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Every brand sets out with the admirable intention of producing valuable, useful, audience-focused content, publishing it on the appropriate channels, amplifying it on social media, then reviewing the content's performance via analytics and adjusting strategy and tactics accordingly.

Pretty much every brand scores high on the first three steps, then falls disappointingly short on the final step: learning from its content intelligence.

That isn't usually a consequence of a lack of appreciation of the importance of analytics and audience insights, but rather one or more of the following:

  • Limitations on time and resources: "With so many activities to complete and targets to reach, we just don't have enough hours in the day."
  • Pressures from management: "My boss is dead-set on publishing 30 blog posts a month rather than focusing on half the amount with superior quality."
  • Choosing legacy content formats: "We have all these great PDF guides, but they can't be tracked as effectively as Web-based formats."

Content marketers need analytics, too

Analytics and insights aren't just for demand gen marketers; they're critical for content creators and designers, too.

When you have the insights you need to really understand how your readers are interacting with your content, you can begin to understand how to optimize it for better results. That doesn't mean just UX, either—it means improving your copy, your tone of voice, and your word choice. For designers, it means more effective layouts and graphics choices (like ditching PDFs).

In an effort to get in front of as many eyeballs as possible, content creators get sucked into the "create more content faster" mode, but it's absolutely crucial to work regular post-publication content reviews into your routine. Doing so won't just help you improve each piece of content, it will make you a stronger, more effective creator over time.

It's about better serving your audience

Harnessing content intelligence allows you to understand everything about a piece of content, as well as how all of your content ties together to create your customer journey. That helps optimize your content operations and provides you with valuable insights on what's working and what isn't.

Content intelligence is the future of content marketing. It's essential if you want to know what content to produce, share, update, and promote. It can drive sales and/or leads; engage current customers, prospects, and influencers; and increase brand awareness.

Demonstrating authenticity and credibility is vital to your brand's success, and content intelligence helps ambitious marketers develop and hone a more human voice that resonates with both current and potential customers.

Let's dive deeper into how content intelligence works and why it's so important.

Reach the right customers

Vanity metrics such as shares, likes, and traffic might get appreciative murmurs in the meetings, but they won't necessarily tell you whether or not your content is effective. You have to dig deeper.

Every time your target audience interacts with your content, it leaves clues about behaviors and preferences. By uncovering deeper insights through content intelligence data, you can really get to know your ideal customers. You can find out what they like and dislike, which influencers or thought leaders they look up to, how they've interacted with your brand in the past, and much more.

By using those insights in your marketing activities and strategy, you can give your customers the content gifts they actually want to receive. So, instead of providing them with a one-size-fits-all sloppy sweater that everyone on the high street has, you can present them with a super-comfy top that is made out of their favorite material, dyed their preferred shade of blue, and looks kind of like that one they were eyeing a few weeks back.

Prove a clear ROI

Every marketer struggles with proving ROI. So, if you have ever been confronted by skeptical looks in the boardroom when explaining why your latest e-book is going to be the perfect content to engage your notoriously hard-to-reach audience, content intelligence is for you.

Rather than relying on pageviews and bounce rates to prove ROI, content intelligence gives you a much clearer picture of the aspects of your collateral that are really resonating with your prospects—the video that is capturing their attention, the calls to action that are making them get in touch.

By accessing that valuable engagement data, you get actionable insights that enable you to create the best possible content for your customers and your company goals. You'll know how to spend your marketing dollars wisely and stop spending on content that doesn't perform.

Work more efficiently

Let's face it: You and your marketing team have a lot on your plate. You can't afford to waste your time and energy on content that may or may not be effective.

Using content intelligence cuts out a lot of the inefficient guess work that bogs down today's marketers. It guides content creators and designers on the right path to creating meaningful content that is ideal for the target audience—and that generates results.

Improve personalization

As we established with the sweater analogy, a one-size-fits-all approach to producing and disseminating content won't help you meet your goals. All of your prospects are in their own stage of the customer journey, so what may work for one person may not work for another. You need to produce one type of content for prospects that are trying to figure out what your product does, and another for prospects who are already at the stage where they are researching competitors and comparing prices.

Armed with the right intelligence, you can more easily personalize your marketing efforts based on the content the prospect has already consumed. So, if you need to improve customer experience and stand out from the crowd, using content intelligence to boost and inform your personalization is vital.

Support your sales team

Your sales team needs you! It needs you to supply the content that prompts prospects to click the link, submit their details, pick up the phone, or send the email. Sales needs you to furnish insights and background information that will help them turn that call into a conversation that prioritizes the right information—one that focuses on the right topics and the right triggers to result in yet another new customer.

Content intelligence enables you to be Sales' eyes and ears—and the team will thank you for it.

Prove—and increase—the value of your content marketing

So, next time you are fighting for your corner in the boardroom or approaching your finance team with a budget request, think about how much easier your journey would be with content intelligence to back you up. Then think about how much more effective your content marketing strategy and activities would be if you could replace guesswork with accurate audience insights and stop missing important data as a consequence of using legacy content formats such as PDFs.

You don't need to "go viral" or flood your audience with content for the sake of it. You need to equip and empower your team with the content intelligence that will take you, your team, and your brand to the next level.

More Resources on Content Intelligence

How Content Intelligence Can Empower Your Business [Infographic]

How to Beat the Competition With Market Intelligence on Content, Positioning, and Leads

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image of Julie van der Weele

Julie van der Weele is the head of brand and communications at Foleon, a content creation platform.

LinkedIn: Julie van der Weele