Recently, I attended the Intelligent Content Conference produced by the Content Marketing Institute in Vegas. The first question, you might ask is: how intelligent content different from unintelligent content? Well, it has very little to do with the information and quality of the content.
Intelligent content is taking a scientific-like approach to content workflow.
Using the word “intelligent” is certainly brilliant marketing. From what I gathered, it is less about the actual content… so, phew… all the content we have been producing over the years is still great. That said, as content becomes a bigger part of the marketing and of the general sphere of business, using the intelligent content frameworks and processes will become a must for most companies. In fact, we have been speaking with our clients about ideas that are consistent with intelligent content for some time.
Metadata, Content and Structure
Here is Ann Rockley’s definition (she is the one who coined the term): “Intelligent content is content that’s structurally rich, semantically categorized and therefore automatically discoverable, reusable, re-configurable and adaptable.” (For more on the definition you can check the Content Marketing Institute’s blog.) Said another way, it is largely about applying metadata to your content through a structured process.
This metadata should be applied to as many components of your content as possible.
This would include things like:
- long version (of, say an article)
- short version
- pull quotes
This means that while you might put in more time upfront making your content modular etc., you will get a huge return on your time because your customers will find the content easier and you will be able to re-use and re-purpose the content with greater ease.
As you can imagine, when you do this, you make it easy to re-use parts of the content for social, sales slicks etc. For the sake of space, I am understating the benefits (hey, you can read the book or go to the next ICC). If you start implementing intelligent content concepts, your workflow, particularly for reusing content, is significantly ultimately reduced. Further, the metadata better empowers your marketing automation to serve the right content at the right time to the right person.
But is All this Necessary?
In my opinion the answer depends largely on the quantity of content you are managing; the more content, the more that intelligent content will help. Regardless, of whether now is the right time for your company, applying the right metadata to your content now will give you two benefits, one fairly immediate and one down the road.
In the near term, it should make it easy to re-use and repurpose content. In the longer term, when you are ready to embrace intelligent content more fully, your older content will already be tagged. Note: Before you get knee deep in intelligent content, you need to get your content strategy in order.
Wait, there is more…
Here are some other takeaways from the event. For more, you can also check out the @rslmedia tweets with #intelcontent.
- Email success rates are anywhere from 10 to 30 percent less than those with direct mail. RSL take: This is because email is relatively cheap so we aren’t investing enough resources to optimize it (and the content in it).
- Content review is rarely a part of someone’s “real job.” RSL take: It is time that it is.
- You can empower creativity when you have a more structured environment. RSL take: A formal content strategy and workflow is hugely beneficial for creating a structure that can support creativity.
- Intelligent content helps you extend the value of the content you have. RSL take: Start applying metadata to your content today and reap the benefits tomorrow.
- Your content strategy needs to be aligned with the other elements of your business strategy. RSL take: You have a content strategy, don’t you?
On that note, this is a good opportunity for me to sing the praises of Joe Pulizzi. I first met Joe at Niche Media conference many years ago when Joe was head of Custom Media at Penton. Joe was a speaker, telling us media publishers we could make good money doing custom content for our clients. While we had been doing it for sometime, Joe really got me thinking about the possibilities in a larger way.
The rest is history. RSL Media is now solely in the content marketing business.
As for Joe, he went on to found the Content Marketing Institute, which he has grown to epic proportions… among other things, getting thousands of people going to Content Marketing World in Cleveland each year. (Does this effectively, but arguably make Cleveland both the content and rock n roll capitals of the world?)
Hats off to you Joe (and your team)!