What Is Content Intelligence & How Does It Work?

Semrush Team

Aug 23, 20238 min read
Content intelligence


What Is Content Intelligence?

Content intelligence refers to the use of software powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to learn more about how your content is performing. And how you can further optimize your content to make it resonate better with your target audience.

Content intelligence tells you about:

  • Content trends
  • The efficacy of your current content
  • How your target audience interacts to your content
  • The best voice and style for your content

You can use content intelligence data to guide your content marketing strategy. And get an idea of how to produce high-quality, optimized articles, landing pages, and other content assets, specifically for your target market.

Why You Need Content Intelligence

Most marketers use content marketing in their campaigns. But they often forget to set objectives, consider opportunity cost, and predict potential impact.

Content intelligence uses data-driven market and competitor analysis to propel an effective content strategy.

Some benefits of using content intelligence include:

an image listing the benefits of using content intelligence
  • Attracting quality leads 
  • Generating return on investment (ROI) and sales
  • Generating traffic
  • Creating content faster

Which are also the most common content marketing challenges.

In addition to those benefits, content intelligence also helps you:

  • Find out what types of content your audience enjoys based on previous data and competitor analysis
  • Predict your content’s performance based on audience and competitor data
  • Measure the impact of your content with real-time data
  • Create higher-quality content that addresses your audience’s search intent
  • Automate the content creation process with AI insights

In short, content intelligence can help you get more from the time and effort you spend on content marketing.

You can use it to gain a comprehensive understanding of your audience’s needs. Which means making better strategic decisions and creating high-quality content that reaches the right people.

Features to Look for in a Content Intelligence Platform

Ready to choose a content intelligence platform? Here are some features to look out for:

an image listing what to look for in a content intelligence platform

Real-Time Data Collection

Content intelligence platforms need to collect and analyze data in real time. That ensures you’re up to date with the latest market trends and audience preferences.

Why is this important?

The content marketing landscape is changing constantly. If your content intelligence platform feeds you data on a delay, you can lose your competitive edge. 

Real-time data tracking allows you to learn from insights as they occur. As a result, you can apply your learnings to new content faster. 

That helps you stay one step ahead of competitors by delivering the type of content your audience wants when they want it.

Process Automation

A content intelligence platform should help you roll out effective content strategies at scale. That makes choosing one with sophisticated automation features important.

Look for content intelligence tools that can automate processes like:

  • Market and competitor research
  • Audience segmentation
  • Keyword research and clustering
  • Traffic and ranking analysis
  • Content performance reporting

By automating some of these processes, you can reduce the amount of time and effort it takes to create a piece of content. This way, you can increase your output and focus on quality control or more complex tasks. 

Audience and Competitor Insights

It’s not enough to analyze how well your content performs. You also need to learn from your audience and competitors to improve your content marketing results. 

The best content intelligence tools make this process easier. So look for a platform that makes collecting and analyzing external data more accessible. 

You want insights into the performance of existing competitor content and how your audience engages with it. This is far more useful than relying on your own historical data.

Third-Party Integrations

It’s rare for content marketers to only use one tool in their production process. A good content intelligence platform should integrate with your existing marketing technology stack.

Most content intelligence systems are compatible with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. But the best ones will also be able to integrate with your keyword research tool, CMS, and more.

Pay attention to what integrations the content intelligence platforms you’re considering offer. Look out for compatibility with the software you use most.

Content Management System

Content intelligence software offers a range of features, but you won’t need them all. 

Don’t get distracted by novelties. Focus on the platforms that will streamline your content creation process.

In practice, this means looking for a tool that will help you carry out your existing processes more efficiently. Avoid options that will distract you from creating powerful content to meet your audience’s needs.

6 Best Content Intelligence Tools to Use in 2024

Ready to embrace AI, and machine learning as part of your content marketing process? A content intelligence platform is the best way to do it.

Here are some of the best options on the market in 2024:

1. ImpactHero

ImpactHero is an AI-powered content marketing tool. It highlights impactful content at each stage in the customer journey. It’s designed to give you “big picture” insights into the performance of your existing content.

ImpactHero first provides a top-level data analysis. Interactive graphics then break down channel performance.

an interactive graphic for ImpactHero breaking down channel performance

You can dive deeper into each segment and learn what content works best. Custom reports highlight the best-performing content lengths and types.

an example of "Content Performance Insights" report in ImactHero

It’s perfect for improving the content you already have on your website, providing an “Impact Score” for each page. This feature can highlight both the top and worst-performing content.

The former can help inspire new ideas. Knowing what approaches have worked in the past makes it easier to replicate their success

In the latter case, you can analyze low-performing pages and generate improvement suggestions automatically. These tailored tips will give your content a better shot at success. 

ImpactHero’s other helpful features include a report that shows where in the buying journey your audience drops off. That makes it easier to identify and improve weak links in your content funnels.

2. Semrush Toolkit

Semrush is an all-in-one SEO and content marketing platform. It contains plenty of content intelligence tools that can elevate your campaigns. 

For example, check out who you’re up against with Market Explorer. Get specific data on your industry and target audience by entering your competitors' domains, your domain, or your niche.

Explore your dashboard to see your market size and share among your competitors. 

an "Overview" dashboard in Market Explorer tool

In addition to market research, Semrush also offers a content marketing toolkit that can assist you at every stage of the process.

Here’s how.

You can use Topic Research to generate new ideas based on top-performing content. Look up a topic and you’ll get a list of relevant, related ideas, including ideas that are currently trending.

a report showing related ideas for "furniture flip" in Topic Research tool

Clicking on an idea will show you more specific details: related trending headlines, questions, and searches.

an example of related trending headlines, questions, and searches for "furniture makeovers" in Topic Research

After you’ve chosen a topic, use the SEO Content Template to get a full content brief.

Simply plug the topic you want to create content for into the tool. In this case, we want to create content for “Furniture Makeovers.”

search for “Furniture Makeovers” in SEO Content Template tool

The tool will do the following for you:

1. Analyze the top 10 search results per keyword to give you key SEO recommendations (e.g., article length, semantic keywords to include, etc.).

"SEO Recommendations" report for "furniture makeover" in SEO Content Template tool

2. Analyze your competitors’ ranking content and give you more recommendations.

"See how your competitors use your target keywords" section for "furniture makeover" in SEO Content Template tool

3. Give you more basic recommendations.

"Basic recommendations" section for "furniture makeover" in SEO Content Template tool

But we’re not done yet! The last thing you need to do is create your content.

And we can help!

Scroll back up and click on the “Real-time Content Check” tab. And click on the “Open in SEO Writing Assistant” button.

“Real-time Content Check” tab in SEO Content Template tool

The tool will have generated tips like which keywords to include in your writing. And how long your article should be.

SEO Writing Assistant provides tips like which keywords to include in your writing and how long your article should be

Pro tip: If you feel stuck at any point, use the SEO Writing Assistant’s Smart Writer, powered by AI to rephrase or compose content.

SEO Writing Assistant’s Smart Writer highlighted on the right side of Editor

As soon as you add content into the space provided, the tool will automatically start checking your text for readability, SEO, tone of voice, and originality.

an example of SEO Writing Assistant tool in action

And highlight sections that you need to edit.

SEO Writing Assistant tool highlights sections that you need to edit. In this example, title is longer than 60 characters so the tool recommends truncating it for search engines

Pro tip: Use the Site Audit tool to check if your website and content have any errors.

3. ContentShake

Another tool to consider is ContentShake—an AI writing tool that will generate text and optimize your article using keywords.

an example of ContentShake interface, with content on the left side and "Suggestions" and "Optimization" tabs on the right

Edit the content. Then click on the “Optimization” tab on the right side of your screen to see how your article holds up against your competitors.

“Optimization” tab in ContentShake editor

If you want more manual control over your content, use the SEO Writing Assistant. You can manually add your content into the space provided. And it’ll check your content for readability, SEO, originality, and tone of voice.

SEO Writing Assistant interface, with content on the left and readability, SEO, originality, and tone of voice measures on the right

4. Curata

Curata is content curation software. You can use it to uncover great content ideas that suit your audience.

It analyzes content from across the web using metrics like social shares, pageviews, and revenue generated. Whatever your aims are, Curata will help you make stronger content strategy decisions. 

an example of a dashboard in Curata

There are a range of other features that make it a great part of any content marketing toolkit, including:

  • A custom report builder to track specific metrics
  • CMS and marketing automation tool integrations
  • Content publishing features built into the platform
  • A social media content discovery engine

Best of all, Curata uses machine learning to adapt to your preferences and behavior. As it learns, the content it curates for you will become more relevant to your needs. It’ll therefore be more useful as you plan new content marketing strategies.

5. Contently

Contently is an enterprise-level content intelligence platform. It’s built to facilitate the creation, distribution, and tracking of large-scale content marketing projects.

It’s got a comprehensive feature list, but you can start out by reviewing its “SEO Story Ideas.” These are topics recommended based on their potential for success and fit with your specific content strategy.

“SEO Story Ideas” list in Contently

Contently’s real utility comes as you start to create content. It has a built-in job board that you can use to publish specifications for expert content marketers. You can also create, improve, and publish multimedia content in the integrated editor. 

There’s even an AI suggestion engine powered by IBM Watson that can help refine your content’s tone and strengthen its SEO.

Youtube video thumbnail

The analytics side of Contently is also powerful. It offers a range of tools that track the returns your content marketing pieces are generating. They include an SEO dashboard, engagement metric visualizations, and a breakdown of content performance by channel.

6. Optimizely

Optimizely is part CMS, part content intelligence platform. It’s another product targeted at enterprise businesses. And it’s packed with features designed to make content marketing easier and more effective.

You can start by using it to audit your existing content, getting a top-down view of which topics drive high-value conversions. That can guide your strategy and give you a data-driven push in the right direction.

There’s also a built-in content calendar, digital asset manager, content editor, and task manager. Each tool is interoperable with the others. That means you can use Optimizely as a single destination for all your content marketing needs.

"Library" page in Optimizely

Optimizely can track and analyze your new content marketing efforts too. A feature dedicated to performance analytics makes it easier to attribute revenue to content marketing campaigns. And you can get cross-campaign insights that will fuel even more ideas.

Use Semrush’s Content Intelligence Tools to Grow Your Business 

Content intelligence platforms save you time by automating repetitive tasks. 

They also make your content better with AI suggestions. Which improves your ability to track and analyze your output.

Get started today with Semrush’s Market Explorer to size up your competition. 

Then dive into the Topic Research tool to automatically generate thousands of content ideas from your findings.

After that, head to the SEO Content Template and ContentShake when you’re ready to start production.

You can also generate strong content ideas across a variety of topics and create social posts for specific social media networks using the AI-powered Social Content Ideation tool

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