No doubt if you have spent any time at all languishing in the exciting world of content marketing, you’ll have come across all sorts of tech-speak around content such as “classification”, “schema” and “ontologies”.

Whilst we could write for days on semantic technologies, hopefully this will serve as a useful (but not exhaustive!) primer to what is a more technical aspect of managing content and begin to explore how this tagged content can begin to create useful and relevant customer experiences.

What is tagging?

Tagging refers to the metadata that is assigned to a piece of content by the content creator and the readers/users of the content (the latter called collaborative tagging). The user-generated classification that emerges is called a folksonomy.

Examples of digital content using tags include de.licio.us, Flickr, LibraryThing,Technorati, and Youtube.

Perhaps the most popular example of tagging in everyday parlance is the Twitter ”Hashtag” – if you’re an avid user of the social network, then you’ll appreciate how a #hashtag that is used at the end of a tweet; structures, groups and orders that single tweet in the context of other tweets that contain the same hashtag.

Similarly, tagging digital content enable organisations to structure, group and order content around themes or topics (or whatever rationale the metadata creator wishes to use to structure their content).

Why should you tag content?

Tagging is fundamentally a means to classify content to make it structured, indexed and – ultimately – useful.

There are a number of benefits from using tagging and they can be broadly summarised as the following:

  • Future-proof existing archive of content and future authoring
  • Frees content from technological and organisational restraints
  • Monetise archive content through better advertising rates and recommendations
  • Increased syndication for marketing services
  • Increase licensing potential
  • Generate tag-clouds of reader preferences and interests for insight
  • Improved content search capability

In addition to the tags themselves and the act of tagging content, a collection of tags into a group showing relative emphasis or popularity is called a tag cloud.

idio platform: A customer interest tag cloud of interests generated from content they've interacted with.
idio platform: A customer interest tag cloud of interests generated from content they’ve interacted with.

As small part of what idio’s technology does is give clients both editorial insight (what are the most popular content topics that your audience are engaging with) and customer insight (what content topics and interests is this person/are these people interested in) from the tag-clouds we generate from their content and customer interactions.

How to tag content and who does it?

Whether your content is authored and published within a CMS (whether it be a lightweight WordPress CMS or an enterprise equivalent) or a marketing automation system, it will always require metadata to be added to it to give it context and make it ‘machine readable’ (so that the system can search for it).


If you are a publisher or brand with a committed content marketing programme dealing with large volumes of content in different formats and used across different channels and content management systems, good luck with that.

Manually assigning tags to content is possible when you are either interested in adding very little metadata (perhaps, you are a travel publisher and tag content solely with the countries mentioned within it: ‘Japan’, ‘Sweden’ and ‘Northern Ireland’) or producing little new content.

However, this becomes impractical – both individually and corporately – when you are creating lots of new articles a day. Even more so, when you wish to add extra types of metadata (such as the people, brands and institutions mentioned within an article).

This is something that many content marketers start to brush up against when they’ve been producing content for some time, seen significant successes and are now looking to create greater quantities quickly . Quite simple, manual tagging does not scale well.


Here’s where things get interesting.

There are many, many, many technological solutions out there that can handle the task of adding classifying metadata to your content. Fundamentally, these technologies are all using content analytics and semantic extraction engines to analyses pieces of text and makes it readable for computers. It allows computers to understand the topics, people, places, companies and concepts in the content, sentiment towards aspects of the content, and the language of that content.

Who tags content and to what effect?

Examples of content analytics engines which do content tagging (to varying degrees of sophistication and automation) include Open Calais and Inform.

For some organisations, it is enough to classify and tag content purely to structure and organise it for internal purposes.

However, for customer-facing organisations which are keen to intelligently use that content – perhaps in an email communication or on a webpage – to create personalized and relevant customer experiences, classified content needs to be intelligently delivered.

Automating content classification and automating content delivery – the marketing sweet spot

Below is a quick quadrant, idio has created to show who does what and when it comes to both categorising content (whether it is to be done manually or automatically) and how sophisticated the content personalisation is based off of the metadata assigned to piece’s of content and the customer’s subsequent interactions with it:

Content Personalization Matrix by idio

The unspoken narrative behind this quadrant is that no longer is it sufficient to simply for brand’s who use to communicate with their customer to populate communications with a small inventory of content assets.

Both in B2C marketing and the increasingly consumerized B2B marketing space, prospects, customers and fans require large amounts of content which is intelligently delivered to meet their various individual and unique needs and interests.

Content classification goes a long way to solving the problems of organisations which possess a large content archive or are anticipating creating a large volume of content in the future.

However, organisations must start thinking hard about what they are doing with their content once it is classified and how they intend to deliver it so it best serves customers’ manifold needs.


If you’re keen to learn how you can automate both content classification and content personalization, get in touch to learn more about idio’s Content Intelligence.

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