As they become increasingly digital, enterprises are recognizing the central role of content in supporting their underlying business goals.

Content growth is occurring at rapid pace, 200 percent per year in most enterprises. But this doesn’t come without its own challenges: these enterprises are quickly realizing that it’s virtually impossible to keep up with this growth across all the channels they have to now manage.

To manage this, enterprises don’t want to simply create content in the dark– to justify and strategically direct content production, they need intelligence helping them determine with content resonates with consumers across these channels. These businesses need the answer to two key questions:

  • Is our content intelligent?
  • Are we getting advantage out of the data we collect?

To effectively do their jobs in a rapidly digitizing omnichannel world, marketing teams need help. Their main challenge lies in the manner of how most of today’s content is deployed. Software– while part of the challenge– can also be part of the solution.

Most content published by businesses is simply pushed out there. It’s sent to a website, an intranet or a social channel. It sits there waiting to be consumed. Then the business looks back a month (or more) later and asks the question: How did it do?

This is what must change. Content must perform. In order to actually be intelligent it must become accountable, and adapt to insights.

Marketers Want to Understand What Drives Value

To understand how to truly help marketing teams be effective in content production, it’s important to first look at how the entirety of the marketing industry has been transformed by data analytics.

As a marketer, you have to consider what really drives value. Think about the start of the content process. When structuring even a single piece of writing, let alone a whole content strategy, you focus on certain strategic objectives. You ask certain questions of yourself:

What are you trying to accomplish with the content piece you’re creating?
Which audience are you targeting?
Can you create variants to test, for example, which title works best or what the optimal length of the article is?
Which writing style resonates best?

Marketers Want Feedback That’s Actionable

Then the look back to performance isn’t a vague“How did this piece of content do?” Marketers want feedback they can act on and improve based upon. They want a level of insight that actually guides their content strategy. The question they want answered is“In which context, did this piece of content perform the best?”

Software Can Help Guide Strategy

By answering these more strategic questions, software like a Content Performance Platform helps ensure content scalability in two ways: by guiding strategy through actionable insights, and by delivering the relevant content to the relevant audiences based on these insights

The content must be automatically placed in multiple contexts and be optimized within those contexts in order to truly perform at scale. The crucial step is the feedback loop: which content is performing in which context. By creating a feedback loop, you can get the data needed to make decisions: which editor is effective, which content gaps you have, which audiences are not addressed and how content strategy is contributing to the bottom line. These practicable insights let us know which content performed best in which context and gave us the result we desired.

Making Sure the Right Content Reaches Your Audience Without a Middleman

Using this feedback loop to surface valuable content to the right audience is crucial. And, though it feels logical, it’s actually a significant departure from the way most marketing teams approach content.

Most businesses today rely on search or some form of third party syndication to promote their content. The modern business either hopes that the intended audience easily finds its way to it, or it pays a third party to promote the content, thus ensuring that at least some of the intended audience will be able to find it.

When we can publish in a dynamic way, and use software like a CMS to optimize the content’s performance in real-time, we are providing for a much greater chance that:

  • The intended audience will find it organically
  • The content will be presented in a context that gives it much higher value to the audience
  • Unexpected audiences will discover it based on behavior we would have never anticipated

This last part may provide the most value to marketers. Beyond relying on assumptions about what will resonate with their target segments, Marketers have a continuous feedback loop of data enabling them to truly understand, based on audience behavior which content, in which context provides the greatest value.

Reducing – Not Eliminating – the Guesswork

Scalable content strategy is not about creating more content. It’s about creating an optimal strategy wherein we achieve more business goals with content while doing less– making content work more, and getting the most out of it.

Focusing on the question of how we make our content perform better by making it more intelligent doesn’t mean automating away creativity or risk-taking . And it shouldn’t. What it does do is free-up time, so that the marketing team can make those creative choices–report on their effectiveness– and adjust strategy accordingly.

In its 2015 study of content marketers, the Content Marketing Institute found that marketers are currently working on an average of more than a dozen initiatives. And while 59 percent say they will increase spending this year for content marketing, only 36 percent feel they are effective with it.

The need to close the loop with data is big. While marketers are convinced that creating great content is an imperative, they struggle with knowing how to do it well. Most of that is because they are forced to produce with inadequate insight. They are simply guessing where to send it.

Data alone doesn’t ensure great content. It’s the feedback loop that makes the difference. It’s there that you can use data effectively — to contextualize the placement of great content and get the insight into how that contextualization performed. That frees us up to create great content for our customers. Having insights that enable the site to listen for unexpected audiences provides that capability. Intelligent content is, indeed, a challenge — and using technology to focus on content performance is one key solution.

This article appears originally on the Hippo CMS Blog.

Read more: Controlled Content Growth