There are two reasons why it’s time to take a hard look at the content you have on your website. The first is the steadily increasing percentage of online inquiries that are voice searches. ComScore reports that we’ll hit 50% by 2020, as smart speakers become as much a part of our lives as smartphones currently are. The second factor involves chatbots, which have been proving their worth as a viable customer service and sales channel.
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Voice searches and chatbots both depend on the content you provide to do what they do. Neither technology can generate answers on its own. At the recent Intelligent Content Conference, Cruce Saunders, a multi-channel content expert, spoke about what companies need to do to have the necessary content in place.
Rather than custom creating content for every communication channel, Saunders recommends using intelligent content. Intelligent content is content that’s not limited to one purpose, technology, or output. This doesn’t mean creating one master document of answers that are cut and pasted in response to every vaguely relevant question. Instead, it makes business sense to reuse answers to customer questions from a unified set of content modules delivered across channels: chatbots, product documentation, training, marketing materials, and so on.
This sounds wonderful in theory, but how does it work in practice? Most companies have a great deal of content in place that was generated absent an understanding of intelligent content. No one was writing for chatbots before chatbots were created. Google didn’t introduce voice search until 2011. This means that for many organizations, before an intelligent content strategy can be adopted, there’s a real need for an internal content audit.
An internal content audit reveals what types of content exist, what format it’s in, and its applicability to current business needs. It’s also important for the business owner to know what types of questions their customers ask most often. Generating this list can reveal areas where new content needs to be generated, or existing content needs to be corrected or updated.
The purpose of an intelligent content strategy is to get maximum value from the content you create. This doesn’t mean you get to stop creating new content – Google still considered the frequency of new content as a major ranking factor – but it does mean your content creation efforts can be more targeted and efficient.