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Get Smart About What Intelligent Content Really Means

by Andrew Davies  |  
August 6, 2015

The world of content marketing is finally catching up to the importance of metadata ("data about data").

If you work with any kind of asset, you will have encountered metadata on many occasions. Examples include file type, file name, and date modified. All those annotations around your marketing files—descriptors that can be understood by you and your computer—relay instructive information about the content of the content.

"Intelligent content" is a term increasingly used in content marketing parlance to refer to content enriched by metadata. The industry definition is one provided by organization expert and author Ann Rockley, who as early as 2010, described intelligent content as "structurally rich and semantically aware, and is therefore automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable."

In Rockley's paradigm, content metadata powers better...

  • Content structure and standardization. Metadata provides a guide to users during content creation and acts as reference in the lifecycle of content. This leads to efficiency and standardization of content creation and management process.
  • Content retrieval, reuse, and revision. Once structure and metadata are established, content can be retrieved easily. If both structure and metadata follows a detailed taxonomy, then even specific content within large amounts of content can be retrieved quickly.

This is useful from a content management perspective, but it is also curiously limiting.

Far from just using metadata to organize and find content internally, metadata also has an integral part to play in enabling B2B content marketers to learn more about their buyers, optimize their B2B content strategy, and match content to buyers as they proceed through the purchase funnel.

Using Metadata to Learn About Your Buyers

Content analytics—the practice of using automation to analyze content and enrich it with metadata—has broadened the types of metadata that can be added to your content.

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Andrew Davies is a co-founder and the CMO of idio, a content intelligence platform that helps leading content marketers maximize the value of their content marketing.

LinkedIn: Andrew Davies

Twitter: @andjdavies

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  • by Alicia C. Fri Aug 7, 2015 via mobile

    Just making sure I understand correctly... So the metadata a company uses will help them gauge prospect interests? Is this measured through the prospects engagement?

  • by Andrew Davies Mon Aug 10, 2015 via web

    Hi Alicia,

    Yes - the same metadata that is used to describe the topics of a piece of content, can be used to describe anyone who reads that content. This has to be done with 'Content Intelligence' technology (see:, for example). In this case, the metadata - the content topics - are a proxy for 'interests'.

    To your second point, yes - this is measured by engagement with content. The more that you engage with content that contains a particular topic (for example, "Content marketing"), the more likelihood we can say that you're interested in that topic.

    Andrew Davies
    CMO and cofounder at idio.

  • by Steve Peck Mon Aug 10, 2015 via web

    Thought provoking article. Follow up question to Alicia. Does this approach take into account the actual engagement with the content beyond the initial click. i.e. If I were to consume an full piece of content and find value in it 'cover to cover' would I be treated the same way as someone who clicked into the content and only got a little bit in before finding it wasn't relevant?

    Suppose this could work itself out over time with multiple engagements, but curious how effective this approach is for high value leads with limited engagement across only one or two content pieces%3E

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