You’ve decided you’re finally ready to abandon your spreadsheets, emails, calendars, and other tools you’ve been working with to help your team manage an ever growing array of marketing efforts. Were these tools useful in getting you here? Of course they were. Are they going to support your team’s efforts to do more, and deliver more, in a more complex marketing ecosystem? Unlikely.
Now the task has fallen upon you and your team to evaluate potential Content Marketing solutions to help you solve your content planning and creation challenges. Where should you start?
First, it’s important to define the scope of your expectations for a Content Marketing solution, with some of the questions below as a guide:
- What is the size of the team participating in your collaborative marketing efforts today? A couple of people, or a larger team of ten or more?
- Who is responsible for creating, editing, and approving your marketing content? Are agencies also involved?
- Do you have standard workflow processes in place today in your content creation efforts, or are they ad-hoc in nature?
- What other tools are you currently working with in your marketing tech stack? Are you looking to replace any of them with functionality in a Content Marketing solution, or should they simply all “play nice” together?
- Is publishing from the Content Marketing solution a key consideration? Or, are you concerned more with content planning and creation efforts?
- Considering all of your defined needs, which ones are the most important to your organization, in order of priority?
- What is your budget? How quickly do you want to get started? What steps are involved in your buying process in choosing a solution?
There is clearly a lot to consider in finding an appropriate Content Marketing solution. Now what criteria should you use to evaluate a solution?
Let’s start with the assumption that the Content Marketing solutions you’re considering cover the basics of calendaring content, user assignments and workflows, an easy-to-use interface your colleagues can jump into, user notifications for tasks, and the ability to manage all of your content planning and creation work in one place. These are “table stakes” for Content Marketing solutions.
What else is important? Where do different tools stand apart?
What does this mean? Tools in the marketing tech stack, like marketing automation tools, social tools, email tools, and others generally have a select few key users in those solutions, while the balance of the team are observers. For example, one person may be the driver in a marketing automation solution, and a few others may provide email templates, landing pages, or other content- but ultimately only a couple of people at most get directly involved in the solution. In other tools like social, more people may be involved, but not the whole team.
With Content Marketing solutions, the expectation is the entire team, from writers and designers, to project and marketing managers, agency partners, freelancers to VPs and other executives, can all easily work in the same solution- serving as the one source of truth for marketing efforts. With this expectation, the Content Marketing solution needs to conform to the terms, details, processes, and general business structure unique to your organization. If intuitive ease of use cannot be achieved, widespread adoption will fail in your organization.
Deep Sophistication, Without Feeling Complex
What does this mean? As the marketing ecosystem becomes ever more crowded with new solutions, promising to make things easier, it becomes more important to choose solutions that have stood the test of time with both straight forward customer requirements, as well as the requirements of large, sophisticated, complex teams.
Do the tools you are considering have customer stories across the spectrum of companies like yours? Do they have the ability to capture all the varied sorts of data points that you’re looking to capture? Can they setup their system to manage multiple geographies, regions, brands, campaigns, content types, etc.? Can users have different roles, permissions, and functions in standardized approaches to getting work done?
Ultimately, is the solution sophisticated enough to manage the real world requirements of what often starts out as a chaotic or disorganized processes? Can the solution adapt over time to how your team will change and grow?
When choosing a Content Marketing solution, it’s important you and your colleagues get a chance to play in the solution first. As important as choosing the best technology solution, is the importance of considering the people who will actually be using the solution to get their work done. If the team is expected to work in the solution, and they don’t have a chance to participate in the buy-in and use of the solution, adoption will be a challenge.
Workforce transformation is one of the key benefits of a Content Marketing solution, as it truly can replace old tools, save the team countless hours every week, and deliver organizational alignment and visibility.