Intelligent Content: Adapt or Get Left Behind

I showed up at this week’s Intelligent Content Conference not knowing exactly how “intelligent content” fit with the type of content we create every day: product-level content destined for online retailers. But I wasn’t left in the dark for long. One of the first exercises conference co-founder Ann Rockley took us through in her workshop “Building a Framework for Intelligent Content” involved content modeling a product page. Exciting stuff for content nerds. And it only got better from there.

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What Is Intelligent Content?

For those of you unfamiliar with the term intelligent content, here’s how Rockley defined it in our session: “Intelligent content is content that is structurally rich and semantically categorized, and is therefore intelligent-content-graphic-1automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable, and adaptable.”

An intelligent approach to content makes sense for brands creating product-page content. Think about it this way:

  1. Discoverable: You need search-optimized content if you want online shoppers to find your products
  2. Reusable: Every time you change your product, you should be able to easily update your content, too
  3. Reconfigurable: If your content is easy to modify, you can create retailer-specific product descriptions with minimal effort
  4. Adaptable: Your content should be chunked in such a way that it’s easy to read on all kinds of devices, including mobile phones

Rockley said that, ideally, 25% of all content should be reusable. In my opinion, this figure holds true for product-level content as well.

Benefits of Intelligent Content

When Rockley started consulting in 1982, she noticed that companies were “hand-crafting everything” and that it was a manual process. She began advocating for automating the process and doing it smartly. Today, with so many different publishing and social media platforms, smart automation makes more sense than ever. Rockley said she’s found that companies who implement intelligent content see:

  • Increased productivity (up to 60%)
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Better rendering on devices (mobile devices, tablets, different sizes of laptops)

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Content Is Data

For many marketers, it’s a mental shift to begin thinking of content as an “information product.”

What does this mean? While I won’t go into the details of the day-long seminar, creating an intelligent content strategy means diving deep into concepts such as content modeling, taxonomy, automated reuse, and workflow.

It definitely helps to have a content management system in place. But even without one, companies can begin to put into place rules and structures in order to keep content from getting out of control. Governance and control are not dirty words when it comes to content, Rockley notes.

“The more you are in control of your content, the better off you are,” she said.

Takeaway: Future-Proof Your Content

You can’t predict what a retailer like Amazon is going to require of you tomorrow. But if you take control of your product-level content, making sure it’s structured and tagged at the point of creation, you will never be left scrambling.

“You can change, you can pivot, you can do so many other things if you create your content intelligently,” Rockley noted in our session.