Adaptive. Intelligent. Personalized. Omnichannel. Content is Playing Now.

Content strategy is really evolving for its processes and goals. Ann Rockley says that intelligent content is content strategy taken to the next level. Kevin Nicholas and Noz Urbina say that the next generation content strategy is performance driven, personalized and omnichannel. It is not only audit, voice and tone, calendar, and publishing anymore. The brands are talking about an omnichannel and personalized content experience for their customers.

All content is content strategy. Poor content is a sign of broken content strategy, not of the absence of content strategy.

Customers see all content as branded content – whether the marketing content or technical content, or customer support content, or training content, and so all content is part of the larger content strategy. When the world was taking time to understand that adaptive content was strategically different from responsive design, the next generation content strategies were preparing for new challenges, to plan for intelligent content, and an omnichannel and personalized content experience. This is the new flavor of content strategy and it is a huge opportunity for content strategists to bring value to a business.

Where it really starts

Structure: All approaches and best practices for an effective content strategy boil down to the structure, and content models are at the heart of this structure. For example, when you know that a non-profit wants to publish a few programs and some program specific news, the news content type is strategically planned to refer to a specific program. You also need to share news items’ teasers on home page for desktop, on smaller devices, a small text snippet for sharing on social media, and detailed news description on exclusive pages.

This whole process where you define the metadata, the taxonomy, and the relationships between different content types to share and publish contextually related content, is content modelling. I talked about basics of content models, at tcworld India conference 2014.

Intelligent: Once you have a content structure, you can add intelligence to it by adding meaningful details, to make it structurally rich and semantically aware. This intelligent content is more readable by machines, which means it is auto-discoverable, and has greater scope for automation in the content engineering, publishing, or distribution process. Machine readability means little human effort and hence cost savings for the business. The metadata is so planned that you can easily mix and match content chunks, reuse these for specific publishing requirements, for different devices, for different reasons.

Adaptive: Users may refer to a piece of content on multiple devices, at different stages of their buying journey. Adaptive content is device independent, and it helps users see only contextually relevant content on the device of their choice. Content is truly adaptive when it adjusts itself for the devices, the context, and individuals’ touch points with the product. We often hear the statement that the ultimate objective is to deliver the right content, in the right format, to the right users, at the right time, in the right language, and for the right reasons. Only an adaptive content strategy can address it, and when combined with intelligent content planning practices, it gives a real competitive advantage to the business.

Omnichannel and Personalized: Since adaptive content adapts itself for the specific user journey and for the context, we often call it personalized. This is how Kevin P Nicholos explains personalization as “The practice of targeting content to users based on who they are, where they are, their touch point in the customer journey, and what device they are using.”

When we plan for personalized content, it is absolutely essential to plan for omnichannel, which means optimizing the entire customer journey across all channels. Omnichannel content represents the totality of a single buyer’s journey and corresponding content that is strategically made available throughout that journey. It starts from pre-sales, onboarding, transaction, customer service, or follow up stage. Only an adaptive content strategy can ensure that the content is fluid enough to respond to personalized and omnichannel content requirements.

Recommended readingThe  5 Ws of Adaptive Content by Noz Urbina.

Content is playing

Writing a new article or publishing a new white paper every week is not enough. Why we need to publish a new paper, who are the users who may use it, why and how they may use it, on which device, at what time, and how they may respond to it, are some of the deciding factors of whether you should write a new white paper. Considering the challenges that wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) bring into content strategy, adaptive content combined with intelligent content practices are a step towards making the content future proof. Content is playing now. We need to respond better.

I presented on Content is Playing. Game On at the STC India Annual Conference 2015.