Content intelligence - do you know how well your content is performing?

Barb Mosher Zinck Profile picture for user barb.mosher July 17, 2018
Most of us have some form of content analytics, but do we really have content intelligence? Barb Mosher Zinck explains what true content intelligence might look like - and why it matters.

There’s more to understanding content performance then tracking page views and social shares or likes.

In truth, those types of metrics don’t tell you all that much. Is there a better content intelligence solution?

Deciding on the right content

The first step is knowing what content your customers want and need and what it’s for. Are you providing information that moves them along the purchase journey? Or are you providing information to help them use a product or service better, or simply to keep them updated on a topic that helps them do their job better?

There are different types of content to support different situations, and if you don’t understand why you are creating content in the first place, you may not be creating the right content. And yes, sometimes a piece of content supports multiple use cases, but you still need to understand what they are and how the content fits.

Where does a piece of content fit into the customer lifecycle? We spend so much time working out the content for the buyer’s journey, but there’s more to consider - before and after that journey. Spend too much time on the purchase decision stage, and you can miss out on creating great content that will keep your customers happy and loyal, or keep you top of mind when a purchase does happen to come around.

Content that helps you build awareness or support existing customers can also be useful during decision-making stages, make your sales team aware of what you have and why it’s important, and they’ll know when to share it with a prospective customer.

Know that content is working

Traffic metrics are important to understand, but they aren’t the answer to knowing if your content is doing what you planned for it to do. It’s a piece of the puzzle. The same can be said for social metrics like shares and likes.

So how do you know? Content intelligence solutions can help. This is how Forrester defines content intelligence:

It is technology that helps content understand itself – what it's about, how it speaks, how effective it is at accomplishing certain goals, what emotions it calls to mind, etc.

I could list you dozens of solutions that you can use, none of which holds all the answers. These solutions are often referred to as content intelligence platforms (CIPs) or content strategy platforms (CSPs) - not that you need another acronym to remember. A few to mention, Contently, NewsCred, TrackMaven, Ceralytics, Curata, and Concured. Some digital experience platforms also offer built-in content intelligence capabilities.

At the core of these solutions and others is their ability to ingest and analyze a lot of data. Internal data captured by an organization directly through their content marketing efforts - from email, the website, social media and so on. Third-party data curated from social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, and from third-party data providers.

Against this data, these solutions leverage AI technologies such as machine learning and natural language processing to analyze the information and provide insights into how content is performing.

For example, Concurred creates a live content audit of all your content, so you always know what you have and where you are using it in real time. It also analyzes internal and third-party data to identify data trends and what content you have to take advantage of those trends.

Another example. Have a competitor who you believe is hitting the mark and you want to know what they are doing? SpyFu will help you find what they’ve been doing across the internet - what ads, what keywords they use, and you can define a plan to be where they are with content that is even better.

The options for content intelligence solutions is overwhelming when you start looking at what is available. But when you find yourself trying to decide which ones are right for you, go back to your original questions: what are you trying to figure out.

Content intelligence for existing customers

Most content intelligence solutions focus on customer acquisition. What is the right content to build awareness and convert customers? But what about trying to work with content for current customers? How do you know what you are creating and putting out there is what they want or need?

Now you need to look at your customer support solutions - customer portals, customer service and so on. You need to understand what kinds of problems are common, what questions people are asking, or not asking (but should be).

What are customers doing or looking for that require new content? Or for that matter, new functionality? Do you have existing content that will work, with little or no modification? How is existing content performing?

Are there content intelligence solutions that focus here? Analytics within support portals or call center apps will give you insights into customers, but not necessarily clear insights into your content strategy. There are service and support tools that will provide some insights into content performance. MindTouch comes to mind here, but there are others.

But is there a tool that works against all your customer support solutions?

My take - building the content intelligence stack

I don’t think there is one solution that can look across all your customer support and service tools and give you a holistic view of this type of content, let alone connect with your content intelligence tools for awareness and conversion. But that’s the full view that you need, isn’t it?

We need a tool that analyzes content across the entire customer lifecycle to help us understand how to define the best content strategy for all our customer/prospect needs. The technology is available to do this, so it’s only a matter of time. (And if you know of a company doing it already, let me know).

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