A Vision for the Future of Content (#IntelContent Talk Highlights)

A Vision for the Future of Content (#IntelContent Talk Highlights)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at the eighth annual (and newly revamped) Intelligent Content Conference. I spoke about content for “the untethered world”, or how content strategists and content marketers can prepare for a world beyond mobile and even — for that matter — beyond screen-based interfaces. While I had the opportunity to incorporate certain themes I’ve spoken about before (at Brand ManageCamp, for example), this particular talk was a bit different from my usual keynote in that I got more technical and tactical about the work Amanda and I do in our content consultancy. Attendees have access to my full presentation slides and video, but I wanted to share some of the highlights here for anyone else who might be interested.

Beginning with the state of mobile-friendly content today, I recapped the COPE (Create Once, Publish Anywhere) model originated by NPR and critical to any brand that aims to produce a single library of content that can be reused and repurposed across desktop, laptop, tablet and phone, and also syndicated easily to third party sites and applications.Slide10

I discussed the importance of adding structure to your content and the role semantic markup plays in making your content machine-readable — whether that machine is Google or Siri today or a Watson-caliber artificial intelligence tomorrow. This particular slide seemed to resonate particularly well with the audience.Slide13

I talked about the importance of APIs (application programming interfaces) that provide the “handshake” between your internal systems/content storehouse and external systems that use your content. This is important today, if you want third parties to use your content, and even more important tomorrow when the number and variety of third party applications and interfaces will multiplex.


I then spoke about adaptive content — content that supports “meaningful, personalized interactions across all channels. It is content that is conceived, planned and developed around the customers: their context, their mood, their goals. This definition isn’t device- (or even technology-) specific,” but it’s certainly relevant in a world when content must deliver value across a wide range of devices and objects. Objects is the key word here, because this is where my presentation veered into the world of wearables and the Internet of Things. Where adaptive content has always considered variables related to the device, context of usage and personal attributes of the user, in an IoT world this approach can also take into consideration a new set of variables related to device or object awareness (of its environment, of its relationship to other devices or objects on the network, so on).Slide21

With these frameworks established, I spoke about two must-know scenarios for content strategists and content marketers. First, a move toward content “beyond screens” — content brought to life through augmented reality and virtual reality, content that can take virtually (pun intended?) any form or take on any form factor within “room-scale” simulations. To illustrate one possible vision for this near-future, I shared this demo of HoloLens (the forthcoming mixed reality headset from Microsoft).


Next (and to close out my presentation), I spoke about “product-as-content” — another near-future scenario in which smart products and intelligent content are seamlessly integrated into a holistic consumer or customer experience. Here, I illustrated my point with a trailer for Diageo’s Johnny Walker smart bottle prototype that, when triggered by a smartphone, delivers product authenticity information and marketing incentives pre-sale or in-store, then recipes and other lifestyle content post-purchase or in-home. To me, this is a well-realized example of how product-as-content will play out across many categories over the coming years — and a scenario both marketing leaders and content marketers need to start thinking about today in order to be ready for a world where content is truly “untethered” from traditional content channels and screens. (Video below — controls beneath what looks like a blank white opening frame in certain browsers…)

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