As you can tell from the number of chatbots that are popping up across the web, brands of all types have begun investing in artificial intelligence, mainly for their customer service departments.

But ask these same forward-thinking brands whether they're using intelligent content, and their answer will probably be either "No," or "What's intelligent content?"

Here's a quick explanation of this content development, and how to determine whether it's right for your brand.

What is intelligent content?

Intelligent content is content that can be adapted, changed, and/or released on different channels, to different audiences, without needing a human to touch it. Intelligent content is to content what adaptive design is to design - it adapts to the device, context, and situation in which it's being consumed.

(Intelligent content is a complex topic, so for a full, in-depth explanation, you may want to pick up Ann Rockley's book Managing Enterprise Content: a Unified Content Strategy. Rockley is a top expert on intelligent content, having pioneered the idea more than 10 years ago.)

In order for this to be possible, your content needs to be structured in such a way that it can be mixed and matched, as it were. It has to be broken into fragments, easily customizable, and - perhaps most importantly - properly tagged, so that both your marketing team and your customers can find the pieces they need easily.

In other words, intelligent content is content that takes a lot of the guesswork, rewriting, and repetition out of content creation. It replaces it with content that can be easily automated, recombined, personalized, and distributed.

How can I tell if it's right for my brand?

Intelligent content isn't something every brand needs.

For example, if you're a small business that sells one product to one audience, there's really no need for you to put in the effort to take your content from standard to intelligent. You likely have a bank of content that already works for you, and that needs little adaptation.

However, if you're a business that sells lots of products, to lots of different audiences, then intelligent content can allow you to drastically cut down on the amount of time you spend creating new content and adapting what you already have.

Consider this example. Your company creates 5 different software packages, each of which is used in 3 different industries. Within each of those industries, you've got 7 different buyer personas for whom you're creating content.

While you're likely reusing and adapting content already, to some degree, the process of creating new content for every persona, in each industry, for every product, is extremely time-intensive.

Switching to an intelligent content approach could work extremely well for this company. That would mean that instead of spending time writing new content from scratch, the marketing team would begin breaking down their existing content into fragments, and tagging it with metadata to make it easily findable.

For example, they would have one sentence about the company itself - they could tag that "about company." They might have an intro paragraph that they use consistently - that would be removed and tagged "intro."

Then they could begin getting into their more detailed, individual content needs. For each software package, three features could be selected and summarized, with each feature tagged "feature 1," "feature 2," etc. One testimonial per industry, per software package could be chosen and tagged.

This process would continue until they had the building blocks to create the content they needed quickly and efficiently.

That's just the beginning, though. Depending on your resources, you can invest in artificial intelligence programs that can automate your content and even, in some cases, produce some for you.

One program, Wordsmith, can create written reports from reading your Google Analytics and AdWords data. Wordsmith pulls your data and then analyzes it for insights, creating a robust report that reads as though it were written by a human. Programs like this can save your team huge amounts of time, and even, in some cases, produce better data analysis.

While intelligent content may not be for every brand, the concepts behind it are an important glimpse into the future of content marketing. For more, read my post "3 Crucial Truths You Don't Know About the Connected Consumer."