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  • Writer's pictureJessie Dib

What is Content Engineering at Atomic?

The letters I N being erased with a pencil from the word inaccessible.

By BelgianWeditor - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

We were content engineers at Atomic before that job even had a name. 

The term “content engineer” dates back to about 2013, when Ann Rockley coined it at a conference and gave a name to a role that badly needed it. About that same time, we were figuring out how to tag, format, organize, and deliver content to engineers on READ 180, MATH 180, and iRead for Scholastic. We have called it content engineering ever since.

Content engineering isn’t content strategy, or technical writing, or production. It’s not even “just” content management. It is the design and implementation of tools for the creation and publishing of content in many kinds of media. 

At Atomic, content engineering has a particular focus: the user. And we have many users. First, our team focuses on the authors, editors, and production team who are working to create and publish high-quality content. Second, we focus on the product engineers who will integrate the content into a product for teachers, readers, and learners. And third, we focus on the teachers, readers, and learners themselves, who will experience the content in the classroom. 

As content engineers, we are the bridge between content creators and software engineers. We figure out how authors, editors, production, and marketing teams can work independently and in cooperation with the tech team to create engaging, interactive, digital products. We analyze the content, its audience, and its purpose. Then we figure out an internal structure for the content and a data model to organize it so that users can find and learn from it. Finally, we select, customize, design, or build tools to support the workflow to make it all happen efficiently. 

The tools we work with are both old and new. We support print workflow with better ways to use InDesign, InCopy, and XML. We enable digital-first workflow with headless content management systems (CMS) like Directus and Strapi, or Web CMS like Wordpress and Drupal. We connect it all with tools like our Atomic Content Engine, Atomic Direct Editor, and workflow automation. We also work closely with teams to help them select the right tool and customize it to achieve their goals. 

For over 20 years, as Atomic Content Engineers, we have supported content strategies, helped improve workflows, and optimized content delivery for digital applications. We have had the honor of collaborating with partners on some of the most effective and important content-first applications in the industry:

As Atomic Content Engineers, we are committed to leading the way from content to product, with a focus on users, better tools, and a friendly expertise we’ve earned from experience. Let’s get to work.


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