What is your content’s IQ? Does it collaborate, curate and otherwise incorporate a user’s experience and perspective into its lifecycle? How well equipped are those who manage your content? This week, the folks at The Rockley Group helped to make us all a little smarter about the way we use, update, manage and publish content.

At the Intelligent Content 2011 conference in Palm Springs, a plethora of content strategists (including yours truly), content managers, SEO strategist, and semantic technologists, among others, gathered to ponder the significance of semantic technologies, the value of personalized content and the impact of streamlined content workflows within all areas of the enterprise and beyond.

The venue allowed for much collaboration and useful discussions among participants, speakers and exhibitors -- many of whom worked offered real-life experiences, as well as trials and tribulations focused around improving the findability, usability, adaptability and delivery of content in a digital world.

Here’s just a little of what we learned.

There is ROI in Intelligent Content

According to Anthony Allen, our keynote speaker on Thursday, the more departments that benefit from your intelligent content solution, the more successful your solution will be. Allen should know. He’s the director of production at the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), which specializes in workplace learning and performance. At ASTD, Allen and his team work to reduce email marketing, increase content reuse and help content professionals harness their company’s internal content knowledge. His best advice: “If you don’t have good content, you’re toast!”

Your Content is Valuable

Derek Olsen, president at Foraker Labs, a mobile and web application builder, presented a case study that illustrated the need for personalized content available in a mobile and accessible format. The users in question are not your average users -- instead, they are cancer patients, who thanks to usability research on behalf of his client, have access to a 24/7 breast cancer diagnosis guide. Designed to meet the needs of those diagnosed with breast cancer, based on their situation, perspective, topics of interest and clinical characteristics, cancer patients can retrieve real-time and customized information from an iPhone app. Because internet reception is often limited within hospitals and other medical settings, a mobile app was developed so that it could be easily called upon for relevant information, be it in a doctor’s waiting room or support group. We all know that our content is valuable to our audience, but when your audience is relying on up-to-date information and guidance to aide their treatment, it's even more important that it is developed and managed as intelligently as possible.

<container>Content</container> It's About What's in the Middle

If you’re not focused on the stuff in between your container tags, then your content strategy won’t work. Rahel Anne Bailie, principal of Intentional Design, reminded us of the nuanced, interactive, complex, messy nature of content. She also presented us with the elements that make up a holistic view of a company’s content lifecycle. In her opinion, as content technologies advanced to offer customers more personalized and customized online experience, the more than users will expect everyone else to keep up. Such expectations demand that companies need to stay up-to-date and invested in meeting (or at least addressing) their customer’s expectations. Her best advice: Start at the beginning. If you don’t know where that is, start where you are.

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