The ability to use digital platforms to offer content to our audiences has exploded over the past fifteen years. Content can be found everywhere and one could even argue content is what makes up almost the entire digital sphere. Our audiences can find our content on social media, on video networks, in the over 7 million blogs written daily and many other places. However, with all of the change that’s taken place around consuming content, there has been a surprising lack of change when it comes to creating it.
Why Is Marketing Important?
Savvy consumers don’t want to be sold things, but they do want the items they’re interested in to be shown to them in an organic way. Marketing, in the past, has often focused on signage, flyers and commercials, and while these techniques are still tried and true, they often fail to connect with audiences in a meaningful, authentic and organic way.
Enter content marketing.
What Is Content Marketing?
Well-crafted content marketing feels organic to consumers and allows for brand engagement in a non-traditional and authentic way. The use of content marketing can build trust and connections with your audiences through useful and relevant content.
There are so many ways to create content in today’s digital world. For marketers, it can feel like we’re kids in a candy shop, but just like eating too many sweets can cause a stomach ache, creating too much poor-quality content can leave your site bloated without providing value.
Imagine this scenario: you’ve created a strategy, you’ve found where your audiences live online and you’ve delivered ten different types of content to them. They seem to be enjoying it, they’re engaging with it and it all seems to be a success – but is it really?
Did your end metrics align with your original goals? What were the most successful content pieces and where were they the most successful? Where should you direct your efforts now? These questions are necessary and answering them should be something a marketing team focused on the bottom line strives to do. If only there were a way to create content, distribute it and track its performance. You’d think in 2019 we’d have the technology to do so.
What Is A Content Marketing Platform?
Generally speaking, there are four stages to most content marketing plans:
Marketing teams often perform these four steps separately, which can lead to communication breakdowns, increased time expenditure, inefficiency and a general decline in ROI. Not to mention, a website overflowing with content that has virtually no value, which can confuse and frustrate a user.
A content marketing platform, or CMP, is software seeking to overcome these challenges by enabling marketing teams to plan, create and organize content based on goals, deliver it efficiently and track its progress throughout its lifecycle in order to optimize ROI.
It shifts the focus on volume to scalable, data-driven strategies set to evolve within a multi-channel campaign. A CMP enables marketers to view their entire content supply chain in one unified view and understand how it is directly impacting leads and the sales funnel.
What Features Make The Best Content Marketing Platforms?
When researching your potential CMP options, there are some features you should ensure are included.
Creating content without a strategy or properly developed personas is just like shouting into the dark. Being able to set your content by buyer persona, customer journey, theme or campaign is vital to customizing your content and understanding the impact it will have. Having your original research to fall back on will help boost the relevance of your content pieces.
Having an editorial calendar is a vital part of organizing your team, your content plan and ensuring the flow of content types and destinations makes sense. Your editorial calendar enables you to view your plan visually and should include sorting by colour, content type or other relevant variables. A drag and drop feature for the content item due dates is especially time-saving.
Workflows enable teams to create a project timeline with automated due dates, define each team member’s role within it, collaborate and manage approvals. When one step of the process is done, the workflow alerts the next person in line via email or within the application to begin the next stage. Effective workflow solutions should enable the creation of admin-controlled master templates, but also the flexibility to make ad hoc workflow changes as business and project requirements change.
An asset library enables your team to keep all of their documents in one place and keep track of the most recent version of each file. Being able to see what files have been used in which content piece is helpful, as is the ability to search by content type, campaign or tag. Having a centralized content repository further enables quicker future content curation and reuse.
Eliminate disjointed internal communication methods and switch to one which can collect and store ideas or messages related to specific campaigns or content pieces. An effective CMP will maintain threaded conversations and activity logs for campaign and resource auditing i.e. who did what and when?
A marketing platform should easily integrate with standard digital technologies such as WordPress, Hootsuite, individual social media channels and more. The availability of these integrations varies depending on the CMP.
Being able to track the progress of your content through its lifecycle is extremely valuable. Integrated analytics reporting, which enables viewing the insights and results from a multi-channel campaign, further enables real-time content optimization and improved realization of ROI.
What Are The Benefits Of A CMP?
A content marketing platform can help your team improve their ROI, which is an area marketers have long struggled with.
Increased productivity due to streamlined processes, automated distribution and efficient communication will enable your team to focus on strategy. A CMP with workflows enables teams to properly manage deadlines and create clearer communication between the stages of a project. Making use of a team calendar can provide better content management and ensure there are no wasted opportunities.
Content marketing platforms also ensure content is created with a focus on personas and their stage in their buyer’s journey. Having a CMP with an asset library organizes all documents from the original planning stages, right through to finished products are available for all team members. Built-in analytics will enable your team to quickly assess what is working and not working in order to make any necessary adjustments while a campaign is still running.
Content Marketing For 2020 And Beyond
Today’s marketing world is made up of many different platforms and has unlimited options to target our audiences. Most teams find it difficult to keep up with the high rate of quality content creation and distribution, while always analyzing performance, proving its worth and optimizing future campaigns.
Many teams wish they could find a technology to help them, but with the increase in the number of vendors available, it can be difficult to know where to start. While we can’t help you with the final decision of which content marketing platform to choose, we can say without a doubt the time and cost associated with incorporating one into your marketing process is well worth the effort.
Content marketing is only going to get more complicated and diverse as time goes on. The days of simple content distribution we enjoyed in the 2000s are over. The 2020s will surely bring unique challenges as audiences and search engines become ever more sophisticated in their demands for relevant, engaging content.
Other Helpful Resources
- Cross Border Communications has team members across the globe, by using workflows they improved client delivery times by 20%.
- The City of Arlington used Mintent’s CMP to produce and distribute content to stakeholder audiences.
- Chapman’s Ice Cream used Mintent’s tracked links software to optimize its 45th Anniversary multi-channel coupon campaign.
- What to look for in a Content Marketing Platform.
- Your questions answered: Content Marketing Platforms 101