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Could content intelligence be the next big thing in PR?

by | Jun 10, 2015 | Public Relations, Social Media

The world of public relations is increasingly being disrupted by technological innovation. Arguably, the most welcome force for change in the past decade has been the advent of social media monitoring—a practice which has enabled PRs to help companies protect their good name and respond to threats, identify brand advocates and influencers, and create, seed and promote great quality content.

The word “content” here is important: to feed the media’s growing appetite for engaging content, successful PR campaigns are now increasingly reliant on their ability to create engaging content that people want to share and talk about online.

This resonates deeply with us at idio, where we are focused on enabling B2B software, finance and telco companies to understand their audience’s emerging needs and interests based on the content they consume. Our company maxim is ‘You Are What You Read’: quite simply, the content you choose to read is highly indicative of your most pressing tastes and preferences. Most profoundly, our content choices are highly predictive of what we’re likely to buy, say or share next.

This approach to content excels when deployed in B2B organizations with long sales cycles that must use whitepapers to nurture prospects over a long sales cycle or that must identify their client’s unspoken pain-points to advise or upsell to them. But how can this insight be captured and made actionable for PR?

What is Content Intelligence?

Content Intelligence is the term given to the technology that enables marketers, salespeople and public relations experts to derive actionable insight from the content their respective audiences consume.

Content Intelligence automatically ‘reads’ client content and adds descriptive metadata to it. You’ve often seen such metadata on the files on your computer, e.g. author name, file type, date modified, etc., but Content Intelligence goes even further. Additional metadata might include the people, places, issues, themes and concepts mentioned within each piece of content.In and of itself, adding richer data to client content is useful—if only to help you group and find content. Indeed, in our recent discussion with the CTO of the Financial Times, he forthrightly stated that when it comes to delivering business value “the metadata around your content is as important as the content itself.”

However, it’s even more useful when this same metadata is impressed upon readers as they engage or share each piece of content. Think of it like ‘social listening’ but instead of monitoring your audience based on what they’re saying on social media, you’re monitoring their content choices. It’s ‘content listening’—your audience isn’t what it tweets, it’s what it reads.

Practical application of Content Intelligence

The risk of talking about any novel technology—particularly to savvy PR types with a radar for BS—is that it can seem too abstract or fantastical to be useful. Not so with Content Intelligence, where the applications in a PR context are myriad:

    • Optimizing the content strategy for client content hubs: Many PR campaigns revolve around a client microsite which is rich in content. Yet, often it’s not until post launch that you know whether your messaging is working. Content Intelligence will immediately identify the content topics on the client’s content hub that are driving the most engagement and which topics are not resonating with the incoming audience.
    • Quickly identify trends amongst your client’s audience: If your client subject to thousands of inbound communications from customers—be it online reviews or email correspondence—Content Intelligence helps immeasurably in filtering and giving structure to this information. If certain words are being used or a particular sentiment is articulated frequently, Content Intelligence will identify these trends and enable you to react accordingly.
    • Auditing content on a client site: Nobody likes the laborious task of doing a content audit for a new client site. Content Intelligence does a real-time content audit, which updates every minute throughout every day, tracking every new piece of content, identifying what is working and what isn’t, and revealing gaps in content coverage that you should fill.
    • Understand the emerging topics of interest for a particular journalist: How useful would it be to analyze a Twitter feed or RSS feed of content by a target journalist to understand the content topics and themes that have garnered their attention? Content Intelligence would allow you to see not only their favourite topics but also likely topics they will write about in the near future.
  • Extract more value from your client’s social media community:Analyzing your social media communities for the topics, sentiments and locations of their conversations means you can build a richer profile of each person. This might include their interests, their most shared links and indeed the details of others in their extended network. As a result, you can begin to identify brand advocates and influencers very quickly and much more effectively than just crudely going after those with the largest ‘follower count’.

Content isn’t just a conduit of a client’s message—it is fantastic tool for insight. Content listening is better than the social media analytics tools you will currently be working with: your client’s audience can self-censor or curate their image on social networks, but they can’t hide the intent signals revealed by the content they are reading. If you are a forward-thinking public relations practice, you need to forget social media monitoring—here comes Content Intelligence!

Guest contributor Andrew Davies is the CMO and Co-Founder of idio, and helps leading content marketers maximize the value of their content marketing channel.

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