It’s always good to see the world of content marketing catch up to the importance of metadata (data about data). I’m reminded of our recent discussion with the CTO of the Financial Times, who forthrightly stated that when it comes to delivering business value “the metadata around your content is as important as the content itself”.
Pravin Shanmugam’s article last month in Digital Marketing Magazine helpfully reinforced this by explaining how ‘intelligent content’ - content with descriptive metadata added to it - is essential for reuse, retrieval and revision.
Good metadata makes for good content management which makes for good business.
However, to my mind, Content Intelligence is not just the process of adding metadata to content - it’s what you do with that content once it has been enriched with metadata.
Know your prospects’ interests based on what they’ve read
The content that buyers choose to read is hugely indicative of the interests and needs that drive their purchasing decisions. The same metadata that describes a piece of content, can be impressed upon each prospect or customer as they engage with your content. As prospects read your content you can begin to understand their interests and use this to infer their likely next action.
For example, whilst you are reading this article, Content Intelligence would use the article’s metadata to infer that you are interested in “content marketing”, “metadata” and “customer engagement” (amongst others). Of course, your interest profile will change accordingly - depending on what you read next on the site. Knowing your interests could be hugely useful for Digital Marketing Magazine: the next time they are running an event on ‘metadata’ they could target and segment their readership amongst those who have shown an interest in this topic. Or - if ‘metadata’ continues to resonate as a popular topic - it could inform a new editorial series or product.
This isn’t just limited to marketing magazines, in fact Content Intelligence excels when deployed in B2B organisations with long sales cycle - for example, software companies, or professional services providers - that must use whitepapers to nurture prospects over a long sales cycle or that must identify their client’s unspoken pain-points to advise or upsell to them.
Prospect self-education is taking more and more of the B2B (and high value B2C) purchase journey: it used to account for perhaps 10% of the buying journey, but now, depending on which research you trust, it is 50-70% of the process. For companies that are using content marketing to attract, engage and convert prospects, Content Intelligence puts them in an advantageous position where they can collect information about each prospect every time the prospect consumes a piece of information about the company.
Deliver relevant communications
Now that you can use Content Intelligence to build up individual and aggregate views of your prospect and customer interests - why stop there?
Shanmugan alluded to “new ways for customer engagement” that are possible once you make content ‘intelligent’ -- and he’s right: this first party data that organisations amass by tracking prospect content consumption can be used in myriad ways to target their audience with content that is relevant.
Presenting the right piece of content to the right customer, at the right time, and on the right channel requires a blend of analytical and executional technology; Natural Language Processing to understand the meaning of an organisation’s content automatically, and real-time data processing to determine how content interactions infer the interest and context of each customer.
In a B2B context, many of us are used to using marketing automation for ‘setit and forget’ digital marketing. Instead of setting up manual rules for which content goes to which segment, Content Intelligence uses the content metadata to understand what each piece of content is about, and matches it to the emerging context of each unique buyer as revealed by their content consumption. It is here that the “additional machine learning algorithms” Shanmugan spoke of really excel: Content Intelligence learns from how prospects interact with content and continuously improves to make sure make sure every communication sent by your marketing automation system is increasingly relevant to the recipient.
Content Intelligence is more than good content management - it’s good business
As customer-centric organisations rapidly orientate to become publishers to meet the needs of content-hungry prospects and customers, they have the ability to build a first party dataset of relevant prospect and customer interests and then act on it. Organisations that use Content Intelligence to understand people’s evolving interests are providing a powerful way for their Sales and Marketing teams to make quick and informed decisions, and for their digital marketing to be responsive, relevant and real-time.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking intelligent content is merely well categorised content - it’s so much more than that.
By Andrew Davies, CMO and Co-Founder of idio.
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