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Intelligent Content: A Device & Design-Agnostic Approach to Content

Intelligent Content: A Device & Design-Agnostic Approach to Content

by Adrian Ababei on Nov 14 2017

Create content for your customer FAQs... content for your website... next for your website's blog, as well... produce user-engaging content to upload on all social media channels... then go ahead and produce sopy for your flyers... A bit overwhelmed? Well, it's just getting started! Now you have to make sure your content gets delivered across “101” types of devices, as well. So, how about trying to create intelligent content instead?

How about... stepping into the future of content? 

A future where technology (e.g. AR) compliments and boosts human efforts of coping with the ever-growing content demands that an organization must meet:
 

  • create and then deploy custom content across a plethora of channels (voice assistants, chatbots and other newly emerged technologies here included)
  • deliver it (at the perfect time) across a myriad of devices (tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, desktop computers...)
  • … to multiple audiences
     

But let us delve into details about:
 

  • what intelligent content is
  • what type of content “qualifies” for being made more... intelligent
  • whether intelligent content marketing is suitable for your organization's specific content demands
  • why you should bother at all, what are the clear benefits you should expect to reap
  • where to start; what steps to take for setting up your own intelligent content strategy?
     

1. Intelligent Content: What Is It? Just Another Fancy Marketing Catchword?

Or better said: what makes it “intelligent”?

Let us give you some “clues”:
 

  • it results from an efficient use of the latest “wonders” of technology, human capabilities and content handling processes
     
  • it's ideally structured to enable retrieval and re-usage
     
  • it's content viewed as a business asset and managed as such
     
  • it's a modular approach to content: multiple fragments that you get to put together, adapting the result to any targeted device/channel's format (and specific audience) constraints
     
  • it's content customized at multiple levels: the user's, the channel's, the device's level 
     

A term coined by Ann Rockley, intelligence content is basically a scientific-like approach to content creation, management and delivery:
 

“Intelligent content combines the wonders of technology with human capability in a way that powerfully supports an organization’s goals.“ (What Is Intelligent Content)


And it's a two-way approach to content:
 

  1. creating the design-agnostic content itself and breaking it into component parts, that you then structure by adding metadata tags; tags which will enable you to put them (the content fragments) together in an assembly-line style depending on the channels that you'll deploy them on and on the audiences (and devices) who'll be “consuming” your content
     
  2. adopting a whole new mindset where you approach content as “genetically” structural; as soon as you start to “view” it as being modular, mixing and matching its components to suit a specific audience, a specific channel or device will come naturally to you...
     

In short: content with device & design-agnostic structure turns into an ideally versatile type of content in today's multi-channel, multi-device digital marketing landscape. Adopting this approach to the content that you produce will only grant you content that's:
 

  • neatly structured (via semantic tags) and consistently organized
  • reusable
  • highly adaptable and customizable
  • easily reconfigurable
  • semantically structured and, therefore, “semantically aware” (easily “identifiable”, where modern technologies, including AR and machine learning, can easily “identify” what the content is about)
  • free from constant “touch-ups” at every instance of use
  • delivered via a far more streamlined publishing process (since it's no longer formats-constrained)
     

2. What Type of Content “Qualifies” for Being Turned into Intelligent Content?

Any type of content, any content contexts or scenarios! 

From costumer-support content to marketing content, to technical documentation, to content delivered across multiple devices and multiple audiences, to content specific to different products etc. It can all be turned into intelligent content!

Both producing it, delivering it and monitoring its performance the “standard way” (how many hours does your team spend, each week, tracking down data in Google Analytics?) is time and budget-consuming.

Now imagine a world where all these content processes, ranging from scheduling the monthly blog post topics, to scheduling social shares, to setting up your content strategy and so on would be handled automatically? By a machine? Then, from (just) an overly complex content strategy it will turn into an efficient, intelligent content strategy.

Moreover, you'd be actually future-proofing your content, too! Structuring it as a series of component parts will make it easier to be deployed even across channels that haven't yet emerged into the digital marketing world.
 

3. Does It Suit Your Company's Specific Content Creation & Delivery Needs?

It depends greatly on your load of content. 

If it's a 40-pages Drupal site that we're talking about, carrying highly crafted content only, that doesn't require frequent updating, then the investment isn't worth it.

In other words: if your content demands within your organization are more than “reasonable”, we consider that structuring your content beyond its basic HTML structure isn't justified.

But if we're talking about:
 

  • a content-packed website
  • content that needs to be constantly updated
  • content that needs to be translated into multiple languages, sent to multiple audiences, adapted to each product line (along with the challenge of multiple audiences per product line)
     

… then you should definitely jump on the intelligent content “trend” and streamline your entire content workflow
 

4. Top Benefits of Moving to Intelligent Content

Although we've already outlined a couple of the high impact advantages of moving to a more intelligent content marketing strategy, allow us to enlist them all:
 

  • it cuts down costs (content production, reviewing, monitoring costs, even translation costs)
     
  • it improves and guarantees quality and consistency across the website and across your whole ecosystem of channels to be deployed on
     
  • it adapts to any channel's particularities and constrains and it can be customized to those channel-specific audiences with minimal tweaking or close to zero intervention of your marketing team
     
  • it helps you deliver the right piece of content, to its target audience, in precisely the right format across that particular channel, on that specific device and at the right time of their customer journeys
     

Cutting down costs + providing the best user experience + future-proofing your content! Thes are the 3 key benefits that should weigh heavily in your decision-making process: to move or not to move to intelligent content?
 

5. Where Do You Start Developing Your Intelligent Content Strategy?

OK, so you've decided to make content on your website “more intelligent” and, therefore, to adopt an intelligent content marketing strategy. What now? 

Here are the steps you could take for a great start:
 

  • adopt a new mindset: start viewing intelligent content as part of your whole content marketing strategy
     
  • run a small-scale test (targeting just the upper levels in your organization's hierarchy for a start)
     
  • identify your organization's “sore points” and business requirements
     
  • focus on a small project for now and create a content model
     
  • put all the needed tools and technologies in place (authoring tools, XML, content management systems etc.)
     
  • consider going for headless Drupal or a single CMS
     

Once all the preparations are made, switch to more in-depth steps in defining and implementing your new content strategy :

  1. get your content broken into multiple component parts, the very first “transformation” phase required for it to be turned into intelligent content
     
  2. remove all content formatting and add metadata tagging; this way, you'll make it discoverable, reusable, adaptable and keep adding on all the other features ending in “-able”) that set the difference between (just) content and intelligent content 
     
  3. move one step at a time; implementing an intelligent content strategy can be an overkill for your website if you're getting impatient and “greedy” and rush things
     
  4. make changes at the content processes and the organization's level (for instance appointing a team to have a look at each piece of content before it goes live)
     

Note: producing intelligent content means so much more than just appropriately structuring it and making it “semantically aware”. It also means anticipating and understanding the final form it will take. Once you visualize this, you'll know which component parts to select and to mix and match assembling them in the desired final form (while using the same source content, of course).

The END! Your immersion into the future of content (soon to become “present”) ends here! What do you think: does intelligent content stand any chance to become the new standard for delivering content in a multi-channel, multi-device digital marketing landscape or not?

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