of this page independently of each other (asynchronously). That’s fine if you only handle one or two other languages in your content, but it doesn’t scale if you add more.
Entry-level is completely composable and represents a paradigm shift in how you work with your content. The approach is to break content down to the granular level. Think of the content as individual components like the title on the homepage. Each entry is set up in one language. A big advantage with entry-level fields is the reusability of these components on multiple places within the website and you can publish them individually (or asynchronously). The challenge is keeping track of everything as you accumulate more and more entries in multiple languages.
In short, field-level localization is where a content editor is most comfortable, but it also adds a pressure point where all the translations need to be ready in time. One translation can’t stay in an “edit state” for example, as everything is published at once. You have much more flexibility with entry-level localization, but you also need to manage all the different languages you have in play.
Reducing localization workload with asynchronous publishing
Let's illustrate with an example. One of our clients faced a huge organizational impact when they wanted to switch from page-centric content creation to composable content.
A market leader in global asset management, this customer needed to quickly scale up their content editorial team to migrate all of their (non-financial) assets into their new home on Contentful.
The scale of the task was not inconsequential. With an estimated 1,500 blog articles, 50 linked entries, and 33 languages, this would constitute a staggering 2.4 million entries if they’d taken the entry-level route.
Therefore, field-level localization was the most practical solution within the scope of the project – but with a caveat: asynchronous publishing was needed so that the compliance approval process wouldn’t hold up the localized content that had already been approved.
The solution: Incentro built an extension with the Contentful App Framework that enabled our client to publish per language without waiting until the other 32 languages were ready to go. This took the “33” multiple out of the equation and placed the localization of 75,000 entries within the manageable scope of the project.
The functionality of the Publication Manager goes beyond solely asynchronously publishing the parent entry. As part of the Premium features, it can also asynchronously publish the linked child entries. Consequently, with a single click of a button, you can asynchronously publish an entire series of linked (child) entries.
This feature enables you to swiftly and effortlessly launch a campaign in a specific language, comprising multiple field-level localized entries. It serves as a testament to the simplification of complex content operations and showcases the versatility of the App Framework.
Building the ability to publish asynchronously with the App Framework
Field-level localization places the entry editor at the core, treating each language as a separate layer within the editor.
Here’s a summary of how it works: When you select a language, it activates a language-layer of the aforementioned centralized view. The App Framework enables you to attach event listeners to each language layer, allowing it to track content changes for specific translations.
The state is maintained in a JSON object, where each locale serves as a separate property key. Modified translations are temporarily stored there. The application is aware of localization changes and presents them filtered in a review modal overlay.
If there are a total of 10 languages, with only two translations modified, the modal window will display only those two languages. You can then choose to approve one or multiple languages for publication.
The default publication button in Contentful is removed from the sidebar and replaced with a custom button in the modal overlay of the app. When this custom button is pressed, all entry editor (localization) layers are first overwritten with the corresponding content from the delivery API. However, this excludes the locales that were marked for publication approval — their content remains unchanged.
Subsequently, publication occurs using the content management API, followed by restoring the entry with the preview API content previously saved in the JSON object. There are some additional considerations, but this is the basic functionality. If you are a developer yourself, this will sound familiar: you can think of it as similar to GIT Stash.
Maximum control with the Incentro Publication Manager
With the Incentro Publication Manager for Contentful, your content team is empowered to deliver fast go-to-market time for all touchpoints around the world. To maintain their speed in a cross-border environment, editors and translators can work in a page-centric view and push market-specific content live without waiting on other localized materials to become available.
This integration offers the best of both worlds; you have the comprehensive field-level overview and also the capability of entry-level asynchronous publishing, while also keeping the possibility to connect entries and reuse them. It’s a compelling illustration of the power of the Contentful Composable Content Platform, we’re sure you’ll agree!
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Incentro is a Benelux partner with certified strategists and developers that have experience in Contentful implementation and solving organizational complexity.