"Intelligent Content" is one of the new ideas in content marketing that's been gaining traction in the last year or two. But, what does it actually mean? And is it something your business should look into?
Intelligent Content was conceived to address three major issues facing businesses producing a large amount of content:
- It was usually unorganized and finding a specific older piece of content was often extremely difficult without a lot of manual labor.
- Perfectly good content which could be reused or repurposed was therefore ignored, driving up costs by requiring new content instead.
- More departments were finding use for existing content, but often unable to access it because it was tied up in marketing-only systems.
So, the concept of Intelligent Content came about, but there's still a lot of mystery surrounding it. Let's take a look...
Getting A Handle On What Intelligent Content Means
It's not as complicated or high-concept as you might think!
Basically, Intelligent Content is content that's thoroughly meta-tagged and cataloged in a (probably XML) database that's accessible to anyone throughout an organization who might have need of it. Each entry links directly to the actual piece of content, backed up by search functions that allow for easy discovery.
Common tags associated with each piece could include:
- Type (blog, social, infographic, etc)
- Author / Creator
- File format
- Size or Length
- Late date updated
- Topic keywords
- Campaign name
- Tonal notes (funny, serious, top/bottom of funnel, etc)
- Target audience
- Direct download link
And, of course, anything else could be tagged that might be relevant to your own business, customers, or internal structure.
A company would need some level of expertise in getting started with this, since it would require an appropriate database as well as a front-end for accessing it. However, once the groundwork has been laid, it can be relatively easy to implement in an ongoing fashion, since the tagging can be done as the piece is created with minimal extra effort.
What Intelligent Content Can Do For You
OK, so let's say you've taken the time to build a database and now have a couple years' worth of content accessible to anyone who needs it. Now what?
The most obvious answer is that you can easily reuse older content, since it's simple to discover. However, there's more potential than just that:
1 - Consistent Cross-Department Content Development
The division of labor in many businesses can create a serious barrier to effective and consistent content production. If your bloggers, your social media commenters, and your photographers are all in different departments, it's hard to keep them on the same page.
A single centralized Intelligent Content database makes it easier for them to keep up on each each others' work, reuse pieces as needed (such as repurposing a Facebook post as a Pinterest description), and ensure better consistency throughout the product.
2 - Improved Customer Access
Browsing a company's content can often be a serious pain for customers and clients, especially if they've come to regard that company as a trusted resource and want specific information. An Intelligent Content system can easily be connected to the website, giving them the ability to easily search your publicly-available files.
3 - Expanded Use In Your Business
Intelligent Content isn't only for marketing and outreach! Customer service agents could link customers directly to relevant infographics and documentation. Those writing the documentation could use Facebook posts as sidebars. People developing proposals can easily search for factual information on the company to include.
4 - Automated Services
At the more complicated (and costly) end, there are a range of automated systems that could be set up. It could snip the first paragraph of a blog post to turn into a Facebook post, or snip several for an e-mail digest. Tweets could occasionally be repeated on drip-feed, from a large enough catalog. Pictures could be cropped\resized automatically for multiple site submissions.
The sky (and the budget) is the limit here.
Is Intelligent Content Right For Me?
This would be an advanced system, and it would likely be overkill for many smaller businesses. You probably don't need Intelligent Content if...
- You have limited technical expertise on-hand, since the database would need programming and management.
- You have a relatively small set of content that changes infrequently.
- You lack the budget for the initial content review and tagging, which can take considerable time and effort.
- You have a small one-office team using shared resources via some other platform, such as Google Docs.
And even then, a small business that started a basic Intelligent Content system from the beginning would see great benefits after a year or two!
Basically, the more content you have, the more good Intelligent Content could do you. Even if it's not something you need to embrace immediately, why not start thinking about it in the year ahead?