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 demand orchestration platform that learns from each buyer interaction to improve engagement and accelerate demand at large B2B enterprises.

LinkedIn: Andrew Davies

Twitter: @andjdavies