The dripping quill pen. The blank typewriter page. The blinking cursor. What to write? Throughout the ages, that question has confounded those commissioned with conveying a message. With bazillions of words and images churning out online every second across the globe, that is the question content marketing developers are faced with every day. “Content intelligence” is the answer they’re increasingly depending upon.

Content intelligence is the data-driven, conversion-focused process of analyzing audience consumption of existing content to guide and inform future content creation. With such insights, producing content is no longer a gamble for marketers across all the burgeoning media platforms. It is quantifiable and qualifiable knowledge of the effect your content is having on individuals in your target audience.

To better understand content intelligence, let’s parse it into the basics of any good story: who, what, why, where, when and how.

Who?
Marketers often mistake this question for how many? While traffic to your site is certainly important, numbers shouldn’t be your primary objective. Say 500 people visit your site in a day. That’s great, but how do you know what their intentions are? What are their buyer personas, demographics, behavior patterns, goals and motives? Who are they?

What?
What intrigues, inspires, educates, amuses, entertains, moves consumers of your content? Simply put, content intelligence is the microscope under which the essential, intangible things you don’t – but need to – know about your audience come into focus.

Why?
Almost instantaneously and in real time, content intelligence reveals topics and themes that resonate with your audience, strengths and gaps in your content, your position among your competitors, and other former unknowns. It can mean the difference between tossing something out there and hoping it sticks somewhere and trusting that your content is reaching, engaging and motivating visitors to your site.

Where?
Everywhere. Content intelligence is the vanguard of modern marketing, and it’s sure to grow ever more pervasive and sophisticated.

When?
There is no time like the present, especially if you haven’t already established a system of gaining insight into your audience. Think of the time, effort and money you’ll save knowing what content to offer and to whom!

How?
It’s complicated. Every question about how content intelligence works seems to beget another. In a nutshell, content intelligence breaks down and brings together automated data from several different practices, metrics and perspectives into one process.

Knowing the need for and benefits of content intelligence is only the first step in charting its deep and clarifying waters. How you acquire and use content intelligence depends upon several factors, among them the size and scope of your community, the amount of content you generate, the time and ability your team has to create and analyze its own content, and your budget. Do you need, can you afford expensive content intelligence software, or are free analytics offered by search engines like Google sufficient? Your marketing experts can help you navigate these factors and questions and offer the best content intelligence solution for your community.

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